St. Louis Cardinals: Don’t forget about Matt Holliday

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As the St. Louis Cardinals offseason moves swirl around success and failure, Cards fans are forgetting about the big guy, Matt Holliday.

He’s a large muscle bound 35 year old from Stillwater, Oklahoma and his name is Matt Holliday, the St. Louis Cardinals’ veteran left fielder. You may know him. Do me a favor and don’t forget about him this season. He’s not done yet.

One of the core guys Jason Heyward mentioned in his Cubs press conference as a man entering the final stages of his career was Matt Holliday, his former teammate. Holliday didn’t respond to the comment and doesn’t have to.

He’s down in Florida taking reps at first base for spies to watch, working on his hitting and maintaining his beast mode in the gym. He’s willing to do whatever it takes for the team to be successful. While he isn’t “the guy” anymore, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have much left.

One of the funniest knocks on Holliday is his lack of home runs. Like the long ball is everything, even though the last person to truly demolish baseballs for an extended period of time is the one and only Albert Pujols. Busch Stadium puts a cap on most hitters in this game, and Holliday isn’t a stranger to that. What those fans miss are all the other things he does. Such as….getting on base.

Holliday’s 12 year career average on base percentage is .386. He has gotten on base more than a third of the time in over 6,201 at bats. Why is that so undervalued in this city? Holliday hasn’t hit over 22 home runs in five years but he’s compiled OBP’s of .370, .388 and .419 in the last five seasons. Holliday’s value is versatile and not dead.

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In speaking with various fans on Twitter towards the end of last year and just last week about Holliday, they think one season and one torn quadriceps will do him in. Yeah, he’s finished and offers the team little.

I find it hard to go off one season and ignore the others that came before it. Especially since Holliday isn’t like Adam Dunn and actually stays in shape at a ridiculously rate. Seriously, the guy eats lunch at Lowes and sleeps underneath a bench press with 315 pounds on it.

Holliday offers you a guarantee of 30+ doubles, 20+ home runs, 90 RBI, .815 OPS and a WAR of 4.0. That is going off what he has done over the past five seasons. Stop calling him injury prone. Before the 2015 season, Holliday registered 140 games or more played in five of the last six seasons. People want to trade for Carlos Gonzalez, a guy who can’t stop healthy for two straight seasons and he’s five years younger than Holliday. Please.

Sure, Holliday’s ISO(isolated power, batting average subtracted from the slugging percentage) dropped to a career low of .169 in 2014 and .131 last year but Holliday’s line drive rate in 2015 was 23 percent, the highest rate in his time in St. Louis.

Smaller sample size, but the man is still capable of ripping pitches. Randal Grichuk did it for a few months but Holliday has routinely hit 100 mph zingers through the infield for over 10 years. Respect.

His best days are behind him, but expecting little to nothing out of Holliday in 2016 is bad practice. He’s still going to run the bases like a mad man, breaking up wannabe double plays and running with two healthy legs again.

Forget the baseball card stats. Put them together with the sabermetrics and it shows this big guy still has something left. It may not come with 25 home runs or have the sex appeal it once did, but casting Holliday out shouldn’t be brought up yet.

Keep this in mind. The Cards will most likely pick up that option for 2017, but to Holliday, 2016 is a walk year type. He is playing for a possible extension, maybe the last of his career. He also knows that other options are coming up behind him and Mike Matheny talking to him about first base means puzzle pieces are being moved.

Next: Can Matt Holliday play first base

There’s also no doubt he heard the Heyward comments and has something in store for the rival Cubs next year. If you don’t think players remember those kind of things, you haven’t been paying attention. When he cranks an opposite field line drive high over Heyward’s head, I hope he screams “Not Done Yet” as he rounds first base.

This older lion may be old, but he’s not ready to stop hitting yet. At first base or in left field, Matt Holliday is a man on a mission.

At the very least, he can prove Pete wrong….

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