Posted on November 13, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
Outfielder Matt Holliday had a wonderful farewell in St. Louis at the end of the season, but now the soon-to-be 37-year old is considering the next step in his career after hitting free agency. One intriguing option that may be on the table for Holliday is a return to the Colorado Rockies, where he started his now 13-year major league career.
Holliday may not be the star he once was, but he did hit 20 home runs in 2016, and that was in just 110 games, as Holliday missed six weeks late in the season with a broken thumb. Considering the power still left in his bat, Holliday could still do quite a bit of damage playing at Coors Field, and he’s indicated in recent days that he’d be receptive to a return to Colorado this winter.
“I don’t have any idea of what my market will be, but if [the Rockies] were competitive with their offer, I’d definitely consider it,” Holliday said earlier in the week.
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However, the caveat to Holliday returning to the Rockies is that he would likely have to play first base. Colorado has Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez taking up two spots in the outfield, with youngsters David Dahl and Raimel Tapia in competition for the third and final spot, leaving no room for Holliday. But with Mark Reynolds hitting the free agent market, the Rockies have an opening at first base.
Holliday has started just nine games at first base in his big league career, and all of them came this past season with the Cardinals. If Holliday were comfortable playing first base, and the Rockies were comfortable paying him a little more than the $2.6 million they paid Reynolds in 2016, Holliday returning to Colorado could work.
Right now, the Rockies have Stephen Cardullo and Jordan Patterson set to share the duties at first base, with prospect Ryan McMahon possibly becoming an option later in the season after spending 2016 at double-A. However, the Rockies may not be comfortable entering 2017 with those as their options at first base.
“It’s certainly something that’s part of the consideration process, but there’s so much more to it,” Colorado GM Jeff Bridich said earlier this week about the team keepings its options open at first base with respect to Holliday. “It’s supply and demand and what’s out there through trade, potentially. I don’t want to limit ourselves by saying we must have a right-handed first baseman or we must have a left-handed one. We’ll keep an open mind, and the goal is to add the best player we possibly can to the lineup.”
That response from Bridich isn’t exactly an overwhelming endorsement for Holliday. However, Rockies owner Dick Montfort has indicated that payroll will go up in 2017, which could make it more likely that Colorado makes a competitive offer to Holliday. Signing Holliday to a one-year deal could end up being helpful in 2017 and also give McMahon another full year in the minors to prepare himself for the big leagues.
With the Rockies hiring Bud Black as their new manager last week, there is a lot of optimism and positive energy around the organization. That positivity could increase even more if Holliday were to return to Colorado at this late stage in his career. Between the prospect of a homecoming for Holliday and the production he may still be able to provide, it’s definitely something for the Rockies to consider.