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Christmas in July: St. Louis Cardinals Trade for Slugger Matt Holliday

Bleacher ReportSenior Writer IJuly 24, 2009

That might sound like an odd thing for a San Francisco Giant fan to say, but stay with me on this one.

If "Sources" are reliable, the St. Louis Cardinals will soon officially acquire Matt Holliday from the Oakland Athletics for super-prospect and third baseman Brett Wallace, outfielder Shane Peterson, and pitcher Clayton Mortensen.

This is absolutely fantastic news for two reasons.

The first is petty and trivial, but it puts a reassuring smile on this die-hard fan's face.

The Los Angeles Dodgers can no longer be called the favorite to represent the National League in the World Series.  The Bums are still up there, no doubt, but they've got some very serious company.

Already, the "favorite" mantle was weighing heavily as the defending Winter Classic champs have come storming out of the second-half gates.  The Philadelphia Phillies had their hot streak cooled a bit by a thumping courtesy of the Chicago Cubs, but they've still reasserted themselves in the postseason picture.

Well, the Dodgers and Phils have some new company. There is no way a lineup featuring Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday doesn't immediately make the Redbirds one of the smart-money bets.  Possibly, that rapacious duo makes them the tip-top bully.

His stint in Oakland makes it easy to forget, but Holliday was one of the premier clutch performers during his days in Colorado.  Remember that miraculous run to and through the postseason in 2007?  Remember who was front-and-center, powering the train along?

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Nor is it any mysterious coincidence the slugger's bat has heated up just as the trade deadline broached the near horizon and its rumor mill kicked into high gear.  The man is a money player whether you deem that a compliment or a condemnation.

This isn't delusional Dodger hate either, maybe a bit, because the apparently former Athletic isn't landing on an island.  He is the piece that puts an already talented roster over the top.

The STL now features an adequately loaded rotation as long as Chris Carpenter stays healthy.

With Adam Wainwright throwing smoke in the No. 2 spot and the combo of Joel Pineiro/Kyle Lohse forming a dynamic No. 3, the Cardinal rotation can typically rely on three fantastic starts in four turns. That'll do for government work.

Especially when the lineup, which opened the season in a somewhat dubious state, now features Pujols, Holliday, Mark DeRosa, Ryan Ludwick, Colby Rasmus, Skip Schumaker, Rick Ankiel, and Yadier Molina.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is no cake walk.  Not by a country mile.

Nope, the Senior Circuit is officially a three-stallion race and the St. Louis stable looks to have the inside track.

Nevertheless, the most important spin from this trade—as far as the Orange and Black section of the Bay Area is concerned—is it means Giants management resisted temptation.  Consequently, it's passed yet another major hurdle in its resurrection from the destruction wrought by several abominable deals (the latest of which can be seen on display at shortstop in Edgar Renteria).

Namely, Brian Sabean deserves a hardy handshake for not leveraging any future talent in pursuit of a couple months of a tantalizingly valuable player.  For a superficially ideal dose of medicine for his club's most grievous ailment—little offense and even less power.

Superficially.

Reality only requires a little digging.

Matt Holliday is a gem for any franchise who employs him.  Of course, he's also a gem in another "franchise"—that of Scott Boras clients.  And Holliday is in the walk-year of his contract.

I'm assuming Boras hasn't appeared in public lately because he can't control his salacious drooling, which must be reaching a life-threatening level at this point.  Honestly, one of his big-ticket ponies just landed in a pennant chase for one of Major League Baseball's deepest pockets, historically speaking, and the guy must require an IV to stay hydrated.

Any franchise that trades talent for him will have to pay through the nose, or a more painful orifice, to keep him beyond October/November.

Furthermore, who wants more of Scott Boras in your favorite franchise?

Not me.  Plus, I like the young talent in the Giants farm system, and several of those names would have gone across the Bay Bridge.  It's tough to see a prospect materialize into stardom in the Show for another team, but to get a constant reminder via local media because he's doing it within earshot?

Ugh.  Gracias pero no.

So rejoice San Francisco Giant fans.  The loathsome Bums have been knocked a bit off stride and our beloved kids are still on board, scheduled for arrival sometime very soon.

Sure, it puts a serious ding in the Gents' chances for 2009, but this year is only the beginning of the story.

Embrace management's patience because it might've saved our happily ever after.

**www.pva.org**

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