While plenty of fans recognize him for what he has done, there is a certain faction that seems to always be looking for a reason to complain about Holliday.
This is the same faction that always sees him as the obvious “trade chip.” He’s the fan base’s perennial fall guy even when he’s putting up solid numbers—and that’s something he’s done regularly during his time as a Cardinal.
His 1,000th RBI serves only to underscore his role as one of the more consistent outfielders in the game today.
Just as food for thought, here are a few points to keep in the front of your mind when thinking of Matt Holliday.
• An overall career .309 hitter, Holliday is the team leader in batting average among active Cardinals. He has hit .302 in his six seasons with the Cardinals—second only to Albert Pujols. One notch below him is Jon Jay, but that’s a column for another day.
•He’s never hit less than 22 home runs in a full season with the Cardinals. He is the only player currently on the roster who can make that statement.
•Holliday is also the team’s active leader in OBP (.388), slugging percentage (.507) and home runs (117). The fact that he’s in his sixth season with the Cardinals has played a role, however, his ability to put up consistent numbers year after year is the true difference maker.
• While he has suffered through some painful slumps over the years, his hot streaks are capable of carrying a team for several weeks. Overall, he’s had a slow start to 2014, but if we can learn anything from history it’s that Holliday could crank things up at any time.
• It’s long been understood that Holliday’s defense isn’t his strongest tool. No one’s arguing against that. Matt Holliday is a hitter. However, to the naked eye Holliday looks to be making serious strides in left field this year. He seems to be legging out balls that in the past I would argue he wouldn’t have reached.
In 2014, 11 years into his career, Holliday continues to grow as a player. He’s not content with just “mailing it in.”
In St. Louis, playing for an organization with a Triple-A outfield worthy of most major league teams, job security comes only through performance.
While his 2009 contract paying him $17 million per year through 2016 (with a 2017 option) seemed like a huge chunk of change at the time, as time passes it’s beginning to look like a bargain.
With teams beginning to dump more dollars and years into contracts for similar players, Holliday’s ability to stay on the field and put up long-term consistent numbers make him one of the Cardinals better signings in recent history.
When you look at, for instance, David Wright, who signed a contract of similar value, the Holliday contract looks even better. Despite a few minor injuries, Holliday has never missed significant playing time in his career.
Things like appendicitis and the moth incident are just freak injuries. Life happens.
In the meantime, let the naysayers complain about Holliday all they want. His numbers can speak for themselves.