Robinson Cano-Mariners deal could happen

Jim McIsaac

Seattle could make a play for the market's top free agent, because why not? The Hot Stove is absolutely incendiary at the moment.

As if things weren't crazy enough right now.

According to ESPN New York, the Seattle Mariners could be interested in making a push for second baseman Robinson Cano. The slugger has recently been rumored to be seeking a contract in the neighborhood of $260M, a slightly less mind-boggling notion than the $310M figure that was floated by his agents earlier in the offseason.

"There's not a free agent we haven't talked to. We've cast a wide net," Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand.

Someone is going to sign Robinson Cano. And it's certainly not a guarantee that team will be the Yankees. In fact, they have "less than [a] 50-50" chance to bring him back according to one of Marchand's sources. Cano-to-the-M's would completely change the landscape of what is left of the free agent market. Things have heated up quickly, and Seattle might feel like now is the time to strike -- before all other options for improvement are swallowed up by their competition.

The M's already have a solid core of infielders in Kyle Seager, Brad Miller, and Nick Franklin, but none of them have the kind of ceiling that Cano could bring to the team. If Zduriencik is able to land Cano, he'd have an extremely valuable utility infielder or a very marketable trade chip on his hands. Probably the latter. It's not certain which of the infielders would be the most likely to hit the trade block if this bombshell drops on baseball. Nick franklin played a lot of second base in 213, but he can also line up at short, so Jack Z would have several options in getting the most out of his already talented infield.

The Yankees have said they do not plan on offering Cano a deal anywhere near the extravagant numbers that have circulated early this offseason, and they've already been connected to several possible replacements, should they fail to bring their best player. Brandon Phillips could be had via trade and the Yanks will certainly have the payroll flexibility (without Cano on the books) to take on the remaining 4 years and $50M of his deal if they decide to go that route. The Bombers could also opt to target free agent Omar Infante at a much more reasonable salary. Of course, this is the first real sign of competition for New York, so it could very well cause them to amp up their efforts when evaluating their team without Cano in the middle of the lineup.

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