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DeWitt said Cards optimistic about Holliday

Despite the perception that Matt Holliday's exit is a forgone conclusion, Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. told Fox sports he is hopeful things will work out in the Birds' favor.

DeWitt insists the Cardinals will make a competitive, good faith bid and that Holliday remains the team's top free agent priority.

According to Fox:

Once the free agent market opens in earnest Friday, we could learn quickly whether the Cardinals will be able to make a competitive bid to keep free agent slugger Matt Holliday.

Holliday is expected to draw widespread interest, and a number of teams with payrolls larger than that of the Cardinals are likely to be involved.

For now, though, club president Bill DeWitt III remains optimistic.

"Like any club, you have to set your budget and make sure you live within it," DeWitt said in a telephone interview with "As it relates to Matt, we have an internal sense of what we can do. Hopefully, he'll view that as enough.

"The process has to play itself out. There's no point in getting into the posturing that seems to be going on out there a little. We're trying to keep him. We love Matt. We're trying to get him signed. If not, we'll move on to a Plan B."

The Cardinals began this season with an $88.5 million payroll, according to USA Today salary data, before that figure increased with the acquisitions of Holliday and Mark De Rosa.

DeWitt said he's not certain yet what the team's 2010 payroll will be. But he added that the Cardinals' revenue and payroll each tend to rank around No. 10 in the major leagues.