The Seattle Mariners have reportedly emerged as a "major player" in the free agency sweepstakes for Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, according to Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork on Tuesday afternoon.
The news comes a day after the Yankees reportedly drew a hard line in their contract negotiations with Cano, saying they will not give in to his demands for a megadeal and will refuse to sign him to any offer that's in the ballpark of $200 million. The Yankees had reportedly offered him seven years and $160 million. In most recent reports, Cano is asking for a nine-year, $252 million contract with a vesting option for a 10th year at $28 million.
Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik declined to comment on Tuesday as to whether the organization has had a meeting with Cano, instead saying the Mariners have "cast a wide net" in their conversations with free agents this offseason:
"We've talked to everybody. There's not a free agent we haven't talked to. We've cast a wide net.''
Wallace cited anonymous sources close to negotiations between the Yankees and Cano who have said the Mariners are considering a $200 million deal for Cano over eight years. He quoted one of the sources as saying Seattle recognizes that it is "desperate for hitting and desperate to put people in the ballpark."
A spokesman for the 31-year-old Cano declined to comment on the ongoing negotiations, only saying that the five-time All-Star was meeting with another team on Tuesday afternoon, one he called a "a big, big meeting.''
For his career, Cano has hit .309 and averaged 28 home runs and 103 RBI in each of his last five seasons. He has been a top-10 finisher in the last four AL MVP ballots, finishing fifth for this past season. CORCORAN: A.J. Pierzynski signing more about frugality than upgrade for Red Sox