St. Louis Cardinals: Should the Cardinals let Matt Holliday go so easily?
By Drew Clark
The last few days of the season had many clamoring about Matt Holliday hitting a home run in one of his last at-bats as a St. Louis Cardinals member. I ask, what makes us so sure he won’t be back in St. Louis next year?
Yes, the signs are there. A youth movement is coming through the St. Louis Cardinals organization. Alex Reyes and Luke Weaver both made their major league debuts in 2016, many have already pegged Yadier Molina‘s replacement, and the names of the 2011 World Series team have been moving on over the past few years.
Last year it was Jon Jay, Daniel Descalso, and Pete Kozma finding themselves with other organizations. This year the club faced decisions on Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia, both of which played big roles on the championship team.
Holliday has been on the decline, being 36 years old, and has become a defensive liability in left field. Pair that along with the idea of how many miles he has on his body which has led to injury concerns the past two seasons.
Certainly, it has been a tale of two different Matt Hollidays when you consider his hitting in both 2015 and 2016.
In 2015, we saw the high on-base percentage/decent average hitter that had trouble with placing balls out of the field, knocking out only four home runs. This year, yes he did play nearly 40 more games in which he hit .246, in which his OBP fell .070 points from 2015, yet in which he did hit 20 home runs, including the magical moment that had everyone talking.
That moment is everything a player dreams of, similar to how Derek Jeter exited his career. But should it be the last time we see Holliday? I say no.
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The Cardinals are in dire need of a true center fielder, as many believe Randall Grichuk is not one and should be moved to left.
Looking at the free agent class, there are only a couple names that could standout to the St. Louis Cardinals. Yoenis Cespedes, Dexter Fowler, and Michael Bourn are all that have floated around in Twitter talk as possibilities.
I’m a big fan of Cespedes and Fowler’s games, but St. Louis may have to empty the payroll on these two.
Matt Holliday, although a questionable candidate to play outfield anymore, still has the ability to do so. At least he could on a part-time basis. Holliday at 36 years old just hit 20 home runs, and will likely be affordable and willing to take a discount to stay as he has said that he wants to end his career in St. Louis.
The Cardinals had plenty of defensive woes on the infield this past season. When Holliday appeared at first (10 games), however, he remained error-less. I know, small sample size, but moving him into a platoon role at first base with either Matt Adams or Brandon Moss could help St. Louis keep their powerful offensive game.
While in the platoon role, when Holliday is hot at the plate, Mike Matheny could put him in the outfield for a game every so often. The platoon role at first can potentially keep him healthier too, so I’d say it is worth considering.
If Matt Holliday wants to get one last big payday, a move to the American League may be in his cards. If he had the ability to be a full-time designated hitter, Holliday could lengthen his career by at least a few years.
Next: Who should the St. Louis Cardinals target in free agency?
What do you think? Should the St. Louis Cardinals give Matt Holliday one last go-around, or should they let him continue his career elsewhere?