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Matt Holliday to St. Louis

I've been busier and more ubiquitous than a colony of ants today, watching this trade go down. After many whispers, the deal is done: The Cardinals have officially traded prospects 3B Brett Wallace, OF Shane Peterson and RHP Clayton Mortensen to the A's for Matt Holliday.

The Prospects:

  • Brett Wallace was considered to be the top hitter of the 2008 draft and is already up and hitting in Triple-A. He's not a great organizational fit for St. Louis as he's more of a first baseman than a third baseman due to some limited range. Baseball America ranked him the 21st best prospect in baseball mid-season. He's a shoo-in to at least make their top 50, meaning he has a surplus value in the $22-$25 million range according to Victor Wang's research on the "hidden value of prospects". (See this post for more explanation on how that works).
  • Shane Peterson is a 2nd round pick from the '08 draft and a "C" grade prospect, as ranked by John Sickels. As someone who closely follows the Cardinals farm system, I agree with that grade.  He's hit well in High-A and Double-A this season with a cumulative line of .295/.361/.423, but some scouts call him a tweener. His bat profiles well in center field, but he's defensively limited. As a 22-year old C hitter, his surplus value is $700K.
  • Clayton Mortensen was supplemental 1st-round pick in the 2007 draft and was considered to be the top starting pitching prospect on the Cardinals. He's had a brief cup of coffee so far in the Show, and has a 4.18 tRA for Triple-A Memphis. He's a sinker-baller who has a ceiling of a #3 starter, but is more likely a #4-5. Sickels gave him a C grade, but I could see him getting bumped up to a B. Let's meet in the middle and give him a suplus value of $5 million.

The Big Leaguer:  Not quite what he was in Colorado, ZiPS projects Matt Holliday to hit a .370 wOBA the rest of the season. His UZR/150 over his career is +7. He should be worth about 2 extra wins to the Cardinals and add about 15% to the Cardinals chances of making the playoffs according to our own vivaelpujols and his playoff odds. He's due $6 million in salary, and the A's are kicking in an extra $1.5 mil in the deal. Holliday is also a Type A free agent at seasons' end, according to Victor Wang, that's worth an extra $5M. So.....

The Not-So-Final Analysis: Matt Holliday's value to the Cardinals is worth a total of like $13.5 million when you figure his salary ($6M), wins added ($9M), draft pick compensation ($5M), cash from OAK (1.5) and increased playoff odds ($4M). The A's get a top 50 hitter, a B grade pitcher and a 22-year old C grade hitter, which totals around $28 million. Oakland comes out way ahead here. For St. Louis, this is one heck of an expensive 2-month rental.

Just when folks think Beane has lost his touch, he goes back to the team he stole Dan Haren from, which resulted in more trades. It's a vicious cycle for Cardinal fans, who may be watching history repeat itself. The trade only looks good for Cardinal fans if it results in a flag, but as I said earlier, that's no slam dunk.  If they can extend Holliday to an a decent deal, then it looks better, but with Scott Boras, that also is no slam dunk. Lots of wild cards for the Cardinals. Beane looks to have raided St. Louis again.