Report: A’s deal to acquire Colorado slugger is close
November 11, 2008
The Oakland A’s are close to acquiring left fielder Matt Holliday from the Colorado Rockies, a baseball source told MLB.com.
The Rockies would net three players in the deal: closer Huston Street, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and left-handed pitcher Greg Smith.
Gonzalez and Smith were obtained from Arizona last offseason in the deal that sent Dan Haren to the Diamondbacks. The Rockies needed the right-handed Street because of the inevitability of losing left-handed reliever Brian Fuentes on the free-agent market this offseason.
But according to CBS Sportsline, the Rockies may not keep Street. Citing a source, the Rockies may be prepared flip him to a still undetermined team.
St. Louis, the New York Mets, Detroit, Cleveland and Tampa Bay are among the clubs in the market for a closer this winter, though the Tigers do not appear to be involved with Street, the Web site reported.
Neither club had any official comment on Monday.
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“Talks are continuing. They’re very fluid and at this point, everything’s speculation,” Rockies spokesman Jay Alves said, speaking on behalf of general manager Dan O’Dowd.
Oakland owner Lew Wolff, attending a regional luncheon of Associated Press Sports Editors, wouldn’t confirm or deny a trade but said he had already spoken with general manager Billy Beane three times on Monday.
“Billy’s doing different things right now,” Wolff said.
Holliday, a National League MVP candidate on the 2007 pennant-winning Rockies, is slated to earn $13.5 million this season and can become a free agent after the 2009 World Series. Prior to the start of this past season, the Rockies offered Holliday an $85 million deal over five years that included four years guaranteed at $65 million.
But Holliday, who is a client of agent Scott Boras, turned down the offer.
Holliday was in Dana Point, Calif., last week at the General Managers Meetings to visit with Boras, whose current free-agent clients include Manny Ramirez, Derek Lowe, Jason Varitek and Oliver Perez.
Holliday had a banner year in 2007 when the Rockies were swept by the Red Sox in their first trip to the World Series. He batted .340 with 36 homers and 137 RBIs in 158 games and scored the winning run in the 13th inning of the one-game tiebreaker for the NL’s Wild Card berth that sent Colorado into the postseason for only the second time.
The Rockies slumped to a third-place finish in 2008 behind the NL West-winning Dodgers, and Holliday, nursing a left hamstring injury, played in only 139 games, hitting .321 with 25 homers and 88 RBIs.
Holliday’s high salary would be a departure for the economically conscious A’s, but renting a player for one year prior to free agency would fit right into their philosophy.
Street was the American League’s Rookie of the Year in 2005 and has saved 98 games in his four seasons, including a career high of 37 in 2006. But he fell out of favor last season in Oakland and was replaced in the closer’s role by Brad Ziegler, who was 3-0 with a 1.06 ERA and 11 saves in 13 opportunities after he was called up in late May. Ziegler set a Major League Baseball record by opening his career with 39 1/3 scoreless innings.
Street made $3.3 million in 2008 as a first-time arbitration-eligible player. His salary will increase this winter, but the Rockies would have him under their control for two more seasons.