SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Star outfielder Matt Holliday appears headed to the Oakland Athletics in a surprising move for a franchise known more for shedding stars than adding them.
Two people familiar with the proposed deal said Monday the A’s and the Colorado Rockies have reached a tentative agreement. Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade had not been finalized and details were still in the works.
It was unclear whom Colorado would get for the two-time All-Star. One of the people said reliever Huston Street, lefty starter Greg Smith and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez were among the players who had been discussed in recent days.
Holliday, MVP of the 2007 NL championship series, is due to make $13.5 million next season and then will be eligible to become a free agent.
He was scheduled to have a physical today, one of the people said. The big-hitting left fielder unexpectedly dropped in on the general managers’ meetings last week in Dana Point, Calif.
The tentative trade was earlier reported by SI.com and ESPN.com.
Oakland owner Lew Wolff, attending a regional luncheon of Associated Press Sports Editors, wouldn’t confirm or deny a trade but said he had already spoken with general manager Billy Beane three times on Monday.
“Billy’s doing different things right now,” Wolff said.
The 28-year-old Holliday, playing half his games at Coors Field, has 128 homers and 483 RBI in five big league seasons. His best year was 2007, when he won the NL batting title with a .340 average and had 36 homers and a league-best 137 RBIs in helping the Rockies reach the World Series. He was runner-up to Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins for NL MVP.
Oakland was last in the majors leagues with a .242 batting average this season and last in the AL with 646 runs.
“If we can bring a little bit of hitting talent to our current team I think the pitchers won’t get as frustrated as they were late in the season,” Wolff told the gathering of sports editors. “You’re always rebuilding and regenerating. It’s fun. We want to win. I want to win. We’re going to try to be there again if we can.”
The A’s used eight starters in left field and finished 75-86, their worst record since 1998. Oakland advanced to the AL championship series in 2006 before being swept by the Detroit Tigers.
Street, a 25-year-old right-hander, lost his job as Oakland’s closer during season and finished 7-5 with a 3.73 ERA and 18 saves in 25 chances. He joins a bullpen that includes Manny Corpas and saw closer Brian Fuentes become a free agent. Street can become free agent after the 2010 season.
Smith, 24, went 7-16 with a 4.16 ERA in 32 starts during his first major league season. Gonzalez, 23, was also in his first big league season and hit .242 with four homers and 26 RBI in 302 at-bats.
The A’s are known for making big trades, cutting payroll during a rebuilding process that Beane is committed to at all levels in the organization. Gonzalez and Smith were among the six players Oakland acquired last winter when it traded ace and All-Star Dan Haren to Arizona.
Back in January 2001, the A’s acquired Johnny Damon from the Kansas City Royals in a three-team, nine-player deal — and this might be the club’s closest thing since then to the magnitude of that blockbuster move.
Oakland has watched Damon, Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada and the Big Three pitchers of Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito depart for big money elsewhere. Yet there is thought Giambi, now a free agent, could be back in Oakland this offseason.