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Holliday near $98.5-million, six-year deal with Birds?

The Cardinals are near finalization of a contract with slugger Matt Holliday for $98.5 million, according to a report by Jim Bowden IV of Sirius Satellite Radio's MLB Home Plate channel.

The length of the supposed deal was not reported. But it would likely be for six seasons at about $16.42 million a year on average. Holliday was said to want $18 million or more a year, but with the Redbirds said to be the only bidder, it's the only span that makes sense mathwise. Five years, that would work out to $19.7 million a season and it is highly unlikely the Birds would pay that much.

If the report is true, it's a great deal for the Cardinals who some said would have to pay $140 million over eight years to keep the slugging left fielder in the cleanup spot of the batting order behind Albert Pujols. Holliday was said to be willing to take a somewhat smaller annual salary for a longer term. So if St. Louis signs him for less than seven years and less than $100 million over the course of the contract, it would seem to be a relative steal.

The Cardinals have been said to be nearing take it or leave it time for Holliday. They have been patient as Mark DeRosa defected to the Giants and other potential replacements have cozied up to other clubs. Manager Tony La Russa posted on Twitter over the weekend that the team would likely make a big announcement sometime very soon.