Sources: Holliday sets price point for contract talks

Free agent outfielder Matt Holliday is intent on signing a contract that exceeds the $18 million average salary of a four-year offer he rejected from the Rockies during the 2008 season, according to major-league sources.


While there were earlier reports that St. Louis has declined to go beyond five years in its guarantee to Holliday, major-league sources indicated on Tuesday that the Cardinals had made a proposal that could reach $140 million over eight years. That is an annual average of $17.5 million, just shy of Holliday's target.


Holliday has indicated an interest if the term is reduced to seven years, the sources said. On a seven-year deal, he would want the total value to exceed the $119 million that Carlos Beltran received after the 2004 season in his seven-year, free-agent contract with the Mets.


An average salary of $17.5 million over seven years would put Holliday at $122.5 million. An average salary of $18 million would put him at $126 million.


Baltimore, meanwhile, did make an eight-year, $130 million offer to Holliday, and general manager Andy MacPhail did discuss the possibility of arranging a meeting between himself, Orioles owner Peter Angelos and Holliday in Austin, Tex., where Holliday is living in the offseason.


Boras was not available for comment and has declined requests to discuss negotiations.


In addition to using the Rockies’ offer as a baseline in his negotiations, Holliday now also has the four-year, $66 million deal that Jason Bay signed with the Mets to use in his contract talks. Bay was considered the second-best offensive player, behind Holliday, available on the free agent market. In addition to the $16.5 million average in his guarantee, Bay’s deal will include an easily attainable vesting option for a fifth year worth more than $14 million, sources say.

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