The details of the Holliday deal

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In the excitement of the announcement of the Matt Holliday deal, the Randy Johnson retirement announcement and what was probably one of the least inspiring BCS bowl matchups in recent years, I neglected to break down the details of the Holliday contract, but they’re as follows:

  • Holliday will receive $17 million for each season from 2010-2016;
  • If he finishes in the top-10 in MVP
    balloting in 2016, a $17 million option vests for 2017. There is a $1 million buyout if the option does not vest;
  • Calling it an “option” however, may be a misnomer. There is no club discretion here: if he finishes 10th or better in the MVP voting, he gets it. I guess it could be a player option, but those of you who think that a 37 year-old Matt Holliday will be in a position to decline a check for $17 million probably need to get some professional help;
  • He
    has full no-trade protection.

All in all, it’s a guaranteed value of $120 million,  with a potential
value of $136 million. 

Personally, I would love to hear how this negotiation went.  If, say, the Cardinals had offered him six years and $90 million, what would Holliday have done?  What other team would have come in with that money?  Did they even try? We never really know how these sorts of things go, but unless we learn that some other team was really and truly bidding on Holliday — and to date we’ve had no credible reports of a competitor for his services — I’m forced to believe that the Cardinals bid against themselves. 

No matter the case, nice deal Boras. You got your guy the contract not many people thought he’d ever get. 

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).