Is Matt Holliday long for St. Louis?

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You know the story by now: a veteran comes to St. Louis, loves it there, wins some games, falls for all of that “best fans in baseball business” and decides to make it a home.  Jim Edmonds is the best example of it.  Come to think of it, he might be the only significant example.  Still, that meme seems to hold true for some reason, at least in the minds of Cardinal fans.

A lot of people figured that Matt Holliday might fit that profile too.  Financially speaking he probably screwed up in not taking the Rockies’ last contract offer, and he was more or less lost in Oakland the first part of this year, making him a less attractive free agent in the minds of many.  Plus he has Scott Boras for an agent, making things even more prickly.  Given his post-trade surge, he seems like a great candidate to say “hey, this is a great situation!  I have Albert Pujols hitting in front of me, fans who love me, and a lot of weak NL Central pitching to feast on.  I’m staying!”

Not so fast says ESPN’s Buster Olney (sorry; link is to Insider material).  Olney takes a look at the Cardinals’ business plan over the past few years and makes a pretty good case that Holliday will not be seriously pursued by the club.  St. Louis doesn’t seem to want a $100M+ payroll if they can help it, they’re going to sign DeRosa, and Pujols, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright are going to get more expensive over the course of any hypothetical Matt Holliday deal.

Olney thinks that leaves Holliday the odd man out.  In fact, he thinks Holliday will sign with the Angels.  I’m inclined to agree with the “Holliday won’t come back” part, but you have to figure that Anaheim wasn’t all that impressed by what they saw of him while he played for the A’s.  Plus, you have to figure that Holliday will want to stay in NL given his little jaunt around the junior circuit this summer.

As for the Cardinals, if they don’t bring him back, I presume that they’ll keep up the same old model: see if they can win with Albert, some pitching and a prayer.  If that’s not working by July, they’ll rent a bat for the second half, and hope that the Cubs don’t figure things out in the meantime.

Not a bad plan, really.  Especially the part that depends on the Cubs to self-destruct at one point or another. 

Bartolo Colon ain’t doing so hot this year

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If he wasn’t 44 years-old we’d just call it a slump, but the way Bartolo Colon is pitching right now makes you wonder if the end is nigh.

Colon was shelled this afternoon, giving up seven runs on ten hits and walking three in five innings of work to take the loss against the Pirates. That brings his ERA up to 6.96 on the year. He’s allowed five or more runs in five of his ten starts and opposing batters are hitting .320 against him. One of the big reasons he had been so effective into his 40s had been his low walk rate — he led the NL in this category for the past two seasons — but he’s walking more guys this year than last.

The Braves picked up Colon for the reasons a lot of rebuilding teams pick up veteran starters: to provide innings and stability until the younger arms of the future can mature. Colon, however, has been the weakest link of the Braves rotation.

At some point, every baseball player reaches the end. Almost all of them do it before the age of 44. One hopes, given his history and popularity that Colon is just experiencing a rough patch and that, by mid season, he’ll be reliably pumping strikes into the zone the way he has the past few seasons. But with each bad start he registers this year, that’s seeming like more and more of a stretch.

Braves designate Josh Collmenter for assignment

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Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.

Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.

Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.

Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.