The slugger went 3-for-4 in a win over the Red Sox. He drove in two runs and bumped his season batting average up to a Matt Holliday-like .333. He was everything we wanted him to be when the A's made him the highest-paid player in Oakland history.
Then this morning's ESPN.com baseball page feature article declares Holliday is on his way out of Oakland. This article went live about fifteen hours after Holliday played his seventh game as an Oakland A.
In an piece written for the upcoming issue of ESPN The Magazine, even the headline declares "Matt Holliday won't be an A for long".
Author Jorge Arangure Jr. states like it's a foregone conclusion that "it's pretty clear he's (Holliday's) just passing through Oakland, where the team has been trying for years to get a new ballpark and increase revenues."
The aggravating thing about this is that ESPN is probably right. Billy Beane is coming right out and saying so. "Given what he stands to possibly earn, the likelihood is that he will go somewhere else next year," Beane tells ESPN, referring to Holliday. "We're okay with that. We knew the deal when we got into it."
ESPN speculates that if the A's have a poor first half, Holliday could be traded mid-season. Given Beane's love for acquiring young prospects, that could probably happen even if the A's have an outstanding first half. Either way, Holliday's on a contract year and a trade is a strong possibility for any well-paid player having a contract year.
Who could or would the A's get for him? It's still extremely early, but MLBTradeRumors.com has already compiled the likeliest mid-season trade bait players based on contract status and other factors. If you're a fan of bringing back former A's, you'll notice that Miguel Tejada and Jermaine Dye are on that list.
Keep in mind, though, that a lot of one-season "rentals" end up meshing pretty well and stick around.
When the Dodgers traded for Manny Ramirez last season, they were supposedly only getting him for a few months. But the shrinking economy has led to fewer free agent offers, and a whittling down of the salaries that are being thrown around. We're seeing fewer bank-breaking offers than we have in years.
And A's fans, more than any other team, know how to root for players who are probably moving to another city in the near future.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who will take the bait on any crazy trade speculation you put up on your blog.