Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Notes: Boras Praises Holliday's Versatility

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Notes: Boras Praises Holliday's Versatility

Article excerpt

LOS ANGELES * From his seats behind home plate at Dodger Stadium, agent Scott Boras saw in person Sunday what he helped put in motion this past spring and what he could take into the market this coming offseason: Matt Holliday, first baseman.

"My attitude is you compete against the game; so when the game tries to pigeonhole you, let's figure out if we're using all our athletic skill," Boras said while watching the first inning of Sunday's game. "So he went on this very strict diet. Best shape of his career. He's athletic. This is another option for the manager, and he now has versatility as an asset. There's not a requirement where he plays in the field.

"He can play there (left field) and play there (first) and you've got a two-position player," Boras continued, "one who before in the other league would maybe be a DH alone."

Interested in stacking righthanded batters against Dodgers lefty Alex Wood, manager Mike Matheny started Holliday at first for the first time in a month. The Cardinals exited spring expecting to start Holliday more often at that position, but injuries to and power from other players have limited Holliday's innings at first, and he had not been there in a game since April 15. He's there almost every day during batting practice.

Holliday routinely takes groundballs at first and works on plays there during batting practice. On Sunday, the Cardinals did not take batting practice, but a handful of players did take infield. Holliday and four coaches were on the field for about 40 minutes going through a progression of drills. Holliday worked on grounders to him and flips to the pitcher covering first base. Coach Chris Maloney hit fungoes to him from second base to simulate bad throws.

And, at one point, Matheny and bench coach David Bell moved around the diamond making throws from various position that short- hopped to Holliday at first.

Holliday saw first base as a challenge and a way to extend his career.

Boras said Holliday has shown enough for him to be marketed as a first baseman if he reaches free agency at the end of this season.

"I talked to scouts, and people there, they just need to see it," the agent said. "Believe me, when a club is playing you at the major league level, that's like the gold standard. It's not trial and error. You don't do it unless you really know the player is efficient at it because the games are so meaningful."

The Cardinals and Boras have not had any substantive conversations about Holliday's option or an extension to replace it. Both Holliday and Cardinals management have expressed mutual interest in having the 36-year-old All-Star finish his career with the Cardinals. The team has a $17 million option for 2017. Adrian Beltre, another Boras client, had a contract that expired at the end of this season, but he and the Rangers recently agreed to a two- year, $36 million extension a week after his 37th birthday. …

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