The Seattle Mariners have emerged as major players for second baseman Robinson Cano, arguably the top free agent on the market this offseason, ESPN New York is reporting. Cano’s agent confirmed that he was meeting with another team besides the Yankees Tuesday morning, but did not specify which team.
The New York Yankees and Cano are reportedly over $100 million apart in negotiations, opening the door for Seattle be in play to sign the 31-year-old All-Star. According to reports, Cano was initially seeking a 10-year deal worth $310 million, but has since lowered his demands to $252 million over nine years with a 10th season vesting option for $28 million. New York is rumored to only be interested in offering $175 million for seven years, per an insider.
“[The Yankees] think this offer is incredibly fair,” the insider said. “It’s the highest average annual salary they’ve paid anyone except for Alex Rodriguez. Not even [Derek] Jeter got that kind of money.”
A nine-year, $252 million contract would put Cano at an average annual salary of $28 million per year, $500,000 more than the 10-year, $275 million deal the Yankees signed Alex Rodriguez to back in 2007. Last season, Cano batted .314 with 27 home runs and 107 RBIs.
Seattle’s highest paid player is Felix Hernandez, who they signed to a lucrative extension in 2012, and only have Hisashi Iwakuma under contract for the 2014 season. The Mariners have the financial flexibility to meet Cano’s demands, making the opportunity for him to sign with Seattle a realistic possibility. The deciding factor will be whether or not Cano wants to stay a Yankee, or if he wants to take the money and bolt.
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