The Holliday-Cardinals Chronology: 2008-2010

Two years of news items covering the long road from the St. Louis Cardinals' first interest in Matt Holliday through the announcement of Tuesday's seven-year contract extension.

As the entire St. Louis Cardinals Nation knows by now, the club has come to terms with free agent outfielder Matt Holliday and his agent Scott Boras on a seven-year, $120 million contract that includes a full no-trade clause and $2 million per year deferred. There is an eighth year that vests at $17 million if Holliday finishes in the top ten in the National League Most Valuable Player Award voting in the seventh year or a $1 million buyout. It is largest contract in team history and potentially longest.


This information comes from Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman, who first broke the story and has shown in the past to be closely linked to information flow from the Boras camp, augmented with data from the AP and Buster Olney of ESPN.


Once Jason Bay recently received a four-year, $66 million contract from the Mets, it established an annual amount target of $16.5 million per year for Boras and Holliday to exceed. With the $17 million per year flat deal, they achieved that without gouging the Cardinals. With the deferred money, the present day annual value actually drops to $16 million, reports the AP.


What leaves the club open to question is the number of years given, either seven or eight. On one hand, $17 million for a 36- or 37-year-old outfielder seems risky. On the other hand, what kind of player will $17 million fetch on the open market in seven years?


For a different perspective on a widely repeated story and for posterity, following is a synopsis of some of the key events of Holliday's story over the last two years and the Cardinals' interest in him over at least the last 18 months, leading up to Tuesday's news. It is by no means complete nor does it necessarily indicate which news source broke each item, but offers a broad view of the various twists and turns.


The Matt Holliday-St. Louis Cardinals Chronology: 2008-2010


1/5/10: Heyman breaks news of finalization of the seven-year, $120 million deal. Holliday appears on ESPN Radio shortly after and confirms.


1/4/10: Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch reports all principals including Holliday (briefly) met over the weekend in Austin, Texas. A deal is close. Could be anywhere between five and eight years.


12/30/09:'s Tracy Ringolsby reports the Orioles offered Holliday eight years, $130 million guaranteed. Multiple sources, including Baltimore GM Andy MacPhail immediately deny the rumor. The story also said the Cardinals offered an eight-year deal that could be worth up to $140 million. The terms finally announced could reach $136 million.


12/29: The Mets, Yankees and Giants reaffirm through various channels they will not pursue Holliday.


12/24: The Boston Herald says the Red Sox have not closed the door on re-engaging with Holliday.


12/22: Yankees GM Brian Cashman tells his club will not go with a high-end left fielder in 2010.


12/21: reports the Red Sox offered Holliday five years, $82.5 million, which was turned down, before giving pitcher John Lackey the same amount.


12/17: reports that Baltimore is interested in Holliday but is not expected to be able to afford him.


12/16: Heyman reports the Mets plan to talk to Holliday because Jason Bay wants six years and they won't go beyond four or perhaps five.


12/15: ESPN's Buster Olney reports the Cardinals plan to stick with their five-year offer.


12/11: The P-D reports the Cardinals have made an offer to Holliday. GM John Mozeliak is said to be expecting a reply within 48 hours and may move on if not resolved by the middle of next week.


12/10: In the big stretch department, the Boston Herald reports Red Sox pitching coach Rick Farrell used to be Holliday's babysitter and coached for his dad at Oklahoma State.


12/9: Agent Scott Boras ties Albert Pujols' Cardinals future to that of Holliday, a claim denied by the first baseman and club.


12/8: The P-D reports a Mozeliak-Boras meeting at the Winter Meetings did not produce an offer.


12/2: The Cardinals offered Holliday arbitration. He declined as expected.


11/30: FOXSports reports the Red Sox now prefer Holliday over Bay.


11/22: reports the Red Sox will only pursue Holliday if they are unable to re-sign Bay.


11/19: quotes Giants GM Brian Sabean as saying he does not expect his team to pursue Bay or Holliday.


11/17: Bill DeWitt, Jr. tells the P-D that the team will compete for Holliday but would not be the highest bidder if a big market team gets involved.


11/17 The LA Times quotes Angels GM Tony Reagins as saying his team was not in the running for Holliday.


11/16 FOXSports quotes a source close to Holliday that he is not inclined to give the Cardinals preferential treatment.


11/10: FOXSports reports the Cardinals chances of retaining Holliday are growing increasingly slim.


11/5: Holliday officially filed for free agency. Strauss reports there have been discussions of a six-year, $96 million deal.


10/21: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the Braves are unlikely to pursue Holliday.


10/21: Boras labels Holliday and Mark Teixeira "blue collar superstars".


10/20: Newsday reports the Mets and Yankees are at the top of Holliday's preference list. Heyman adds the Dodgers, Angels and Giants.


10/09: Holliday's error with two out in the ninth opens the door for the Dodgers to come back to take Game Two of the NLDS. The Cardinals had posted an NL-best .600 regular season record (39-26) after his arrival.


9/24: Heyman reports Holliday will be seeking a deal in the range of Teixeira's eight-year, $180 million deal with the Yankees from the previous winter.


8/28: ESPN's Jayson Stark quotes a rival GM as saying the worst thing the Cardinals could do is re-sign Holliday as it would preclude them from being able to keep Pujols, Chris Carpenter and/or Adam Wainwright once their contracts expire.


7/28: Holliday says he is in no hurry to discuss a long-term contract.


7/24: The Cardinals acquire Holliday and $1.5 million from Oakland for Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen and Shane Peterson. Holliday joins the team in Philadelphia from New York and starts his first game in left field.


7/23: Ken Rosenthal says the Cards only have mild interest in Holliday while Heyman says Tony La Russa really wants the outfielder.


7/16: Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune reports the Cardinals are asking the A's about Holliday.


July: A number of teams are reportedly interested in Holliday, including the Giants, Tigers, Braves and Red Sox.


6/30: Rosenthal says the Cardinals asked Oakland about Holliday before acquiring Mark DeRosa.


1/23/09: The San Francisco Chronicle reports Holliday is working out with Oakland teammate Bobby Crosby under the direction of Mark McGwire. Boras later blames Holliday's early-season hitting troubles on adjustments to Holliday's leg kick that McGwire recommended.


11/11/08: Oakland acquires Holliday from Colorado for Huston Street, Carlos Gonzalez and Greg Smith. Speculation immediately begins about Oakland's interest in trading Holliday prior to free agency.


11/8/08: Rosenthal reports the Cardinals have offered the Rockies Ryan Ludwick, Skip Schumaker and Mitchell Boggs for Holliday.


11/7/08: Matthew Leach of reports the Cardinals are the favorites to acquire Holliday.


11/6/08: Heyman reports the Rockies offered a guaranteed $68 million over four years, plus an option that could bring it to $85 million, and that "isn't half of what Holliday may get as a free agent after 2009". After the trade, Colorado GM Dan O'Dowd said he offered seven years, $107.5 million that past spring.


11/5/08: Holliday says he wants to be part of a winning team, one that can be in the playoffs every year, not one where a perfect storm has to come together, alienating many in Colorado.


11/3/08: The Denver Post reports the Cardinals may be interested in acquiring Holliday via trade. Other teams mentioned include Washington, Tampa Bay, the Angels, the Dodgers, Boston and the Yankees.


10/24/08: Heyman reports the Rockies are shopping Holliday.


7/31/08: Holliday is not traded at the deadline after being linked to a number of teams, including Philadelphia, the Mets, the Angels, Kansas City and the A's among others.


7/1/08: Ringolsby, then with The Rocky Mountain News, mentions the Cardinals' interest in acquiring Holliday. This is the first reference to St. Louis and Holliday I can find.


1/22/08: Regarding a long-term deal with Colorado, Holliday tells the Denver Post. "I am not looking for top years and top dollar. But they have to be in the ballpark."


1/18/08: Holliday and the Rockies agree to a two-year, $23 million contract, avoiding arbitration and covering his final two seasons prior to free agency.




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