ESPN's Buster Olney is reporting that St. Louis is in discussions with the Oakland Athletics for outfielder Matt Holliday. Any trade allegedly would have to include Cardinals 1B/3B prospect Brett Wallace, who is hitting .298 with six home runs in 61 games at Triple-A this season.
Holliday, 29, was acquired by the A's during the offseason via a trade with the Rockies, but so far his time in Oakland has been a disappointment. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound outfielder is hitting .287 with 11 homers, 54 RBIs and an .832 OPS this year — not bad numbers, but not exactly up to par for a guy that's posted an OPS of at least .947 over the past three seasons.
To be fair, though, he has been doing better recently, batting .344 in July and .407 since the All-Star break.
With a $13.5 million salary this year, Holliday is easily the highest-paid player on the A's. Considering that he is set to become a free agent in the offseason and that Oakland is currently sitting 15 games back in the AL West, it might be wise for the organization to trade him now in order to get some return on its investment.
Normally, the Athletics do not feel pressured into making deadline trades — they are content to offer their players arbitration and accumulate draft picks when they sign elsewhere — but this year could be different. Considering the current economic climate and Holliday's salary, the A's might not want to risk retaining Holliday at an even higher price next year.
If the Cardinals are able to get Holliday, it would give them a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat to complement Albert Pujols, Ryan Ludwick and DeRosa. With only a one-game lead atop the wide-open NL Central, St. Louis could certainly use the boost that a player like Holliday likely would provide.