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The Holliday Matrix

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Let’s, first of all, see how the proposed Holliday for Ludwick, Skip, and Boggs trade affects our 2009 roster matrix.

 

2009 ROSTER MATRIX
THE BASELINE

STARTERS BENCH ROTATION PEN
molina c
$3.3m
miles ut
$2m
wainwright rhp
$2.6m
perez rhp
$400K
pujols 1b
$16m
duncan lf
$600K
lohse rhp
$7.1m
franklin rhp
$2.5m
kennedy 2b
$4m
barton of
$400K
pineiro rhp
$7.5m
motte rhp
$400K
glaus 3b
$11.3m
mather of
$400K
wellemeyer rhp
$2.5m
mcclellan rhp
$400K
[vacant]
- - -
ryan ut
$400K
carpenter rhp
$14m
kinney rhp
$400K
holliday lf
$13.5m
jay of
memphis
[vacant]
- - -
thompson rhp
$500K
rasmus cf
$400K
larue c
$950K
todd rhp
memphis
manning lhp
$400K
ankiel rf
$2.5m
freese 3b
memphis
mortensen rhp
memphis
worrell rhp
memphis
TOTAL
$50.65m
TOTAL
$4.75m
TOTAL
$33.7m
TOTAL
$5.0m
OVERALL PAYROLL: $94.1m
So far, we’re already up to nearly $94 million and we have no 5th starter (assuming Carp won’t be ready), we have no SS, we have no left-handed relievers, Adam Kennedy is our 2b, Jess Todd is the first available fill-in whenever an SP goes down, and Chris Perez is our closer. We have about $10 – 15 M left to complete the roster. Felipe Lopez adds $2.5 or $3 M if we bring him back to play 2b. Pretty much anyone we add to play 2b adds at least a couple million unless Tony and Mo decide to go w/ a Miles/Ryan/Hoffpauir platoon of sorts at the keystone.

If we add 1 LHR to go w/ Charlie Manning and decide not to bring Springer back we add probably $3 M to the payroll – maybe $2.5M. Let’s say $5.5 for a 2B and LHR. That leaves about $9M, at most, to use on a SS and 5th starter. Forget Randy Johnson. Forget Furcal, but we should probably forget about him anyway. Could we trade for our SS? I suppose there’s always Bryan Anderson. Maybe we could figure out a way to trade Ankiel in the spring, assuming we felt comfortable w/ some sort of Mather/Duncan/Barton/Jay platoon in the spring but there’s no way that trade happens before March. I suspect Mo will want to have his SS position solidified before then, don’t you?

Like the proposed Peavy trade, this trade leaves us far too thin. Right now, Boggs is the first go-to guy whenever someone in the rotation goes down. We can’t feasibly expect 162 starts out of our 5 starters and we don’t even know who that 5th starter will be right now. It leaves us very thin in the pen. Part of this is contingent upon Manning being one of the regulars out there but this guy walked more than 6.5 batters per 9 innings last year and had an FIP over 6.00. His splits vs. lefties were very good but righties destroyed him last year. Maybe he can work if used extremely judiciously but we’re thin nonetheless.

There’s been some chatter that DeWitt might bump the payroll some to offset the increase in Holliday’s salary. I find this dubious. For one thing, if it’s true, why wouldn’t he bump it then to keep Ludwick, et al and add Sabathia or Furcal instead? Does Holliday increase the team’s chances to win (our analysis yesterday said no) so much that DeWitt will only boost the payroll for Holliday? I don’t get that. Maybe he’ll boost the payroll to offset the insurance that ends up being paid on Carp’s arm? If so, that means Carp’s done and there is an even greater priority on acquiring another SP. There is an argument to be made for a straight-up deal – Ludwick for Holliday. This 3-for-1 is just a bad deal for our side. It won’t make us better in the short-term or the long-term. Unless…

Bernie’s right with his speculation that the Cards think Ludwick might be a one-hit wonder. I mentioned yesterday Derek Carty’s column at THT and the ZIPS projections for Ludwick, if true, won’t put him in next year’s top-10 MVP balloting either. If they’re right – the Cards, Carty, and ZIPS – maybe we should sell high w/ Ludwick.

But if the Rockies accept this trade, they obviously think he has quite a bit of value b/c Holliday’s not chopped liver. If they decide that Ludwick should be the centerpiece of a trade for their best player, and this is the best offer they get, they must think relatively highly of him. Plus, even if selling high w/ Ludwick is the right thing to do – is this the right deal? I say no.

Once more for those in the back – WE HAVE BIGGER HOLES TO FILL THAN THE CLEANUP SPOT IN THE ORDER!!!! No one expects Boggs to fill the 5 spot in the rotation, particularly if he fills the Rockies’ 5 spot in the rotation. We have no left-handed relief and we’re all going to cross our fingers that the young guys and the oft-injured guys in the pen can get the job done. Finally, our SS position is in desperate need of remedy. If Ludwick’s value is at its peak – couldn’t we get a damned good, relatively young SS for him? Tampa is in need of a right-handed hitting RF. Could we not get Zobrist and Sonnastine for Ludwick? I know there are some concerns about Zobrist’s defense but I think it would be adequate and his offense would likely improve our SS position considerably until Kozma’s ready. Could we get Brandon Wood + a pitcher from the Angels for Ludwick? Then we have Ankiel, Rasmus, and Skip/Mather/Barton/Duncan/Jay in LF, a good young SS, and a good young pitcher.

In short, this deal is intended to make the team better in ’09 and that’s it – even w/ a high-priced extension. The real cost is not Ludwick, Skip, and Boggs, but what Ludwick could have gotten us for next year and beyond if we’ve decided that last season was a flash in the pan.

Personally, I don’t really think last year was that much of an aberration. I don’t believe he’s one of the best sluggers in baseball, but I do believe he can be a .900 OPS guy, a .350-.360 OBP guy w/ 30 homers, as long as he stays healthy. He will regress as he ages and he is almost 31 but his HR/FB ratio wasn’t extraordinarily high, IMO, last year. He’s always had a lot of power. His LD% was a little high – 2nd highest in the NL – so if that falls back to a more "normal" level, his BA will fall by 15 points or so. While his BB rate will never be great, it’s good enough that a .270-.275 BA will give him an OBP over .350. His BABIP was a little high, but he hit a lot of line drives. That’s to be expected. But even if I’m wrong, and he’s more of a .345 OBP guy w/ 25 homers, and it is time to sell high, we should try to fill our true needs for ’09 and beyond and not fill holes by creating even more holes.