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.

Brett Lawrie will take a pay cut to avoid arbitration with White Sox

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 12: Brett Lawrie #15 of the Chicago White Sox fields a ground ball during batting practice before the start of the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 12, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
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Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.

The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.

Cubs sign LHP Brian Duensing to a one-year, $2 million deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Brian Duensing #50 of the Baltimore Orioles throws a pitch in the eleventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.

The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.