Indians Land Matt Holliday In Faux Winter Meetings
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The Cleveland Indians outfield is left-handed heavy and in 2014 they received almost no offensive production from the right field spot.
In total the Tribe’s right fielders amassed 621 plate appearances and finished the season with a slash line of .237/.294/.342 with 38 extra-base hits including just 1o home runs.
In order to upgrade at this spot the Tribe has traded left handed hitting outfielder David Murphy along with minor leaguers Tyler Naquin and Erik Gonzalez to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder Matt Holliday.
Last season the 34-year old Holliday posted a slash line of .272/.370/.441 with 57 extra-base hits including 20 home runs. His contract pays him a guaranteed $35MM over the next two seasons and his 2017 option vests if he finishes in the top 10 in MVP votes in 2016. He will earn $17MM in 2015, $17MM in 2016, and the Indians hold the 2017 club option which includes a $1MM buyout. The Indians also agreed to pay him $5MM to waive his no trade clause to complete the transaction.
With this move the Tribe is filling one several huge holes on the roster. They are getting the right handed power bat that who also is an on-base machine (.385 career on-base%) at a position that has been void of production since the departure of Shin-Soo Choo after the 2012 season.
In acquiring Holliday the Indians are making a financial commitment (less David Murphy‘s $6.5MM) of upwards of $33.5MM over the next two seasons and if his options vest that total could increase to $49.5MM over the next three seasons.
The Cardinals view this trade as an opportunity to rearrange some of the finances on their roster as they look to sign either Jon Lester this off-season or David Price next year. They will also look to lock up outfielder Jason Heyward who they acquired from the Braves earlier this month for pitcher Shelby Miller and prospect Tyrell Jenkins.
In addition to payroll flexibility the Cardinals receive a pair of prospects who may not have the ceiling of all-star caliber players they do have the skills that seem to project as future major league players. Erik Gonzalez is a slick fielding defender who can play all over the infield and may best be suited as a future replacement for Jhonny Peralta.
In Tyler Naquin they receive a well rounded toolsy outfielder with the arm strength to play right field and the speed and defensive ability to move to center field as well as a top of the order hitter.
Do you think the Indians exposed themselves to too much financial risk in acquiring Matt Holliday? We encourage you to comment below, or tweet us at @wahoosonfirst