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.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.