O's might be interested in Matt Holliday, but not at his price

December 18, 2009|By Jeff Zrebiec

First Mike Gonzalez, then Garrett Atkins, and now Matt Holliday? Foxsports.com reported Thursday morning that the Orioles have "jumped into the bidding" for Holliday, the slugging outfielder who is regarded as the best hitter on the free-agent market.

Don't get too excited. The Orioles, according to sources, did have discussions about Holliday with his agent, Scott Boras, during their negotiations regarding Gonzalez. Any team would be interested in such a player, especially a club with a glaring need for a right-handed power hitter. However, the Orioles are quite realistic about their chances of landing Holliday. And privately, they have no expectations whatsoever that Holliday will be with the team next year.

The Orioles still feel his price tag will far exceed what they're willing to pay, and they have no interest in being involved in a bidding war. That doesn't mean they won't stay on the periphery of the bidding and keep in touch with Boras. That does mean that barring a seismic change in the free-agent landscape and Holliday's asking price, he will not be an Oriole.

Now, there are a couple of factors in the Orioles' favor. Holliday is close friends with Atkins, the third baseman who was his teammate with the Colorado Rockies. He is also very good friends with Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts. Before Roberts signed his extension with the Orioles last year, he was scheduled to hit free agency at the same time as Holliday. Roberts once told me that the pair had discussed how cool it would be play together, sort of like a package deal.

There is another connection. Holliday's father, Tom, is friends with Orioles pitching coach Rick Kranitz and was one of his baseball coaches at Oklahoma State.

So, it does make a lot of sense in some ways, many detailed in the Foxsports.com report. But I wouldn't hold my breath.

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