Have you ever lived in a city or worked for a company that you promised yourself you’d never live in or work for again?
New York Yankees free-agent signee Matt Holliday has, and though his chosen profession essentially guarantees he’ll return to the city of his apparent disdain temporarily, the negotiating power of his agent has reportedly guaranteed he won’t return there permanently or work for his former employer again.
Well, at least during the 2017 season.
As we learned on Wednesday, Holliday’s one-year, $13M contract with the Yankees reportedly includes one very interesting and unique provision. It’s essentially a one-team no-trade clause that prevents the Yankees from trading Holliday to the Oakland A’s, where he played during the 2009 season.
Interesting wrinkle in Matt Holliday's deal with Yankees. Contract allows him to block trades to one team: Oakland Athletics.
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 7, 2016
Holliday was traded from the Rockies to the A’s prior to the 2009 season in a deal that benefited Colorado greatly. The Rockies received outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and closer Huston Street, both of whom played key roles in the Rockies wild-card berth.
As for Holliday’s time in Oakland, it was relatively brief, but he never seemed comfortable. In 93 games, he hit 286/.378/.454 with 11 homers and 54 RBIs. Decent numbers, but nothing close to the numbers he enjoyed previously or afterward. In addition to likely not enjoying hitting in a true pitcher’s ballpark, it’s possible Holliday wasn’t a fan of the organization seemingly having no plans for him other than to flip him again if they didn’t overcome the odds to become a contender.
During that season, Holliday was shipped to the St. Louis Cardinals and went on an absolute tear, hitting .353/.419/.604 with 13 homers and 55 RBIs over the final 63 games. You could almost sense the relief and the comfort that trade brought him, so it came as no surprise when Holliday re-upped with St. Louis for seven years.
That’s the contract that just ended for Holliday. Now at 36, he’s obviously not the catch he was back then. He’s more limited in the field, meaning first base and designated hitter are his best bets to provide maximum value. He’s also not the same hitter, but he’s clearly still valuable enough to make one powerful demand: Anyone and anywhere but Oakland.
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