Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Holliday, Beltre/Kotchman

Matt Holliday will stay in St. Louis, we learn last night, on a pretty massive $120+ million contract.  No one expected, nor should have, that Holliday would ever return to the levels of performance he showed in hitting-friendly Colorado in 2006-2007 but the .300+ projection we had listed for him here previously will hold up in our next set, to be published this upcoming weekend.  The biggest change will be a slight drop in projected power output.  It's not a huge hit to the numbers and is simply a reflection of the home park as Busch Stadium has proven to be a tough park to homer in the past few years, regardless of how good Holliday looked in 63 games with St. Louis last year.

For me, the most interesting activity the past few days has been the Adrian Beltre / Casey Kotchman situation brewing in Boston.  The way things are shaping up for the moment, Beltre will join Boston on a one year deal with an option for 2011.  Once Mike Lowell recovers from his thumb injury, the Sox will revive the trade talks with Texas (or someone else if the Rangers are no longer interested) and move him before the start of the season.  Kevin Youkilis would stay at first base and Beltre would take over as the regular third baseman.

While I don't believe Beltre's power gets a boost from hitting in this environment, I do think his average could be lifted significantly from previously-projected low-.270s territory to above .280.  Beltre still runs decently too and will remain a threat for 10-15 steals.

More than any other forecast, though, Casey Kotchman's is the one that is closest to changing significantly as a result of these developments.  The addition of Beltre would mean that the Red Sox can trade Kotchman to Seattle at any moment and once this happens, Kotchman moves to a park that isn't as good for hitters but a team that needs a full-time first baseman.  When/if this deal becomes official, I'll be changing Kotchman's forecast from the previously-published mid-.280s platoon player who had fewer than 10 home runs and 40-something runs and RBI to a full-time projected .270 type hitter with 10-15 home run power and 60-70 RBI.  In other words, a Kotchman trade to Seattle would move him back to being what he appeared to be over a full-season split between the Angels and Braves in 2008.