JUPITER, Fla. • A little more than 13 months removed from signing the largest contract in Cardinals history, outfielder Matt Holliday said Friday he would defer some of his salary if the club needed it to sign Albert Pujols to an even larger deal.
Holliday was on ESPN's "Mike and Mike in the Morning," and the left fielder was asked by a guest host, his friend Doug Gottlieb, about whether he'd defer an additional portion of his paycheck to help Pujols fit into the Cardinals' budget.
"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 would you do more?'" Holliday told the show, which aired in St. Louis on WXOS (101.1 FM). "Scott (Boras) wouldn't like me to say that. But if that's what it took, I would be willing to do that."
Holliday later explained to the Post-Dispatch that the team has not approached him about revisiting his contract to make additional salary space for Pujols. Holliday wrote in a text message that he answered the hypothetical question honestly but doubts an agreement with Pujols would hinge on his willingness to defer additional salary.
The Cardinals and Pujols' agent, Dan Lozano, remain in discussions about an extension that will keep the three-time MVP from becoming a free agent at the end of this season. Pujols is entering the final year of a contract that paid him a total of $111 million over the previous eight years. Pujols instructed the team that he did not want negotiations to pollute spring training, setting his arrival at the campus in Jupiter as a deadline. He's expected to work out Wednesday but could report as early as Tuesday.
Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. has said he doesn't see the deadline as a hard stop to talks if there's momentum for a deal to be done this spring.
Both sides are declining public comment.
General manager John Mozeliak is scheduled to arrive today in Jupiter. Pitchers and catchers have their first official workout Monday. Position players are scheduled to report Feb. 18, with the first full-squad practice coming Feb. 19.
At the Winter Warm-Up, Holliday expressed his hope that the Cardinals could complete a deal with Pujols before the start of the season. He has said that he hopes they "finish their careers together" as Cardinals. Holliday is entering the second year of his $120 million, seven-year deal with the Cardinals. He is deferring $2 million of his annual salary each year to be paid after the contract's expiration. Holliday's contract lasts through 2016. Pujols is known to be looking for a deal that extends well beyond that, limiting the relief the Cardinals would get from restructuring Holliday's deal.
Pujols' current contract also includes deferred salary.
"Obviously he's an unbelievable player and deserves every dollar that he gets," Holliday told the radio show. "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."
EDMONDS AWAITS PHYSICAL
Outfielder Jim Edmonds and the Cardinals have not yet scheduled the physical he needs to pass to finalize his minor-league contract with the club. Mozeliak said the agreement was "open-ended" to allow Edmonds time to recover from foot surgery before taking the physical. The hope is to have it completed next week. Edmonds, an engine behind the Cardinals' pennant-winning teams last decade, is seven homers shy of 400 and has the opportunity to win a job on the bench.
Catcher Yadier Molina reported to the Cardinals' spring training complex on Friday, three days before the official workouts for pitchers and catchers. ... The Cardinals are not fielding a team in the Venezuelan Summer League this season, citing crime and overall safety as some of the reasons for moving their prospects from that team to the Dominican Summer League and the club's facility in the Dominican Republic.