Yes, this Hot Stove drama is over. Jon Heyman of SI.com broke the news just under an hour ago, as Matt Holliday has agreed to a seven-year, $120 million contract with St. Louis. Holliday will receive $17 million per season, according to Matthew Leach of MLB.com, and a no-trade clause.
Holliday appeared on ESPN Radio just a short time ago confirming the signing, saying that it’s actually for $119 million, but there is some language that could push it to $120 million. But hey, what’s a million between friends? Either way, it’s the biggest contract in club history.
“I felt like it was a good fit for me an my family,” Holliday said on
the Doug Gottlieb show on ESPN. “I’m going back to the Cardinals. It
was very appealing to me. This has been a bit of a long process. There
are some emotional ups and downs that go with it. It hasn’t exactly
been a walk in the park.”
It’s not quite Mark Teixeira-money, but Scott Boras got his client over the $100 million threshold and then some. Likewise, it’s an important statement by the Cardinals organization, as they attempt to keep Albert Pujols in the fold after his current contract expires at the end of the 2011 season.
Some will wonder what other legitimate offers Boras actually had on the table for his client since the Mets clearly preferred Jason Bay all along, but in the end both sides needed each other too much for this not to happen.
After 16 years in the majors, longtime Tigers DH Victor Martinez capped his career with one final start at Comerica Park. Although there are seven games remaining in the club’s regular season schedule, Martinez said he felt he owed it to the fans to record his final at-bat at home. He’ll still cheer the rest of the team on from the dugout when they hit the road for their last six-game stretch on Monday, though he’s not expected to slot into the lineup at any point during their back-to-back away series against the Twins and Brewers.
In order to commemorate the occasion, the Tigers arranged a pregame ceremony to celebrate the veteran infielder’s seven years with the team, during which they presented him with Topps baseball cards, a recliner, a pair of boots, and a saddle, among other honors. Martinez also put in a special request to play first base, a position he hadn’t manned in over two years.
The 39-year-old didn’t waste a single minute of his final start in the majors. He deftly handled an inning-ending out in the top of the first, then laced a rare infield single to short in his first and final at-bat of the afternoon, beating the throw to first and advancing Nicholas Castellanos to second base in order to set up the Tigers’ first run: a two-out RBI single from Niko Goodrum that brought Castellanos home to score.
“I think that at-bat was the perfect at-bat to describe my career,” Martinez told reporters after the Tigers wrapped a 5-4 win over the Royals. “I had to sweat it out. I had to sweat it out the whole way. I had to grind it. That was my whole career.”
Following the hit — and the standing ovation that greeted it — the switch-hitter was promptly replaced by pinch-runner Ronny Rodriguez, who subbed in at second base in the top of the second while Goodrum shifted from second to first base. Taking Saturday’s performance into account, Martinez polished off his big league career with a lifetime .295/.360/.455 batting line, 423 doubles, 246 home runs, 1,178 RBI, and 28.4 fWAR across 1,973 games and three separate stints for the Indians, Red Sox, and Tigers. His accomplishments at the plate have been decorated with five All-Star nominations, two Silver Slugger Awards, and the designated hitter-exclusive Edgar Martinez Award following a career-best campaign in 2014.