Alright, so the upside of Matt Holliday getting a seven year deal is that headline.
The downside, of course, is the fact it's a seven year deal,which just doesn't seem like a particularly good idea to me.
To put into perspective just how long seven years is in sporting terms, the 2003 season saw the Cardinals field a team featuring such luminaries as Mike Crudale, Mike DeJean, and Sterling Hitchcock. You know, I had honestly forgotten the Cardinals ever even had Sterling Hitchcock.
Danny Haren made his major league debut in 2003. Daric Barton was in high school. Jeff Fassero was only 40 years old in 2003. Jason Isringhausen was only 30, and really really good. Jimmy Journell hadn't yet changed his name legally to "Failed Prospect Jimmy Journell". Colby Rasmus wasn't old enough to drive yet.
My point is this: seven years is one hell of a long time in sports years. Especially when you're talking about guaranteed money and a full no-trade clause. Of course, I'm not really saying anything new by this point; 'the money's fine, but the length of the deal is a killer' seems to be a fairly common sentiment around these parts. Just to be clear, though, I think it probably bears repeating: the money's fine, but the length of the deal is a killer.
What this deal does, as much as anything, is put even more pressure on Jeff Luhnow and the rest of the faberge egg brigade to produce cheap players. Looking ahead, the Cardinal roster within the next few years is likely to take on a stars and scrubs look the likes of which we've never seen before unless the farm system can consistently pump out something resembling useful talent.
Shortly after the initial trade for Holliday, I put together my own vision of a road map for the Cardinals to follow to success. It included things like trading Daryl Jones for pitching talent, increasing payroll to the $110-120 million range, getting Shelby Miller signed, and locking Colby up to a long-term deal as soon as the 2010 season. After seeing the contract Holliday ended up getting, I think most of what I wrote then is just as true, if not more so, today.
I'm going to cut this thing relatively short today; Azru has a Hall of Fame discussion thread up just below this. I won't blow it for you by telling you who got in if you don't already know.
The Baron's Playlist for the 6th of January, 2010
"Seven Years of Holidays (for Stretch)" - the Walkmen
"Holiday" - Weezer
"The Holiday Song" - Pixies
"Holiday in Cambodia" - Dead Kennedys
"Holiday Road" - Matt Pond PA (This actually isn't the Holiday Road cover I want, but for the life of me I can't think of who did the one I really like, and a brief search of the tubes isn't turning up the version I'm looking for.)