For all the anticipation leading up to the Trade Deadline, only a few moves really wind up impacting fantasy leagues.
This is one of them.
The Cardinals acquired Matt Holliday from the A’s on Friday for three prospects — third baseman Brett Wallace, right-hander Clay Mortensen and outfielder Shane Peterson.
For Holliday, going anywhere other than Oakland would have boosted his fantasy stock. His situation there paled in comparison to that which he had in Colorado, where he had benefited from both offensive support and one of baseball’s best hitters’ park to ring up a .645 career slugging percentage of .645.
In St. Louis, Holliday not only gets back to familiar ground in the National League, but he also gets another distinct advantage: Albert Pujols. You know, the guy who’s got the first legitimate shot at a Triple Crown Award in decades? The thought of Holliday batting right behind Pujols in the cleanup spot is enough to jump out of your skin if you’re lucky enough to own him.
Just think about all the glorious RBI opportunities Holliday will see in St. Louis. And not just because of Pujols, mind you. A lineup already featuring the likes of Ryan Ludwick, Mark DeRosa and Pujols is cause for celebration for a guy who’s been stuck between an aging Jason Giambi and whoever else Oakland placed in its five-spot.
Plus, there should be far more opportunities on the basepaths with the Red Birds than with the A’s, a team known for their lack of aggression on the basepaths.
One major talent exchange between Oakland and St. Louis took place back in 1997, when the Cardinals acquired Mark McGwire.
Holliday has nowhere near that kind of power upside, but the fantasy ramifications of his arrival are no less impactful than the Manny Ramirez deal one year ago.
For NL-only owners weighing what to bid on Holliday’s services, think no more. Break the bank.
As for the prospects, the main guy to watch is Wallace, who is one of the game’s top third-base prospects heading to a team with a gaping hole at the hot corner. Drafted in 2008, Wallace rose all the way to Triple-A in just over a year, hitting a combined .306 with a .390 on-base percentage and .a 466 slugging percentage while earning a starting nod in the XM Radio All-Star Futures Game.
With Eric Chavez‘s career in jeopardy, nothing stands in Wallace’s way at third. His pop leaves something to be desired, but at 23, he’s ready to make an impact in AL-only play when Oakland summons him in the next month or two.