It seemed as though the A’s were going to deal Matt Holliday for Brett Wallace straight up. Instead, they got two extra players. Many would say this is a good deal for both teams, but frankly, I don’t really care what it does for the Cardinals. I don’t care if Matt Holliday hits .220 or .330 the rest of the way. No matter what happens, the A’s win. Perhaps I’m overstating it, but removing Holliday from the lineup is addition by subtraction. Seeing him up close this year has been a huge disappointment. Many have tried to chalk it up to him being in a pitcher’s park or having little help offensively in the lineup. The fact is, he simply wasn’t hitting. It’s not like he was constantly hitting balls that died on the warning track. Or that he was racking up hits but getting left on base when others failed to come through. You can’t even attribute his struggles to seeing few good pitches, because pitchers weren’t pitching around him. He had plenty of opportunities with runners on and saw plenty of pitches to hit. He just wasn’t hitting them. He filled in nicely for Mark Ellis providing the team’s bulk of infield pop-ups. At the same time, he beat out Bobby Crosby for the title of best at hitting into inning-ending double plays. Don’t let the past week or two fool you. The A’s could’ve traded him for the ol’ proverbial bag of balls and come out winners.
However, Oakland didn’t receive a bag of balls in this deal, but rather two top ten prospects from the Cardinals’ system. Brett Wallace is a supposed can’t miss big leaguer, and is probably less than a year away. Despite being a fat gut, scouts say he is in fact athletic, and could stick at third base for years to come. Third base, as A’s fans know too well, is a huge hole for the team. On top of that, they managed to snag St. Louis’ 2nd best pitching prospect, and 6th best prospect overall. It’s unlikely he’ll be the next Dan Haren, but he is projected to be a future #3 starter. The bottom line is the three players the A’s got are almost guaranteed to be better than the two compensation picks they would’ve received at the end of the season. The added bonus is that Holliday is out of lineup two months sooner!