Or maybe the two deals look like they're $27m apart considered at large, but Price and his agent are more focused on what happens before the opt out.Only way it makes sense to me is the former. I imagine that both the 190 and 200 figures were steps in the negotiations. The Sox were always planning to cap out around 217, give or take, but wanted to get it done, so they said ok, here's the real offer, take it or we're moving on to Greinke.
I don't think anyone smart enough to get a high profile major league GM position is dumb enough to Bugs Bunny themselves into paying more for something they've already won. If you want to use the eBay example upthread, I see it more like 190 and 200 as being under the reserve, and the 217 is the buy it now price.
Maybe the Cardinals offer had a different opt out structure that was they didn't like as much.