Cardinals up ante in Holliday derby

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The St. Louis Cardinals have offered free agent outfielder Matt Holliday a contract for at least six years and presumably $100 million or more in hopes of retaining the 29-year-old outfielder.

This Cardinals offer, which is believed to have been made at some point in the past couple weeks, was not accepted.

Baseball executives view the Cardinals as the favorite to sign Holliday, but there are said to be multiple teams still bidding on his services. The New York Mets dropped out of the running when they reached a guaranteed $66 million, four-year deal with outfielder Jason Bay, but at least the Baltimore Orioles are interested.

"The Orioles are laying in the weeds on this," according to a person familiar with Baltimore's thinking.

Holliday's agent Scott Boras has been seeking an eight-year deal for Holliday, and is believed to want something in excess of $20 million a year in the winter after Mark Teixeira signed for $180 million over eight years.

A report that the Orioles offered Holliday $130 million over eight years was denied by Orioles president/GM Andy MacPhail in The Baltimore Sun. However, MacPhail did not deny interest in the three-time All-Star who hit .313 with 24 home runs and 109 RBIs last season with the Oakland A's and Cardinals.

The Boston Red Sox have also shown interest in Holliday this winter, but after acquiring Mike Cameron it isn't know what their involvement is. The San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves are looking for offense, but it isn't known whether either might enter this derby.