Report: Holliday-Cards talks intensify

Updated: December 16, 2009, 3:27 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The St. Louis Cardinals apparently are taking another swing at signing free-agent slugger Matt Holliday.

Holliday
Holliday

The Cardinals have tweaked their standing offer for the outfielder, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. While the newspaper reported the Cardinals' proposal is worth around $16 million a season, the team is hoping to sweeten the deal with a longer-term contract. The guaranteed years could be for as many as eight seasons, according to the newspaper.

While Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak would not go into detail about what was said, he did tell the Post-Dispatch that the renewed talks with agent Scott Boras were a good sign.

"He's still a player we like very much and hope to retain," Mozeliak said.

A baseball source familiar with the negotiations told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick that "nothing is imminent" between Holliday and the Cardinals. Boras and his star client "are still looking for something that they're not finding," the source said.

Boras has consistently compared Holliday's skills to those of first baseman Mark Teixeira, who signed an eight-year, $180 million contract with the New York Yankees last winter. But at the winter meetings in Indianapolis last week, Boras declined to say whether Holliday is seeking a contract similar to Teixeira's.

The market for Holliday remains in a state of flux. Boston, one potential landing spot, dropped out of contention Monday by agreeing to free-agent contracts with pitcher John Lackey and outfielder Mike Cameron. The Mets reportedly are moving along in their discussions with outfielder Jason Bay. San Francisco and Anaheim, two other possibilities, have publicly downplayed or refuted interest in Holliday.

Barring the emergence of a "mystery team," it would appear to leave Seattle as one of the few viable alternatives for Holliday. The Mariners are also actively engaged in a pursuit of Bay, who hit 36 home runs and drove in 119 runs for Boston last season.

Sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney that the Yankees, who are in the market for a left fielder, are not pursuing Holliday at all and cannot foresee a situation in which they would get involved.

The Cardinals initially made an offer to Holliday before leaving the winter meetings in Indianapolis. A source told the Post-Dispatch that the offer did not average $18 million annually, which is the number that Holliday rejected when he was with the Colorado Rockies in 2008.

Holliday, 29, is a three-time All-Star. He was also the 2007 National League MVP runner-up.

Jerry Crasnick covers Major League Baseball for ESPN.com and ESPN Insider.

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