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According to multiple sources, the Colorado Rockies have agreed, in principle, to deal slugger Matt Holliday to the Oakland Athletics. In return, Colorado would get starting pitcher Greg Smith, closer Houston Street, and outfield Carlos Gonzalez. 20081110__78877438ed074_79th_mlb_all_p1_200

The deal is pending a physical, and is “still a work in progress” according to sources with close to the situation.

Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said of the trade: “It leaves a big hole and we are going to lose a lot.

He’s one of the best players in the league and by far the best player on our team.”

First baseman Todd Helton, too, said the team lost one of the league’s best.

“He’s a great player and a game-changer,” Helton said. “So of course we’re going to miss him.”

So,  with this trade, one of the winter’s biggest off season prizes has officially been taken off the market. It seemed inevitable the Rockies would trade Holliday, especially after he rejected a reported four-year $72 million contract extension. Teams thought to be in the running for Holliday included the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, and St. Louis Cardinals.

The fact that Oakland was able to sneak in under the radar and rein in such a precious jewel is not surprising. Oakland GM Billy Beane is know for his ability to evaluate top notch talent, and when he finds a player he wants, he usually pulls the trigger. Losing a number of expensive free-agents over the years, while rebuilding the core of the team through young players with cheap contracts allows Beane and the Athletics a chance to make a splash in the open market this winter.

And boy did he ever make a splash.

The good news for Red Sox fans, Holliday is not going to the Yankees. The good news for super-agent/the devil himself Scott Boras, his client (Mark Texiera) just lost some competition to teams looking for a power hitting outfielder.Texiera was going to get paid either way, but now teams such as Boston or both New York teams have one less option in the power hitting market, making Texiera priority number one.

So with today’s move, the hot stove season can officially begin. Oakland started the action, showing they mean business this year. Rebuilding or not, they just made their team a lot better today.

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