The Yankees have some competition located about 3,000 miles west.
According to ESPN.com’s Wallace Matthews, the Mariners have emerged as “major players” for free-agent second baseman Robinson Cano.
It’s been speculated that Seattle wants to make a splash this offseason, and landing Cano, who is considered the best free agent available, would certainly qualify as such. Cano was believed to be seeking a 10-year deal worth $310 million, and although it’s been reported that his demands have come down slightly, signing the five-time All-Star still figures to be an expensive endeavor.
Cano has spent his entire nine-year career with the Yankees, but the two sides are reportedly far apart in negotiations. The Yankees have reportedly had no contact with Cano or his representatives since last Tuesday, and according to Matthews, one source put Cano’s chances of returning to New York at “less than 50-50.”
The fact that Cano and the Yankees aren’t making any progress isn’t all that surprising. It sounds like the two sides are speaking a different language at this point, as Cano’s reps are marketing the 31-year-old as the best player in baseball and a bona fide rock star, whereas the Yankees seemingly view him as one of the game’s best players but not someone worthy of a record-breaking contract. Matthews reports that the Yankees might be willing to go to $175 million over seven years ($25 million annually), which is a hefty contract but still far away from Cano’s new reported asking price of $252 million over nine years.
The Mariners have been linked to a number of big-name free agents this offseason, including Carlos Beltran, Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Napoli. Seattle hasn’t always been seen as a desirable destination for free agents, though, and landing someone like Cano could require that the Mariners overpay.
According to Matthews, the Yankees believe that the Mariners, who are said to be desperate for offense and ticket sales, might be willing to offer Cano $200 million over eight years.