Holliday for Wallace makes perfect sense

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The Cardinals thought their offense was set when they acquired Mark
DeRosa from the Indians, but DeRosa injured his wrist and neither Chris
Duncan nor Rick Ankiel proved able to shake lingering injuries that
have left them unable to contribute offensively. Now the team has to
decide whether it’s worth mortgaging even more of the future to bring
in Matt Holliday from the Athletics.

The only return that makes sense for the A’s is 2008 first-round
pick Brett Wallace, a player Oakland passed over with the 12th
selection last year. They chose Jemile Weeks, Rickie’s younger brother,
instead, leaving Wallace for the Cardinals at No. 13.

The Wallace selection for St. Louis seemed awfully similar to
Milwaukee’s pick of Matt LaPorta the previous season. Even if the
player wasn’t a great fit for the team, picking the potent college bat
provided a great piece of trade bait. LaPorta, of course, was sent to
Cleveland for CC Sabathia last year. Now Wallace could go for another
superstar in his walk year.

The big factor that all of the teams are weighing these days is
draft picks. The Cardinals wouldn’t be desperate enough to give up six
years of Wallace for 2 1/2 months of Holliday straight up. But Wallace
for Holliday and two high draft picks? That’s likely worth doing.
Similarly, the A’s can’t settle for a prospect less than Wallace. Even
if they won’t have anything to play for in August and September, they
value the picks greatly.

Wallace is made expendable in St. Louis because of his glove. Most
projected him to move off third base in the pros, and while he’s still
playing the hot corner at the moment, he doesn’t have many convinced
that he’ll last at the position. Fortunately, he should possess the bat
to carry first. His .298/.351/.431 line in 61 games since being moved
up to Triple-A is hardly awe-inspiring, but it’s pretty good for
someone in his first pro season. He projects as a legitimate .300
hitter with 20-25 homer ability.

Holliday’s addition would give the Cardinals one of the game’s best lineups:

2B Skip Schumaker
3B Mark DeRosa
1B Albert Pujols
LF Matt Holliday
RF Ryan Ludwick
C Yadier Molina
CF Colby Rasmus
SS Brendan Ryan

The idea of using Troy Glaus as an outfielder would die, but he
probably wasn’t going to be an option as a regular anyway. He could be
the game’s scariest pinch-hitter come playoff time and maybe an
occasional option at third. Rick Ankiel, Khalil Greene and Julio Lugo
can join him on the game’s most expensive bench.

Since the price tag for Holliday doesn’t approach what the Jays
would want for Roy Halladay, I think he’s the right pickup for St.
Louis. It’d leave them talent left over to go get a reliever if they
desire, and they might even be able to talk Oakland into kicking in
some cash.

MVP or not, Mike Trout’s place in history is secure

Mike Trout
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Mike Trout may not win another MVP award, because Josh Donaldson of the Blue Jays had a great season and voters seem to be leaning his way, but the Angels center fielder just completed his fourth MVP-caliber campaign in four full seasons as a major leaguer.

Trout has now either won the MVP or (presumably) finished runner-up at age 20, age 21, age 22, and age 23. And there were certainly cases to be made that he was deserving of all four MVP awards. It’s been an incredible start to a career. But how incredible?

Here are the all-time leaders in Wins Above Replacement through age 23:

37.6 – Mike Trout
36.0 – Ty Cobb
34.2 – Ted Williams
31.4 – Mel Ott
30.1 – Ken Griffey Jr.
29.7 – Mickey Mantle
27.7 – Alex Rodriguez
27.5 – Al Kaline
26.7 – Arky Vaughan
26.5 – Rogers Hornsby

I mean, just look at the 10 names on that list. Ridiculous, and Trout sits atop all of them.

Trout has been the subject of intense MVP-related debates in three of his four seasons, but regardless of which side of that coin you favor don’t let it obscure the fact that we’re witnessing something truly special here. There’s certainly room to quibble with the exact rankings–WAR is merely one prominent and easy way to do such things–but however you slice it Trout has been one of the best handful of players in the history of baseball through age 23.

Orioles say re-signing Chris Davis is “a top priority”

Chris Davis
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Last week impending free agent Chris Davis expressed frustration that the Orioles had not approached him about a contract extension during the season, pointing out that the team had previously locked up other players like J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones mid-season.

Now that the season is over and Davis had another monster year Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette told Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun that re-signing Davis is “a top priority” and added:

He’s had a great year and he’s been a great player for us, so obviously, we’d like to have him back. Whether we can do that in the market, that remains to be seen, but we’re going to try.

Davis is 29 years old, has some defensive versatility, and has led the league in homers in two of the past three seasons while posting an .891 OPS during that time. He’s going to get plenty of huge multi-year offers and based on some of Duquette’s other quotes within Encina’s article it sure sounds like the Orioles are preparing for life without him.