Friday, May 16, 2008

Caveat Emptor

Ken Rosenthal reports that the Rockies may shop Matt Holliday:

The Rockies, 10 games back in the NL West, almost certainly would consider trading Holliday, knowing they stand little chance of keeping him long-term. Holliday, 28, could be this year's Mark Teixeira — a Scott Boras client traded with a year-plus remaining on his contract by a team seeking value for a franchise-type player . . .

. . . The trade market for Holliday, meanwhile, likely would be robust, especially from teams in the suddenly offense-starved American League.
I could see this ending really, really badly for whoever trades for Holliday. I know we're in some brand new shiny humidor-impacted era and everything, but Holliday's splits are pretty much par for the course for Rockies' players over the years:

Home: .364/.440/.697
Road .287/.380/.414

Home: .364/.426/.664
Road: .274/.337/.445

Rosenthal compares Holliday's situation to Teixeira's last year. That's accurate insofar as contract situation goes. If any team gives up the kind of package the Braves gave up for Teixeira, however, they will have made a very, very poor baseball decision.


Andy said...

I think the effect home/road splits of Colorado players can be over estimated. Larry Walker and Andres Galaragga hit just as well overall, or better, when they left Colorado. So did Juan Pierre ('better' being a relative term). Vinny Castilla seems to be an exception, but he was clearly on the way down when he left Colorado. I don't think you can assume that a player's road stats while in Colorado represent his true ability.

Craig Calcaterra said...

True, Andy, but the splits weren't quite as pronounced in those cases. In the year before he signed with Atlanta, Galarraga had a 1.017 OPS at home and a .931 on the road (although the year before that it was huge).

Larry Walker in 2001 and 2002 was high at home to be sure, but still had OPSs over .900 on the road.

That's cherry picking of course, in that both of those guys and Pierre and other also showed pretty big splits only to do well elsewhere. But at least in their cases they showed flashes of all-star caliber play on the road (and in Walker and Galaraga's cases, first developed as hitters away from Coors).

I think Holliday is a good player and don't believe that he's merely a Coors creation, but there simply isn't a ton of evidence for that at this point.

I settled on the title "buyer beware" because I think that Holliday might be attractive at the right price. Caution is warranted, however.

Jason said...

Memo from Hank: I got yer buyer beware right hea-yah. Holliday's a Rays' kinda player and if Cashman doesn't see fit to deal all of our best players for him, I'll remove his bite-sized ass personally, by FORCE.

Said Hal: "Never mind him. He's not taking his meds this week"

Anonymous said...


Let's not forget the King of Coors, Mr. Dante Bichette, and his Crown Prince Ellis Burks.

When you examine their COL numbers vs. full seasons playing for other teams, the OPS drop is on average about 125 points.

Walker and Galaragga were superb talents, terrific defensively and Walker could run well before injuries minimized that part of his game.

Holiday is not terific defensively, is average on the basepaths, and his OPS drop indicates he is a player more in the Bichette mold.

The key for teams in this case is to pay for a player with the road OPS, not the Coors OPS, Boras notwithstanding.

I think "buyer beware" is understated.