Part of the tradition of the Seattle sports winter is a story that the Mariners are in pursuit of one of the premier free agent hitters in baseball. Following failed recruitments in previous years of Prince Fielder and Josh Hamilton, the Mariners, true to form and according to ESPNNewYork.com Tuesday, are said to be a major player for All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano of the Yankees.
Cano, 31, is the best player on the market who last season hit .314 and had 27 homers and 107 RBI. Sources told the website Seattle may be willing to do a deal worth as much as $200 million over eight seasons. The Yankees are said to be reluctant to meet either demand for the five-time All-Star.
Said one industry source in the story: “It doesn’t look too good right now” for the Yanks to retain him.
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik would not say whether he has met with Cano.
“We’ve talked to everybody,” Zduriencik told ESPNNewYork’s Andrew Marchand. “There’s not a free agent we haven’t talked to. We’ve cast a wide net.”
One of the sources said the Mariners were “desperate for hitting and desperate to put people in the ballpark.”
Nothing is new about the Mariners’ desperation at this time of year, but it hasn’t made a difference with veteran free agents who, when the money is nearly equal, choose to play with teams invested in winning. The Texas Rangers, who traded second baseman Ian Kinsler to Detroit for Fielder last month, were also mentioned in the hunt for Cano.
Cano was said in October to have demanded a $300 million, 10-year deal, which he denied. The Yankees were believed to have offered $160 million over seven. A later report said Cano came down to $252 million over nine years with a vesting option for a 10th year at $28 million.
The biggest issue for the Yankees is contract length, given the 10-year, $275 million disaster for Alex Rodriguez. They recently re-upped Derek Jeter for a year at $12 million.
The Mariners last winter signed Felix Hernandez to a $175 million deal over seven years that was the biggest in franchise history. The final year of the deal, when Hernandez will be 34, will pay him $27 million.
On the other hand, the Mariners have re-acquired Willie Bloomquist.