4. Matt Holliday
While Seth Smith may have had heroic moments in the 2007 postseason, Matt Holliday was the true hero of the Rockies’ ill-fated World Series run. The other crucial difference between him and Seth Smith is that Matt Holliday was phenomenal in the regular season. In his time with the Rockies, Holliday was a 3-time All-Star, 3-time Silver Slugger, a batting champion, NL MVP runner-up, and the 2007 NLCS MVP.
Holliday is on several all-time Rockies’ lists, but this list is not only about the Colorado Rockies, so what did he do for the Oakland Athletics? Well, not much. His trade to the A’s and then subsequent trade from the, are a fascinating set of miscues that I would kick myself for days without going over.
The initial trade for by the A’s during the 2009 offseason seemed ok, Huston Street and two prospects for Matt Holliday. Street would end up being a great pitcher for the Rockies and future All-Star, and one of the prospects ended up being one of the best Colorado Rockies of all-time, Carlos Gonzalez. Oakland struggled in the 2009 season, with only one year of control on Holliday, the A’s traded their shiny new star as a rental to the St. Louis Cardinals for three no-name prospects, all of whom would ultimately go nowhere.
Holliday would help propel the Cardinals into the playoffs in 2009 (along with five other seasons), win the World Series in 2011, earning four more All-Star appearances, and a final Silver Slugger. Carlos Gonzalez would earn three Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, a Batting Title, finish 3rd in the 2010 MVP vote, and appear in 3 All-Star games with the Rockies. Huston Street would end up in two All-Star games.
In total, the Athletics ultimately brought in players with a career WAR of 0.3 and lost players with a monster career WAR of 85.2 netting a total -84.9 WAR. While they have earned not all of that WAR with one of the two franchises involved, it just shows the caliber of players they lost during that half a year, entirely in service of the one, the only, Matt Holliday.