Discussions between the Seattle Mariners and free agent second baseman Robinson Cano have escalated considerably. Cano flew to the Emerald City to sit down with the M's on Thursday where the club told him they are willing to offer a contract of 10 years and $230-240 million, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.
New York's last known offer to Cano was seven years and $160 million, so if Seattle is really willing to guarantee him a decade, Hal Steinbrenner and company are going to have to up their proposal considerably.
However, in the hours since Rojas' initial report, some conflicting information has emerged about the figures thrown around and the timeline involved. Per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the 10 years and $240 million was what Cano asked for from the M's, not the other way around, and the club's latest offer is still believed to be under $200 million. Additionally, Rosenthal reports that Cano is still on his way to Seattle and will meet with club officials Thursday evening, which doesn't jibe with Rojas' earlier report.
A 10-year deal of that magnitude would not just shatter the standing record for a second baseman, it would also put Cano on even footing with Albert Pujols, who was widely regarded as the best baseball player on earth when he inked his decade-long pact with the Angels two years ago. There's obviously inflation to account for so the contracts wouldn't line up perfectly, but the M's would still be paying a guy roughly $23 million a year through the age of 40.
The M's have been very busy behind the scenes the last few days, and general manager Jack Zduriencik has indicated that the club is on the precipice of making at least one big move. In addition to emerging as "major players" for Cano, the club has also been tied to Rays ace David Price, with one report indicating that the Mariners might send top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker to Tampa Bay to bring in the 2012 AL Cy Young winner.
While it's a bit surprising to see Seattle as big players in the free-agent market, the club has plenty of room to add salary this winter. They have just $33 million tied up in pre-arbitration payroll for 2014 and, per Rosenthal, are about to settle into a new TV deal that will net the organization $2 billion over the next 17 years.
It's unclear what signing Cano would mean for the future of Seattle's incumbent second basemen, Nick Franklin and Dustin Ackley, but that's probably not something the M's are going to worry about until the dust has settled.