Holliday Contract: So Far, So Good

The big contract this offseason was the deal given to Matt Holliday by the St. Louis Cardinals: a seven year deal with 120 million dollars in guaranteed money. The contract will pay $17 million dollars annually to Holliday, paying him as a roughly 4.5-5 WAR player to begin the contract and less as inflation of free agent contract (likely) picks up in subsequent offseasons.

At least for one season, the Cardinals are getting more than their money’s worth. Holliday has been absolutely fantastic for the Cardinals this season, slashing .307/.379/.535. He’s been above average in every factor of hitting, walking 9.3% of the time, striking out under 15% of the time, hitting for solid power with a .229 ISO, and posting a .323 BABIP that is actually a step back from his career .347 mark. Put it all together, and Holliday has a .392 wOBA and a 150 wRC+. Combine that with solid defense in left field – +8 UZR this season after three straight positive seasons – and Holliday checks in as a 5.8 WAR player so far in 589 plate appearances. With 21 games left this season, barring a major collapse down the stretch, Holliday should eclipse the six WAR mark for the second time in the last four seasons.

That means that Holliday will be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-25 million dollars when all is said and done in 2010. This strong age 30 campaign not only provided the Cardinals with excellent value and kept them in the playoff race for most of the season, but it also bodes extremely well for next season and beyond. One of the major concerns with Holliday was that his decline phase could begin soon, but he showed no sign whatsoever of slowing down in 2010. ZiPS projects a .401 wOBA the rest of the way. CHONE’s updated projections have Holliday as a 4.4 WAR player over 150 games, and that’s assuming that he’s an average defender. According to these projections, Holliday should once again provide some value over his contract in 2011 as well.

With all that said, the issues with a seven year contract are rarely in years one and two. The worries around Cardinal Nation and elsewhere mostly had to do with paying Holliday, an elite player, but not an Albert Pujols or Chase Utley type, $17 million dollars as he approaches his late 30s. If Holliday was only performing at that market value 4.5 WAR mark, there would be reason to worry that Holliday could slowly depreciate into a below average player in the 5th, 6th, and 7th year of the contract. Holliday should still end up declining over the next six seasons, but with this season as a starting point, there’s far less reason for Cardinal fans to fret over the end of his contract. Barring catastrophe, his abilities should be able to keep up with inflation, and he just may provide surplus value for the Cardinals for years to come.

We hoped you liked reading Holliday Contract: So Far, So Good by Jack Moore!

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DonCoburleone
Guest
DonCoburleone

Yes and finally we don’t have to hear about how Matt Holliday is nothing more than a Coors Field creation like so many MSM members loved to claim over the years. The guy is a great player with one of the most natural line-drive producing swings I have ever seen, and hopefully by the time this contract is up we will all be debating his Hall of Fame credentials.

Yo Comprendre
Guest
Yo Comprendre

HOF is not happening but as the first middle of the order hitter to leave CO while still in his prime I am excited to see him putting up numbers similar to his Rockies numbers, his age 24 year looks a lot like Cargo’s age 23 peripherally hopefully Gonzalez continues to mature as a hitter

Chris
Guest
Chris

I couldn’t have said it any better. Holliday’s line from ’06:

GM 155 AB 602 R 119 H 196 2B 45 3B 5 HR34 RBI 114 BB 47 K’s 110 SB 10 CS 5 .326 .387 .586 .973

’10:
GM 138 AB 525 R 85 H 161 2B 40 3B 1 HR 26 RBI 91 BB 55 K’s 83 SB 8 CS 4 .307 .379 .535 .914

Very similar lines from a hitters dream to a home run suppressing but otherwise neutral park. But everyone else who was a member of the Rockies only does well because of the stadium according Mr Cameron and everyone over at ESPN’s Monday Night Baseball.