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.