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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 5, 2010

MLB: Matt Holliday, Cardinals agree to $120M deal


RONALD BLUM
AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK Matt Holliday is staying with the St. Louis Cardinals, agreeing Tuesday to a $120 million, seven-year contract that is baseball's richest deal of the offseason.

The Cardinals announced Tuesday they had agreed with Holliday on a multiyear contract subject to a physical. The team said a formal announcement was likely by Thursday.

The outfielder's agreement includes $119 million guaranteed over seven seasons plus a $17 million vesting option for 2017 with a $1 million buyout, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team didn't reveal the length of the contract or financial details.

St. Louis acquired Holliday from Oakland in July and he helped lead the Cardinals to their first NL Central title since 2006.

Holliday's agreement is much bigger than the other two big free-agent deals of the offseason: pitcher John Lackey's $82.5 million, five-year contract with Boston and outfielder Jason Bay's $66 million, four-year contract with the New York Mets, which was finalized earlier Tuesday.

Holliday's contract contains deferred money that lowers its annual present-day value to about $16 million.

It also likely sets a floor for negotiations between the Cardinals and star first baseman Albert Pujols, who is entering the final guaranteed season of a $100 million, seven-year contract. St. Louis holds a $16 million option for 2011 on the three-time NL MVP.

St. Louis becomes only the third team with a pair of $100 million players, joining the New York Yankees (Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia) and the New York Mets (Johan Santana and Carlos Beltran).