UPDATE: Cards reportedly offer Holliday 8-year deal

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UPDATE: MLB.com is reporting that the Cardinals have offered Matt Holliday an 8-year contract for about $16 million per season.

The story also speculates that if a mystery team were to enter the Holliday mix it could be the Seattle Mariners.

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ESPN’s Buster Olney is reporting that the St. Louis Cardinals are becoming increasingly optimistic that they can sign outfielder Matt Holliday. And rightly so.

After Holliday rejected early offers from both the Cardinals (reportedly five years, $80 million) and Red Sox (five year, $82.5 million), the market has dried up.

The Red Sox gave their money to John Lackey and Mike Cameron and are now flirting with Adrian Beltre. The Yankees have said they’re standing pat. Another potential big spender, the Mets, just reached a deal with Jason Bay.

Olney writes that Boras is now “doubling back to teams that had previously expressed interest in Holliday,” and that the asking price is dropping.

There had been talk earlier in the offseason that Holliday was seeking a deal in excess of $100 million over five years, but his price has been coming down markedly. The Bay signing averages $16.5 million per season, and sources say Holliday’s representatives are now asking teams for about $18 million a year.

There is no doubt Holliday is a great hitter and a solid defender (never mind his playoff gaffe). As Aaron wrote earlier, he’s a better all-around player than Bay. At the new asking price, I wonder if some new teams might jump into the mix, especially NL teams tired of being terrorized by Holliday over the last six years.

Follow me on Twitter at @bharks.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.

David Price’s season debut could be pushed back to May

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David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.

Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.

The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.