Revisiting the Matt Holliday – Brett Wallace trade of 2009


This past week, the Houston Astros released former St. Louis Cardinals prospect Brett Wallace.
Feb 21, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Houston Astros infielder Brett Wallace (29)poses for a picture during photo day at Osceola County Stadium. Image Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
I’ll never forget finding out that Wallace was being sent with Clayton Mortensen and Shane Peterson to the Oakland Athletics for left fielder Matt Holliday. I was living in Chicago and seeing the Sklar Brothers at Lakeshore Theater in Chicago. I remember asking both Randy and Jason how they felt about the trade.

The Cardinals had made Wallace the 13th overall pick of the 2008 draft. He was ranked by Baseball America in 2009 as the #40 prospect and #27 entering the 2010 season. Wallace has hit .309/.383/.499 over the course of six seasons in the minor leagues. Following the 2009 season, the As sent him to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays would send Wallace to the Astros days prior to the 2010 trading deadline.

Wallace hit .242/.313/.391 in four seasons with the Astros. In 8 games this spring, the 27 year old was hitting .143 over 14 at bats.
Feb 19, 2014; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday (7) works on his hitting during spring training at Roger Dean Stadium. Image Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Holliday had been traded during the previous offseason by the Colorado Rockies. He had been a season removed from winning the 2007 National League batting title and finishing as the runner up in the NL MVP voting. Holliday is just starting on his fifth full season with the Cardinals after signing a seven-year extension worth $120 million in January 2010.

On July 24, 2009, many Cardinals fans thought that the Cardinals were giving up too much. Myself included. In fact, I wrote that the Cards had “gave up way too much to get him.” Looking back on it, I was glad to be proven wrong in the matter. Shane Peterson has spent parts of the last three seasons with the A’s AAA affiliate in Sacramento. Clayton Mortenson was traded to the Rockies in 2011, the Boston Red Sox in 2012, and the Kansas City Royals in 2013.

In the end, the Cardinals got the better end of the deal. Holliday has played a key role since coming over in 2009. He was a part of the 2011 World Series championship team. He has been a 3-time All-Star with the Cardinals as well as the recipient of MVP votes, too.