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Cardinals acquire Matt Holliday


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The Cardinals have acquired outfielder Matt Holliday from the A's, CBSSports.com has confirmed.

Infielder Brett Wallace, a Northern California native who was St. Louis' top draft pick in 2008, is the key piece going back to Oakland. The A's will also receive two other minor leaguers, outfielder Shane Peterson and right-hander Clayton Mortenson, and Oakland will send $1.5 million to St. Louis to pay part of Holliday's $13.5 million salary.

Holliday should be a major shot in the arm for a Cardinals team that is already in first place in the National League Central. The Cards have been looking forever for a hitter to bat behind Albert Pujols, and Holliday is the biggest hitter available on this July's trading market.

Holliday, who the A's acquired last fall from Colorado, got off to a slow start in the American League, but is hitting .338 with 14 RBIs in 18 games in July, and even better (.387 with three home runs and 11 RBIs in eight games) since the All-Star break. His recent hot streak has helped convince scouts that he is not simply a Coors Field hitter.

"If you see Matt Holliday play, it doesn't matter if he's playing in a park with no fence, because he'd still hit it," said one scout who sees the A's often.

Holliday makes $13.5 million this year, and he's eligible for free agency at the end of the season. With Scott Boras as his agent, it's very unlikely that he would sign a contract extension before filing for free agency. The Cardinals haven't been shy about acquiring free-agents-to-be, in part because they believe that once players are exposed to the baseball environment at Busch Stadium, they'll be more likely to want to stay.

The A's had been looking for a young third baseman in a Holliday deal, and Wallace has played third base in the minor leagues for the Cardinals. Some scouts, however, see him as more of a first baseman. He began the season at Double-A Springfield, then moved to Triple-A Memphis, where he has hit .293 with six home runs and 19 RBIs in 62 games.

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