The Mariners have outspent the Yankees for this offseason's biggest free agent prize, reportedly coming to terms Friday morning with Robinson Cano on a 10-year, $240 million contract. After weeks of apparent inactivity regarding Cano, Seattle emerged as a serious contender for Cano's services earlier this week, prompting the All-Star second baseman and his agent, hip-hop superstar Jay-Z of the new Roc Nation Sports agency, to fly to Seattle on Thursday to meet with the team.
During the regular season, Roc Nation floated a 10-year contract worth more than $300 million as Cano's asking price for an extension, but once he became a free agent, they dropped their price to nine-years and something near $250 million. The Yankees, countered with an offer of seven years and roughly $170 million and were reportedly unwilling to go above $175 million. That created an opening for the Mariners, who lured Cano to Seattle on Thursday with a 10-year, $225 million offer. A report by the New York Daily News Friday morning claimed that negotiations had broken off after Jay-Z responded to that offer with a demanded for $252 million over 10 years, the exact terms of the contract that Alex Rodriguez signed when he left Seattle for the Rangers in 2001. Other reports suggested that Jay-Z's demand stemmed from the fact that Cano did not want to sign with Seattle, but contrary to both reports, negotiations continued Friday morning. Cano's new contract matches the one Albert Pujols signed with the Angels two years ago, tying it for the third largest contract in major league history, behind only Rodriguez's two free agent pacts, though its average annual value is tied for seventh among current deals. The contract will take Cano through his age-40 season and could make incumbent Mariners second baseman Nick Franklin, a 22-year-old who was a first-round pick in 2009 and a top 100 prospect prior to each of the last two seasons, available via trade.