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Posted: Wednesday November 11, 2009 12:47PM; Updated: Wednesday November 11, 2009 1:26PM
Jon Heyman

Versatile Figgins drawing plenty of interest (cont.)

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Mixed signals from Mets' Holliday meeting

Matt Holliday
Matt Holliday hit .313 with 24 homers and 109 RBIs for the A's and Cardinals in 2009.
Aaron M. Sprecher/Icon SMI

People who have spoken to Minaya suggest he is extremely interested in Holliday, who some Mets people see as the perfect middle-of-the-order and clubhouse presence they need to try to turn things around.

Minaya has never shied away from the high-priced star player. Mets people clearly prefer Holliday to Bay and the Mets seem like a logical landing spot for Holliday (others include the Giants, Cubs, Braves, Yankees, Red Sox, Mariners and incumbent Cardinals) since they were the only team not to hit 100 home runs in '09 and have a gaping hole in left field. Yet, there are mixed signals about how aggressive they'll be in pursuing Holliday.

While Minaya appears to be a major fan of Holliday, there are issues, such as:

1) There's a question as to whether the Mets have the appetite for another $100 million deal.

2) There's a school of thought within their organization they might be better off spreading the money around to fill all their needs (the others include starting pitcher, catcher and perhaps second base -- if they can unload Luis Castillo's contract).

3) There's also some question as to whether it's all Minaya's call at this point. If he ever had "full autonomy," that's gone now, following the team's dreadful season.

While he was in his 45-minute meeting with Boras, Minaya also discussed a few other Boras clients who are free agents, including Jarrod Washburn (the Brewers and Mariners are favorites there), Rick Ankiel and their own Alex Cora, who they love for the utility role.

This looks like it'll be one expensive Holliday

Boras met with the press to explain 1) how great Holliday is; and 2) how much money baseball teams have.

On the second point, Boras pointed out that MLB's revenues are up from $1 billion in 1990 to about $6.5 billion, or in Boras' words, "(nearly) 600 percent."

On the first point, Boras declined to get into a debate over who's better between Holliday and Bay, refusing again to get into a war of words with Bay's agent, Joe Urbon, who has famously called Bay "the most complete player on the market." Boras couldn't resist noting that he believes Holliday is a "complete" player, though.

One highlight in Boras' annual lobby press conference came when he was asked about his own comparison of Holliday to Mark Teixeira and whether that meant he believes Holliday should also receive $180 million. To that, Boras responded, "I don't want to put any ceilings on (Holliday)," inspiring a few snickers from reporters (though Boras maintained a straight face).

Another highlight came when a St. Louis writer asked about the pursuit of big stars by mid-market franchises, and Boras said that he doesn't believe in the term "mid-market" to describe baseball franchises. "Baseball franchises are like aircraft carries ... there's no such thing as a medium-sized aircraft carrier."

Boras then went on to recite all of the ways the Cardinals are big money makers, including the 3.3 million fans they drew.

Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said he realistically expects the Holliday negotiations to take a long while, and that they are willing to wait it out. Mozeliak said they don't fear losing other opportunities while waiting on Holiday -- not in the near-term, anyway. He pointed out how late significant things happened last winter.

Mozeliak confirmed Boras' contention that the Cardinals had yet to make an offer -- which came in response to a blog item in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that they were considering the "framework" of a $96 million, six-year deal. Mozeliak also said he hoped to meet here with Boras. It isn't known whether the Cardinals intend to deliver an offer then, but they appear to be willing to be patient here in hopes the market doesn't go where Boras hopes.

Teixeira's contract aside, one big issue for the Cardinals (and maybe many teams) is expected to be the $136 million deal Alfonso Soriano signed three years ago. It's hard to say Soriano is a better player than Holliday. But one GM said, "Soriano is one of the five worst contracts in baseball," suggesting that any team accepting use of it as a comp for anyone would be foolhardy.

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