Updated 12:45 p.m. — Many people asked if Robinson Cano will have to change numbers once he signs with the Mariners. Cano wore No. 24 for the Yankees. But there was this guy named Griffey that wore 24 here and no player has worn it since.
Griffey, who was in Tucson, said his phone was blowing up with text messages asking if he would allow Cano to wear No. 24. But said he couldn’t answer that.
But it’s highly unlikely that would happen. Think about it this way, the Mariners signed certain hall of famer Rickey Henderson in 2000 as a free agent. Henderson wore No. 24 all his career. But when he came to Seattle he wore No. 25. Mariners management, particularly Chuck Armstrong, holds that number sacred.
As far as the reports of the Cano signing, Griffey was positive.
“I think he’s going to be good for the organization,” he said. “Anytime you get that type of player it’s going to be a good thing.”
When asked if the idea of a Cano signing could lead to future players wanting to come to Seattle and a change in perception, he was hopefully.
“It can happen,” he said. “I hope it does. We’ve struggled as a whole getting people to come there, hopefully this is an eye opener to get guys to come here in their prime and start changing the way things have been.”
Updated 11:37 a.m. — With the Cano deal reportedly being done, once it gets finalized, expect the Mariners continue to stay active. They will look at outfielders Carlos Beltran and Shin Soo-Choo as well as lesser names like Rajai Davis. The team is also looking at adding pitcher Bartolo Colon and possibly Matt Garza or Ubaldo Jimenez.
There are also a few potential trades on the table. As reported, the Mariners have talked with a the Tampa Bay Rays about acquiring ace lefty David Price. The asking price would be Mariners top prospect Taijuan Walker and more. A source with knowledge of the situation says that any trade with the Mariners would have to include Walker.
Another possible trade brewing is a swap with the Royals for designated hitter Billy Butler. The Mariners are left-handed heavy in their line-up and Butler would offer right-handed power. The Royals are asking for second baseman Nick Franklin, who is on the market if Cano is signed. The Royals would first have to sign outfielder Carlos Beltran before trading Butler.
Update 10:28 a.m. — Here’s a statement from the Mariners. “We are not able to confirm any news regarding Robinson Cano at this time. If and when an agreement is completed and finalized, we will announce.”
There is news breaking from national baseball writers starting with Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes that the free agent second baseman Robinson Cano and the Mariners have agreed to a 10-year, $240 million contract. CBS Sports Jon Heyman also confirmed the deal.
Earlier this morning reports out of New York came out that the talks had broken down and Howard Lincoln stormed out of the negotiations.
But a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations said that “anything that’s been written that talks been broken off or that Jay-Z overplayed his hand is false. And that the past 48 hours of discussions with all teams involved were very productive.”
They seem to be very productive.
It’s a massive commitment from the Mariners, who are looking to change perceptions of the organization in their fanbase and around baseball. They believe signing Cano is a start to that and will help break down the barriers that have prevented them from signing free agents in reason offseasons.
Cano and his representatives, including Jay Z, flew into Seattle via private jet on Thursday evening to meet with Mariners upper level management.
Reports had varied after the contract offers from Seattle. Initial reports have said the Mariners would offer an 8-year contract for more than $200 million. A report from ESPN Deportes, Thursday morning, said the Mariners had upped their offer to 10-years, $230-240 million. And then yet another report – this one from Fox Sports – surfaced later in the afternoon, saying the Mariners had not offered more than $200 million. By Thursday evening, multiple sources reported the deal of 9-years, $225 million was on the table.
Even with the varying reports, it’s clear that any offer made by the Mariners is more than the offer made by the Yankees, which is reportedly 7-years, $160-170 million.
Cano, 31, is a five-time all-star second baseman for the Yankees. Last season, he played in 160 games, hitting .314 with 27 homers and 107 RBI, while posting a .899 on-base plus slugging percentage. He finished fifth in American League most valuable player voting.
The Mariners have plenty of money to work with only Felix Hernandez ($22 million) and Hisashi Iwakuma ($6.5 million) making significant money next season. Mariners chief executive operating officer Howard Lincoln said recently the Mariners’ payroll budget would likely increase, and definitely not decrease this season. Last season, the team budgeted $95 million for payroll, but only spent around $84 million