Report: Cardinals close to getting Holliday from A's

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Rumors about the A’s and Cardinals working on a trade for Matt Holliday
have been swirling for the past couple days, and according to Tim
Kurkjian of ESPN.com the deal is now on the verge of becoming official:

The Athletics and Cardinals are close to completing a trade that
would send outfielder Matt Holliday to St. Louis in exchange for third
baseman Brett Wallace, outfielder Shane Peterson and right-handed
pitcher Clayton Mortensen.

Last night our own Matthew Pouliot analyzed the potential St. Louis-Oakland deal
and concluded that Brett Wallace was a reasonable haul for Holliday, so
under that assumption the A’s would be doing very well by also picking
up 2008 second-round pick Shane Peterson and 2007 first-round pick
Clayton Mortensen (although neither has been all that impressive since
being drafted).

In fact, a Wallace-Peterson-Mortensen return would be fairly similar
in terms of overall value to the three-player package of Carlos
Gonzalez, Huston Street, and Greg Smith that the A’s sent to the
Rockies for Holliday in November. Of course, simply treading water in
the value department while paying Holliday a whole bunch of money isn’t
what the A’s had in mind at the time of the original deal.

On the other hand, merely recouping that value is pretty good with
Holliday hitting .286/.378/.454 after batting .319/.386/.552 in
Colorado. For the Cardinals, giving up last year’s first- and
second-round picks along with a potentially useful 24-year-old pitcher
would be a very steep price for two months of Holliday, but the ability
to either re-sign him at a discount or take draft picks when he walks
as a free agent balances the scales.

All in all, Kurkjian’s reported 3-for-1 deal strikes me as a
reasonable move for both sides and perhaps a slight “win” for the A’s.
Many people believe that Wallace will become a star and at the very
least he looks likely to develop into an impact hitter, but I’m
somewhat skeptical about his true ceiling and if he can’t stick at
third base defensively the Cardinals don’t really have a spot for him
as long as that El Hombre guy is around.

Holliday represents a significant upgrade for the Cardinals, who’ve
been searching for a big bat to hit behind Albert Pujols and rank 14th
in the league with a measly .635 OPS from their left fielders. Two
strong months from Holliday and a pair of draft picks if he leaves as a
free agent could get them into the playoffs and then give them a shot
to select the next Wallace and Peterson come June.

Aaron Hicks to go on the disabled list with an oblique injury

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks left Sunday’s game against the Rangers after four innings due to soreness in his right oblique. After the game, Hicks said he expects to go on the 10-day disabled list and miss the next three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.

Hicks was 1-for-2 with a single before departing on Sunday. He entered the game batting .288/.397/.515 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI in 198 plate appearances. It is by far the best season of his career.

Jacoby Ellsbury is on his way back from a concussion, so the Yankees will only have to bridge the gap in center field for a week or two. Mason Williams could draw some starts in center field in the meantime.

Report: Phillies making Maikel Franco available in trade discussions

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Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Phillies are making third baseman Maikel Franco “more than available” in trade discussions.

Franco, 24, is having an abysmal season after showing promise in 2015 and ’16. Through 289 plate appearances, he’s hitting .221/.280/.365 with nine home runs and 37 RBI. His hitting has tanked and his already below-average defense hasn’t shown any improvement.

It’s a bit surprising that the Phillies would be so eager to move Franco with his value about as low as it can go. Franco is also under control of the rebuilding Phillies through the 2021 season, so the team doesn’t have to rush into moving him. He will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season.

Furthermore, the Phillies don’t have an immediate replacement for Franco at third base. Andres Blanco would likely get everyday starts at the hot corner in the short-term, but as far as prospects go, there are no third baseman banging down the door. If the Phillies were to trade Franco, it would likely have to be in return for a young, talented third baseman who will be under team control for several more years.