JUPITER, Fla. -- Matt Holliday will be the highest-paid player on the Cardinals in 2011, but he's hoping that distinction comes to an end next year.
Holliday told Doug Gottlieb on ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike in the Morning" that he hopes the Cardinals and Albert Pujols come to a new agreement, and that he would be willing to defer some money from his current contract to help the club get a deal done. Holliday made it clear, though, that the club has not approached him about such a possibility. Asked if he would be willing, Holliday said he would.
"I deferred $2 million a year for the whole contract," Holliday told Gottlieb on the show, "and I would be willing, if they came to me and said, 'Hey, this is what it's going to take to get Albert done, would you do it again or do more?' Scott [Boras, Holliday's agent,] probably wouldn't like me to stay that, but if that's what it took, I would be willing to do that."
Reached shortly thereafter, Holliday emphasized to MLB.com that no such suggestion has been broached by the club and said that the discussion was "very hypothetical."
Holliday made no bones about the fact that he'd like to have Pujols back on the club beyond 2011, but also seemed to hint that Pujols might have to compromise a bit as well.
"Obviously he's an unbelievable player and deserves every dollar that he gets," Holliday said. "I'm a big supporter, and I think that he's the best player in baseball. But at the same time, we've got to be able to have a good team around him, and I think he knows that. So I just hope that they can work something out."
Holliday's deal runs through 2016 at $17 million per season. Pujols is in the final season of a deal he signed in '04, and he will receive $16 million in '11. Pujols' agent, Dan Lozano, has told the Cardinals that he will cut off negotiations once Pujols reaches Spring Training, which reportedly will be on Wednesday.
It's difficult to envision a deal being made or broken based on the relatively small amount that Holliday might defer, especially in the first five years of a deal. Reports have indicated that the greater hangup between the two sides is the duration of a contract, rather than the average annual value.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.