August 2009

Getting to Know Matt Holliday

Holliday.jpgLet’s talk about Matt Holliday today.  I talked with Matt a few weeks ago when he was in New York to play the Yankees right before he got traded.  There were two big things that we discussed.  One was his slow start and two was a possible trade to St. Louis and getting back to the National League.

The second thing we talked about was the possibility of him going to St. Louis and getting back to the National League.  He loved the idea at the time.  I asked him what has been the biggest challenge going to the American League after being in the National League for so many years.  He said it’s not just the fact that they throw more breaking pitches in the American League, but it’s recognizing those pitches as well.  In the National League he may anticipate a breaking pitch, but he also knew how it was going to break.  In the American League he would also anticipate a breaking pitch, but he didn’t know how it was going to break.  That was the biggest challenge for him.  As the year progressed and he saw pitchers for a 2nd time he was able to adjust. 

Now going back to the National League he’s been off to a hot start, but he’s seen these pitchers before so he has a better idea of what these guys will throw him and how it’s going to move.  It was pleasure to talk to Matt that day at Yankee Stadium.  It’s tough to pick against the Cardinals now in the NL Central with him and Pujols in the middle of that lineup. 


Breaking Down the Victor Martinez Trade

Martinez2.jpgThe Victor Martinez deal is a very interesting trade to me and here’s why.  His trade to Boston affects 5 different players.

Who is going to play first base?  Will it be Youkilis or Martinez?  When Martinez plays first base somebody at third base will be affected.  Mike Lowell will most likely have to sit because they’ll probably move Youkilis to third.  If they decide to sit Youkilis then he’s been affected.  So both Lowell and Youkilis have to deal with Martinez playing first base.

The 3rd player that has to deal with this Martinez trade is Jason Varitek.  Now think about it.  This is a guy who has handled the Boston pitching staff for the last 12 years.  All of these pitchers have grown up and trusted him so he knows their stuff better than anyone.  His greatest worth to his team is calling the game so now you affect Varitek.

The 4th player on this list is David Ortiz.  Martinez can DH, too, so on days he does Big Papi sits.  I know he’s struggled this season, but he’s starting to swing the bat well of late.  Alright, that’s 4 players who have instantly been affected by this trade.

Number 5 now is Casey Kotchman who was traded for Adam LaRoche as we all know.  He now becomes that player off the bench after starting in Atlanta.

So 5 players were directly affected with the trade for Victor Martinez without talking about Martinez, which is still a great pickup by the Red Sox.  It will be interesting down the stretch for Terry Francona to get all these players enough playing time.  We’ll have to see how it all shakes out in Boston.