SEATTLE — While rumors continue to build and swirl about the Seattle Mariners’ growing interest in free agent second baseman Robinson Cano, general manager Jack Zduriencik would do nothing to supplement them.
On Wednesday, Zduriencik held a conference call with local media to discuss the upcoming winter meetings. The odds of Zduriencik discussing any specifics were slim. He has rarely, if ever, commented on player negotiations, potential free agent signings or trades.
“I wanted to give you an update as much as I can without saying anything,” Zduriencik said jokingly.
And when it came to Cano, he didn’t say much of anything when asked.
“You know, it’s like I’ve always said,” he said. “I think any time you are engaging or attempting to engage or having ongoing discussions or even any hints of any kinds of things, you have to keep it in house. We have a lot of dialogue going on a lot of fronts.”
The Mariners are clearly interested in Cano. Some of that dialogue has been with Cano’s representatives. Both sides met face to face last week and again on Monday.
It would be a major coup for the Mariners and a bigger investment. But there is an understanding in the organization that they will have to overpay to get Cano.
It could be an 8- or 9-year contract worth more than $200 million. It was initially reported that Cano’s original asking price to the New York Yankees was 10 years, $300 million. That demand has supposedly lessened in recent weeks.
The Yankees are reportedly standing firm, refusing to offer more than 7 years, $170-175 million.
While not specifically discussing Cano’s demands, Zduriencik admitted he isn’t a fan of huge, long-term contracts, but said it’s part of the cost of adding talent.
“I don’t think anybody loves them,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the case with anybody in baseball. Any kind of deal you can get on a short term, there’s more surety to it and less risk. But then there’s also the market that plays into it. You’ve seen these things go the way they go. You have to adapt to the market. In some cases, if you have to stretch more than you want, then you just have to and there’s not much you can do about it.”
It would be a massive financial commitment. But within the Mariners, there is a belief that Cano could be a big first step in changing the negative perception of the organization amongst the fan base and around baseball.
The Mariners have money to spend. And Zduriencik said he’d have the support from ownership if they wanted to make a major investment in a player.
“It was a clear goal of ours to get us to a point where we would have young and inexpensive players throughout the lineup and I think we’ve accomplished that goal,” he said. “I always felt there would be a time where would have to augment this club. I think we are at that time. I do think I have a lot of support for it.”
If money isn’t an issue for the Mariners, it comes down to Cano and whether the five-time all-star would take less money to stay in New York with the Yankees, a perennial playoff participant, or come to Seattle for more money and play for a franchise still in rebuilding mode.