The Oakland A's have reportedly made the first big splash of the off-season, acquiring National League All-Star and 2007 MVP runner-up Matt Holliday for a package of players that includes 2005 Rookie of the Year Huston Street. SI.com's Jon Heyman was the first to report the deal and many outlets, including the San Francisco Chronicle, are reporting that the package for Holliday includes Street, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and left-hander Greg Smith. Gonzalez and Smith were both acquired as part of the Dan Haren trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks last off-season.
Adding Holliday would be an immediate boost to an anemic Oakland offense that finished last in baseball with a .242 average in 2008 and scored the fewest runs in the AL with 646. Holliday hit .321 with 25 homers and 88 RBIs in 139 games for the Rockies in 2008. He hit .340 with 36 homers and 137 RBIs for the NL Champion Rockies in 2007.
Holliday is a career .319 hitter. Over the past three years, he has compiled a 1099 OPS at hitter-friendly Coors Field and an 856 OPS on the road. He had an 891 OPS on the road in 2008 and has improved in that category every year of his career. He hit five homers in 11 post-season games in 2007.
Getting Holliday will come at a steep price for Oakland, who is giving up Street, Gonzalez and Smith. Street lost his closer's job with Oakland during the second half of the 2008 season, but he is still one of the best relievers in the American League. The A's 2004 supplemental first round pick had a 3.73 ERA in 2008, but he has a career 2.88 ERA with a 1.07 WHIP in 269 innings. He struck-out 69 in 70 innings last season. He finished the year on a strong note, posting a 1.74 ERA and striking out nine in 10.1 innings in September.
Gonzalez was one of the A's top prospects entering last season after he was acquired from Arizona. The toolsy outfielder was promoted to the big leagues in late May and doubled for his first major league hit. He was the team's regular centerfielder from that point until the end of August, when he was sent back to Triple-A Sacramento after batting only .176 for the month of August. Gonzalez helped the Sacramento River Cats win the PCL title and then returned to Oakland for the final two weeks of the season, hitting .263 in eight games. In 85 games with the A's, he hit .242 with four homers, 26 RBIs and four stolen bases. Gonzalez also impressed defensively in center. He turned 23 in mid-October.
Smith began the year with Sacramento, as well, but he was up with Oakland after only one week when injuries to the A's pitching staff struck. The left-hander wound-up leading the team with 190.1 innings pitched in his rookie season. He went 7-16, but posted a solid 4.16 ERA and tied an AL record with 16 pick-offs. Smith may have tired some down-the-stretch as he passed his career-high in innings. Before the All-Star break, he had a 3.43 ERA and after it was 5.18. He struck-out 111 and walked 87 while allowing 21 homeruns. Smith could be an asset for Colorado offensively. He was an excellent hitter when in the minor leagues and had one hit in two at-bats for the A's in interleague play. Smith will be 25 in December.
Report: A's Acquire Holliday For Three
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