Cards Acquire Former Rockies OF Holliday

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. - (AP) The busy St. Louis Cardinals have added a big bat for their pennant drive.

They acquired three-time All-Star outfielder Matt Holliday from the Oakland Athletics on Friday for a package of prospects.

And Holliday was in the Cardinals' lineup in left field and batting cleanup behind slugger Albert Pujols for Friday night's game against the defending World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies.

"You look at the lineup card and it's exciting," St. Louis outfielder Ryan Ludwick said. "You take a hitter like him and it's instant offense. A player of that caliber, it adds a lot of excitement. We're in first. This will push us to get a lot more."

The A's receive power-hitting third baseman Brett Wallace, a top offensive player in the St. Louis farm system. Outfielder Shane Peterson and right-hander Clayton Mortensen also will go to the Oakland organization.

The first-place Cardinals have been looking to add another hitter in the middle of the lineup to support Pujols. St. Louis already acquired utilityman Mark DeRosa from the Cleveland Indians late last month and then shortstop Julio Lugo in a Wednesday swap with the Boston Red Sox.

"Matt is an impact player who gives us an instant added threat in the middle of our lineup," Cardinals' vice president and general manager John Mozeliak said. "These types of opportunities are rare. The price to complete this deal was steep, but our organization feels that it should greatly improve our chances to compete for a postseason berth."

Holliday has struggled in his first season with the A's, batting .286 with 11 home runs and 54 RBIs.

Oakland traded with Colorado for Holliday during the winter knowing he might only be with the club for half a season. A's general manager Billy Beane acknowledged as much at the time.

"We always knew even when we traded for Matt, we knew there were going to be a lot of options," Beane said in a conference call Friday. "We're happy we traded for Matt. We had to be prepared for anything."

The 29-year-old Holliday had his best game for Oakland at home on Monday, hitting two home runs with a grand slam as the A's rallied from 10 runs down to beat the Minnesota Twins 14-13.

Many scouts attended recent games in Oakland to watch Holliday, who spent his first five major league seasons with the Rockies.

The teams began discussions about a month ago, then things picked back up earlier this week. Most of the work was finished Thursday night, Beane said, with final details completed Friday.

"It became pretty apparent to us that St. Louis was interested in Matt," Beane said. "They had called over a month ago. They were definitely the most motivated. ... John Mozeliak, he was consistent, aggressive and willing to give and take on a deal like this."

Wallace could provide the A's some depth at third base in the absence of six-time Gold Glove winner Eric Chavez, who is recovering from season-ending back surgery last month that he hopes will help salvage his career. It was the second back surgery for Chavez -- he had the same microdiscectomy procedure in a different spot -- and his fifth operation overall since Sept. 5, 2007. He also had three shoulder operations.

The A's are optimistic Chavez will be ready by spring training 2010.

"We're all hopeful Eric's our third baseman next year," Beane said. "Obviously long term it's probably one area in the organization we have a need. We're going to keep [Wallace] over there, be patient with him and see how it goes."

Wallace -- someone Oakland has liked since he was a college freshman at Arizona State -- had moved quickly through the Cardinals' farm system and was considered their top offensive prospect. A first-round draft pick last year chosen 13th overall, he was already at Triple-A Memphis. Whenever St. Louis needed help from the minors, Wallace's name came up, but manager Tony La Russa insisted he needed more time.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Wallace, a left-handed hitter born in the Bay Area, was batting .293 with six homers, 19 RBIs and 11 doubles in 62 games for Memphis after starting the year in Double-A.

He played in the All-Star Futures Game in St. Louis earlier this month.

The Cardinals have been without third baseman Troy Glaus, who is rehabilitating from January shoulder surgery.

The A's recalled infielder/outfielder Eric Patterson from Triple-A Sacramento to fill Holliday's spot on the 25-man roster and he was expected to join the team for Friday night's game against New York at Yankee Stadium.

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