I and others suspected that the Cardinals were bidding against themselves in the Matt Holliday negotiations. Ken Rosenthal suggested yesterday that they had some help via some Boras bluffing:
Would Scott Boras have pulled an Adrian Beltre with Matt
taking a one-year deal in search of a better free-agent
The Cardinals believed the answer was yes, and their fear of
Holliday prompted them to award him a seven-year contract,
to a source with knowledge of the club’s thinking.
Rosenthal says that the fear was that the Yankees or someone would give Holliday $20 million or something on a one year deal. He quotes an anonymous baseball executive who is really dubious that Holliday would take such a deal, however, as he is on the record saying that he wants to put down roots for his family.
I think the bluff is doubly silly. Sure, Holliday may not have taken such a deal, but what makes the Cardinals think that such a deal would even develop? The Yankees may or may not be satisfied with Brett Gardner in left, but even if they go in a different direction, is it really plausible to think that they’d make a one-and-done knock-your-socks-off offer to Holliday? And who else could make such an offer?
Yes, I suppose anything is possible, and yes, it’s way easier to throw barbs from the sidelines than it is to actually sit across the table from Boras, but as far as bluffs go, Matt Holliday taking a one year deal to make his market at age 30 seems like one that’s worth calling.