There is increased optimism within the St. Louis Cardinals organization that the team is going to reach a deal with free-agent outfielder Matt Holliday, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney on Tuesday.
Scott Boras, the agent who represents Holliday, has been doubling back to teams that had previously touched base on the outfielder, citing a possible salary figure of $18 million. Boras is believed to have an offer in excess of $100 million from the Cardinals, and club officials with other teams sense he is shopping that offer.
Outfielder Jason Bay reached agreement on a four-year, guaranteed $66 million contract with the New York Mets, pending a physical. If Holliday were to finalize a six-year or seven-year offer for about $17 million a year with the Cardinals, he would sign for a package in the range of $102 million to $119 million, the largest contract of this offseason.
Earlier this offseason, the Red Sox offered Holliday a five-year, $82.5 million contract, but sources say Boston's offer was rejected. The Red Sox then used that money to sign veteran right-handed starter John Lackey.
Holliday is a three-time All-Star who batted .313 with 24 home runs and 109 RBIs splitting the 2009 season between the Cardinals and Oakland Athletics. He is a career .318 hitter in six seasons.
Buster Olney covers Major League Baseball for ESPN The Magazine.