Next, Miguel Batista?

The I-70 rivalry continues with the Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals in hot pursuit of free-agent right-hander Miguel Batista.

The Kansas City Royals have reportedly offered Batista $24 million for three years and while the Cardinals have expressed an interest in Batista's services, it remains to be seen, if St. Louis will offer a similar three year deal for the 35-year-old right-hander.

Batista's versatility as either a starter or a closer makes him an attractive pickup from the second-tier of pitchers on the free-agent market. Its been reported that as many as 14 or 15 teams, may be interested in the veteran right-hander as the Winter Meetings come to a close this week.

With this many teams competing for his services, Batista could expect to have more than one similar three-year offers, ranging from $20 million to $25 million to choose from before it's all over.

Batista, posted a 11-8 record with a 4.58 ERA for the Diamondbacks this past season with Arizona offering him arbitration. Considering he's already has multiple multi-year contract offers on the table, he's unlikely to agree to return to Arizona for just one season, meaning he's going to sign with someone soon.

The Cardinals spurned by Jason Schmidt, who has a tentative deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, were making a push for Batista late on Wednesday.

Looking for starting pitching, by signing Batista, the Cardinals would protect themselves against the possible loss of one of their two free-agent right-handers, starters Jeff Suppan and Jeff Weaver.

I wouldn't be surprised to see the Cardinals, who have had a standing three-year offer to Batista, for an undisclosed amount, actually matching the Royals offer by the end of the week.

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