Talk that the Phillies are aggressively pursuing Matt Holliday won't die, despite a few baseball sources indicating there is nothing there.
So let's review why it is unlikely the Phillies get Holliday:
- Colorado's asking price remains too high, and is unlikely to drop. One source said the Rockies would require Shane Victorino (or Jayson Werth), plus top prospect Carlos Carrasco and at least another top prospect from the Phillies' farm system (somebody like lefthander J.A. Happ). Why so high? Because the Rockies still feel like they can compete in the NL West, so they would need a major-league ready outfielder in return. They also would receive two top draft picks as compensation if they held onto Holliday and he left via free agency after the 2009 season. So in the minds of the Rockies, they would need at least two two prospects in a trade, which would correlate to those top two draft picks. Fox's Ken Rosenthal said the St. Louis Cardinals have a proposal on the table that includes Ryan Ludwick, Skip Schumaker and righthander Mitchell Boggs. That's a serious offer, so the Phillies would have to put together something similarly intriguing.
- Holliday will be a free agent after the season. His agent is Scott Boras, and Boras always has his clients test the open market. So there would be no chance to extend Holliday before he became a free agent. Boras' clients also typically take the most money possible, which means there would no chance for a "hometown" discout. With the Phillies still hoping to sign players like Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard to extensions, there is little chance the Phillies could sign Holliday to a contract that would make Boras happy, and still extend homegrown players like Hamels, Howard, etc.
- The Phillies' priority remains pitching, and Carrasco certainly figures into those plans. The Phillies project him to be a No. 2 or 3 starter. If he pitches well enough, there is a chance he could make the team out of spring training. With Jamie Moyer still a free agent, Brett Myers in the final year of his contract, Kyle Kendrick a question mark and Adam Eaton a bust, it would be in the Phillies' best interest to hold onto somebody like Carrasco. They're going to need him.
Ruben Amaro Jr. said rumors that the Phillies would listen to offers for shortstop Jimmy Rollins were "ludicrous." Rollins is one of the best leadoff hitters and shortstops in the game. His five-year, $40 million contract might be one of the best bargains in baseball. He will make just $8.5 million next season and $8.5 million in 2010. The Phillies also have an $8.5 million club option for 2011, which they almost certainly will pick up if he stays healthy. "Jimmy Rollins is our shortstop, for now and the future," Amaro said. "That rumor is unequivocally false."