Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Holliday Stays in St. Louis

Outfielder Matt Holliday will remain with the St. Louis Cardinals. Today, he signed a 7-year contract worth $120 million.

The Cardinals acquired Holliday from the Oakland Athletics on July 24, 2009. In 63 games with the Cards last season, Holliday hit .353 with 13 home runs and 55 RBI en route to the NL Central Division title.

Holliday did have an awkward moment in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He botched a routine fly ball in the 9th inning that would have ended the game and evened the series at one apiece. Instead, the ball bounced off his chest and the Dodgers won the game and ended up eventually sweeping the series.

However, this did not deter the Cards one iota. Albert Pujols needs protection in that lineup and Holliday is the man to provide it. It is well worth noting that Holliday signed a contract nearly twice as long and for nearly twice as much money fellow left fielder Jason Bay received with the New York Mets.

Holliday, who turns 30 on January 15th, enjoyed his best season in 2007 while a member of the Colorado Rockies. That season he led the NL in batting average, RBI, hits, doubles and total bases en route to a NL championship. Holliday finished runner up to Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins in the NL MVP balloting.

Even with Pujols and Holliday batting three-four for the Cardinals I'm not sure if I'll pick them to repeat in the NL Central. Can Chris Carpenter stay healthy back to back seasons? Even if Carpenter is healthy they don't have much in starting pitching after Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. Can Ryan Franklin close year in and year out? Who plays third? Whatever the answers there will be no vacation for Holliday and the Cardinals in the NL Central in 2010.

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