I never understood the reasoning behind the supposed we-don't-have-to-trade-Matt-Holliday stance that people assumed the A's were taking. If the Giants called, for example, the A's were supposed to say something like, "The price is Madison Bumgarner. If you don't like it, we'll just take the two draft picks at the end of the year."
Couple of things about that one. Holliday's still owed around $6M for the rest of this season, and the two draft picks would cost about $1.5M to $2M in draft bonuses. And Holliday could go to a team with a protected pick in the top 15, he could go to a team that goes goofy and signs a couple of different type-A free agents, or he could go to a team that fits both descriptions. So the A's would be out $6M for the rest of Holliday's season, and they could only have a supplemental first-round and second- or even third-round pick to show for it.
Or, they A's could shed the salary, pick up one or two decent prospects, and apply the savings to Latin America or to buy out firm college commitments from a top high school prospect or two. That's why I never gave up hope that the A's might have been willing to look beyond the Posegarnersonalona quadumvirate. In my bourbon-soaked fantasy, the A's take Scott Barnes, Eric Surkamp, and Fred Lewis, and they apply the salary savings to their player development program. Everyone wins! Well, not so much the A's, but I'd think that scenario beats the hope-for-a-first-rounder gambit.
But rumor has it that the Cardinals might part with Brett Wallace. What that means for the Giants: Thank you, drive through. Entering the season, Wallace was Baseball America's 40th-best prospect, ahead of both Tim Alderson and Angel Villalona.
Don't get me wrong: Holliday on the Giants means that Bengie Molina is no longer a cleanup hitter. Bugles will sound, flowers will grow, and the sun will shine. But six cost-controlled years of Tim Alderson or Angel Villalona is likely to be worth more than two months of Matt Holliday, and that's before considering the other shiny baubles that Alderson or Villalona could bring in a deal -- i.e., players under contract past this year.
All things equal, I want Holliday on the Giants. If the A's are really concerned about the salary, and the other offers aren't there, I'd hope the Giants pick him up on the cheap. It was a pipe dream, but it wasn't too crazy. If other teams are willing to offer real prospects: pass. Save the prospects for trades that help the Giants score runs in 2010 and beyond. Or, you know, keep the prospects. I'm not a zealot either way.