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Cardinals Complete Trade For Matt Holliday

According to Buster Olney of ESPN The Magazine the St. Louis Cardinals have completed a trade for A's slugger Matt Holliday

The Cardinals acquired Holliday in exchange for third base prospect Brett Wallace, outfielder Shane Peterson and right-hander Clayton Mortensen.

Wallace, the Cardinals 2008 first round draft pick currently plays for their Triple-A affiliate Memphis. The former Sun Devil is widely considered one of the top prospects in the Cardinal organization. John Sickels of Minor League Ball ranks him as the second best prospect in the Cardinals system. Furthermore, Sickels said Wallace has a "Monster bat and should be ready within a year."

Wallace has been performing very well at the Class-AAA level. He's currently batting .293 with six homers and 19 RBI's in only 32 games.

Mortensen, also a member of the Cardinals Triple-A affiliate Memphis, was the teams 2007 first round draft pick (36th overall). He's a big right-hander (6'4") who has had a pretty solid year in Class-AAA. Mortenson is 7-6 with a 4.32 ERA in 17 games started. Sickels grades Mortensen as a C+ and ranks him the Cardinals 17th best prospect. He also said the following about him "Gets grounders, could be an inning-eater, but strikes me as overrated by some other sources."

Unlike the other two Peterson isn't a member of Triple-A Memphis, rather he plays for the Cardinals Double-A affiliate Springfield. Peterson was selected by the Cardinals out of Cal State Long Beach in the second round (59th overall) of the 2008 Draft. Sickels also grades him as a C+ and has him rated the Cardinals 23rd overall best prospect. Sickels says he's a "High OBP college guy with gap power, but not many homers." Looking at the numbers it looks like John is fairly accurate. Peterson spent the first-half of his season playing for the Palm Beach County Cardinals (Single-A) where he hit .298 with six homers and 39 RBI's in 285 at-bats. He also posted a .367 OBP, and stole 10 bases in 11 attempts. Now in Double-A Peterson is batting .284 with one homer and seven RBI's in 74 at-bats.

As we've said here before Holliday is having a bit of a down year this season. He's only batting .287 with 11 homers and 54 RBI's. However, Holliday has been playing better as of late, he's hitting .344 this month with a .421 on-base percentage.

Holliday is a huge addition for the Cardinals who finally found someone to protect Albert Pujols in the lineup. With the addition of Holliday and Mark DeRosa the Cardinals are starting to round out a very formidable lineup.

In terms of money Holliday is in the midst of a one-year $13.5 million deal, and will be owed approximately $6 million for the remainder of the season, however, Olney notes that the A's will throw in about $1.5 million. He's due to be a free agent at seasons end, and likely will command a big payday.

The Cardinals are currently 52-46 and have a 1-½ lead over the Cubs and Astros in the NL Central. With the addition of Holliday the Cardinals not only catapulted to the favorite in the NL Central, but rather they might be the favorite to win the NL. We'll have to see if this move entices the Phillies or Dodgers to go out and make a splash as well. Maybe Roy Halladay?