Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Holliday activated, homers in what is likely his Cardinals farewell weekend

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. LOUIS — If Matt Holliday's return on Friday night was his final appearance with the Cardinals, he made it one to remember.

Holliday connected for his first career pinch-hit homer after he was activated from the disabled list before the series opener against Pittsburgh, giving the veteran outfielder an opportunity to get back on the field with his future in St. Louis in doubt.

Holliday, who broke his left thumb when he was hit by a pitch Aug. 11, asked the club to activate him Friday to make what could be his farewell appearance in a Cardinals uniform. The Cardinals are not planning to pick up their $17 million option on his contract for 2017.

"Matt had reached out to me earlier in the week to have an understanding of what we're going to do with his option. I told him the probability of us picking it up is low," general manager John Mozeliak said.

"It's been 71/2 great seasons, Matt has been an amazing teammate and we've had a lot of success. He is grateful for being a part of the Cardinals the past 71/2 years and he wants to express his thank you to the fans."

Holliday appeared to wipe away tears when he received a standing ovation before stepping into the batter's box in the seventh inning of St. Louis' 7-0 victory. After he drove an 0-and-2 fastball into the right-field bullpen, the crowd at Busch Stadium gave him another standing ovation that brought Holliday to the top of the dugout steps for a curtain call.

Holliday signed a $120 million, seven-year contract after the 2010 season that remains the largest in Cardinals history. If the team declines to exercise his option, he would receive a $1 million buyout.

"While I'm disappointed this could be it here in St. Louis, I understand that it might be time to move on," Holliday said in a statement. "It has been an honor to play in front of such great fans and for such a historic organization. I can honestly say it has been a dream come true."

Holliday helped St. Louis win the 2011 World Series, the 2013 National League pennant and reach the playoffs the past five seasons.

He was hitting .242 with 19 home runs this season before he got hurt. Mozeliak did not rule out the possibility of negotiating a new deal with Holliday after the season.

"Saying there is no chance that he's coming back, I'm not prepared to do that," Mozeliak said. "We haven't had our offseason meetings. We have an understanding of what we want to see happen but those kinds of conversations are done at season's end."

The Cardinals entered Friday's game against Pittsburgh trailing the Giants by one game for the National League's second wild card.

Matheny also said right-hander Michael Wacha would start Saturday against Pittsburgh.

Comments
Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Happy Turkey Day!Thursday is a day of tradition.Macy’s Day Parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.And our annual "Turkey of the Year.’’It’s a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the brilliant columnis...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

When the Rays acquired INF Matt Duffy from the Giants during the 2016 season, we also heard about the giant and somewhat famous cat he had, an up-to-27-pounder named Skeeter.Duffy announced over the weekend on Instagram that the family had to have Sk...
Published: 11/21/17
Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

ST. PETERSBURG — That the Rays went right up to Monday’s 8 p.m. deadline in deciding to add seven players to the 40-man roster, and that a couple they left off seem to be potential Rule 5 draft losses, was apparently a good thing."There’s always some...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
UPDATE: RHP Brent Honeywell among 7 added to Rays 40-man roster

UPDATE: RHP Brent Honeywell among 7 added to Rays 40-man roster

UPDATE, 8:11: RHP Jose Mujica was an additional addition to the roster, beyond the six previously reported. Mujica, 21, was 14-8, 3.04 ERA in 27 starts between Class-A Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery.So among those left unprotected and potentially ...
Published: 11/20/17
Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff among newcomers to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff among newcomers to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Aubrey Huff isn't going to make the Baseball Hall of Fame.But at least the former Devil Rays standout has the satisfaction of making the cut to get onto the ballot, one of 19 first-timers up for election this year.Other newcomers with Rays ties are O...
Published: 11/20/17
Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

After collecting intelligence at last week’s GM meetings, the Rays soon will launch their offseason mission of trading at least a couple of veterans to reduce payroll.The question is how far they will go — how many players they deal, and how big of n...
Published: 11/18/17
Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

The Rays completed the reorganization of their coaching staff by giving Rocco Baldelli the title of major league field coordinator.In being promoted from first-base coach, Baldelli will implement ideas and information from the staff, while assisting ...
Published: 11/17/17
Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays were banking on pitcher Alex Cobb declining their one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer based on the lure of a longer-term and more lucrative deal elsewhere as a free agent.With that decision official Thursday, now the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

LAKE BUENA VISTA — MLB commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t want to talk Thursday about what might happen if the current effort to build the Rays a new stadium at the Ybor City site falls through."I’m more focused on working with the community to figure o...
Published: 11/16/17
A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

Here is a message from RHP Alex Cobb after he officially left the Rays Thursday in declining their one-year, $17.4-milllion qualifying offer to seek a bigger and longer pact elsewhere:"Getting to this point in my career is truly bittersweet."Twelve y...
Published: 11/16/17