Almost a Done Deal: A's Trade For Matt Holliday

Sara SomersContributor INovember 11, 2008

Last December, A’s GM Billy Beane traded ace Danny Haren to the Arizona Diamonbacks for 6 minor league players including LHP Greg Smith and OF Carlos Gonzales. 

Many thought Gonzales was the real catch that Beane was aiming for and would be a cornerstone of the young rebuilding team that Beane and Lew Wolff were aiming for.
Yesterday, Beane traded Gonzales, Smith and ex-closer Huston Street to the Colorado Rockies for Matt Holliday, a free agent that was sought after by the Cardinals, Mets and others; a high price for the 28 year old outfielder.

According to some sources, the Rockies intend to move Street again.

Holliday will be in the last year of his contract and will earn $13.5 million. His agent is Scott Boras. Speculation before the trade did not give credence to this move as Billy Beane is known for his “steer clear” attitude of  Scott Boras.

On the other hand, keeping a MVP player for one year and then passing him on is right up Beane’s ally.

Both Gonzales and Smith came up to the majors early in the 2008 season when the A’s suffered a second year of record-breaking injuries. Smith immediately made an impact with his 1st base pick-off move and, by the end of the year, Smith had broken the single season pick off record. Gonzales impressed with his strength and his defense. He was sent down toward the end of the season after weeks in a slump.

Huston Street, drafted in 2004, played in the Fall League. They came to spring training together and went right into the Majors.

He won the Rookie of the Year in 2005. His second year, he had fans holding their collective breath when he closed a game as his pitching became erratic and his blown saves numbers began to climb. In 2007, he was on the DL most of the summer as he had surgery and rehabbed his  groin injury. In 2008, he lost his job to Brad Ziegler, a rookie. A second groin injury and more blown saves. His pitching improved in his set-up role but fans and teammates alike knew his days were numbered after he had an unusual, for Street, temper tantrum in the dugout when he realized he wasn’t going back to closer.

Gonzales seems to be the center of the trade for the Rockies as it was for the A’s.  There is wonder in Oakland as no one saw this coming. Susan Slusser of the SF Chronicle also wonders if Holliday is a full season rental or a half-season rental.  It all depends on how the A’s do in the first part of the year. 

Last week, they rehired strength coach Bob Alejo in a move to start addressing the amount of injuries. That led to speculation that the A’s might be interested in Jason Giambi who had taken Alejo to New York with him. 

The Holliday move will put that to rest. 

Is Beane finished with trades?  Probably not. 

No one here would be surprised to see short-stop Bobby Crosby gone by spring training. 

Beane claims that getting rid of a lot of players last winter and summer freed up a lot of money for him to spend.  He told the fans that he intended to get a power hitter. No one knows what to expect from Billy. So, basically, he traded a known entity power hitter for a rising power hitter, which the A's needed.

Jack Cust, who had the most home runs in the 2008 season and was clearly their best power man, also broke all records for strike outs.

As a fan, I believe the A’s finally got the message that the fan base is not happy. 

There are about 6000 of us who will come out to games no matter what but that won’t pay the bills. Beane had to get a name to start filling seats. It doesn’t look like the Fremont deal will happen any time soon and the A’s had to start spending money on players and not continue sinking it into a “proposed” ballpark.

Will Holliday improve the A’s chances to compete next summer?
Perhaps with a new short stop and if the Angels let Texeira go, the A’s would have a chance.  A lot depends on injuries.