Mariners Trying to Have Their Own Stupid Pujols Contract, but Talks with Robinson Cano Break Down (UPDATE)

jay-z canoLast night, everyone’s eyes were on the sky as Robinson Cano and his agent (that’s the anthem, get your damn hands up) flew to Seattle to meet with the Mariners, who are apparently bound and determined to land Cano this offseason.

The other primary suitor for Cano, the New York Yankees, for whom he’s played his entire career, reportedly haven’t planned to exceed an offer in the $175 million range over about seven years for Cano. The Mariners, on the other hand, have offered Cano nine years and $225 million, according to Jon Heyman. Apparently the Mariners expected Cano to accept that offer last night on his trip to Seattle, but he didn’t. His agent, Jay-Z, arrived and demanded 10 years and $252 million (per NYDN), leading to some hurt feelings and a cessation of negotiations. For the record, Jay-Z, a nine-year, $225 million deal would have been a plenty impressive “get.”

We’ll see if talks with the Mariners restart at some point, and/or if Cano shops around the original offer, but it’s virtually impossible to see any team beating it. Instead, Cano’s still probably hoping the Yankees are willing to meet somewhere in the middle of their base offer and the Mariners’ extravagant one. As sad as it is for Seattle, players from the Dominican Republic aren’t likely to leave the East Coast (and the exposure of New York City) for the Pacific Northwest unless they’re getting paaaaaid.

If the Mariners get what they want, they could be the latest team to sign a mega contract, only to regret it a year or two later. Consider that just two years ago, the Angels signed Albert Pujols to a very similar 10-year, $240 million contract. Pujols, then 31, just like Cano, was coming off of a stretch where he’d posted just one season below 7.0 WAR in the previous nine seasons. Cano has topped 7.0 WAR just once in his career (2012). That’s not to say that Cano is not a fantastic player. It is simply to point out that these kind of mega contracts can seem like a not-so-terrible idea on day one, and rapidly deteriorate (Pujols has accumulated just 4.4 WAR, total, in his two seasons with the Angels). Maybe if you can get a guy at 28 or 29 you consider giving him eight years (I’d still have heartburn beyond that), but not at 31.

Still, Seattle has some non-baseball reasons for wanting to land a big star like Cano (their attendance has halved – literally halved – over the last decade), and there could still be overall value there. Maybe.

Cano ending up in Seattle is actually of considerable import to the Chicago Cubs’ offseason plans in at least two ways. First, Cano departing the Yankees frees up considerable cash for New York to spend lavishly elsewhere and remain under the $189 million luxury tax cap. That could mean a considerable offer to Masahiro Tanaka, if he’s posted, or a binge on someone like Shin-Soo Choo (which could, in turn, shake up the outfield market sufficiently that someone like Nate Schierholtz becomes even more valuable in trade (an aside: the Yankees pursued Schierholtz last year, and, if they did want to add a corner outfield power bat, I’d think Schierholtz would do exceedingly well in that ballpark)). The Yankees with money to spend can be a crazy and unpredictable thing.

Second, if the Mariners pony up huge for Cano, you can be certain that they’ll make other additions to the roster to try and capitalize on the Cano/Felix Hernandez base, which projects to be most impactful over the next few years. That could mean increased spending elsewhere (outfield?), or it could mean a serious move for a starting pitcher like David Price, to whom they’ve been closely connected. If the Rays try to squeeze the Mariners, knowing that they aren’t going to want to spend big on Cano to merely win 81 games in a competitive AL West, maybe the Mariners turn instead to the next best arm on the trade market: Jeff Samardzija. The Mariners likely have the pieces to entice the Cubs, though they probably wouldn’t include top three pitching prospect (in baseball) Taijuan Walker. But, who knows? Teams desperate enough to spend $225 million on Robinson Cano – $50 million more than the next suitor – might be desperate enough to do something crazy with their prospects.

Maybe this negotiating snafu with Seattle pushes Cano back to New York (who would seem to have a heck of a lot of leverage now), and none of this is relevant. Cano to New York for huge dollars, by the way, seems like the best outcome for the Cubs anyway.

UPDATE: Talks back on, with Jon Heyman reporting a deal is “close.” Loosely connected Hiroki Kuroda story here.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

108 responses to “Mariners Trying to Have Their Own Stupid Pujols Contract, but Talks with Robinson Cano Break Down (UPDATE)”

  1. Kyle

    If the Mariners have money to burn and Cano really is off the board for them, I don’t think it’s hard to imagine Tanaka going there if posted.

  2. jacos

    “a corner outfield power bad”

    Freudian slip?

  3. Rich

    Cano has no interest in Mariners..Ploy for more Yankee dollars..
    I hope all parties stay low on him..

    so we can hear the same old, ” this is where I want to be, this is where I always wanted to be, blah blah blah!

  4. mjhurdle

    Yankees GM Brian Cashman on pursuing FA RobinsonCano: “We’re very comfortable with our effort.”

    heh, i bet he is.

    1. mjhurdle

      ha, Cashman killing Jay-Z on MLB Network
      “You can’t mess around in free agency…If you play around, you lose.”

  5. ssckelley

    Cano and his agent are taking a huge gamble ($50 million) by not signing that deal last night. I doubt the Yankees are going to move much, if at all, and that is over-the-top money for Cano.

    But as mentioned earlier, seeing the Mariners go that crazy on Cano makes me wonder how crazy they will get on Tanaka.

    1. Blackhawks1963

      If Tanaka leaves Japan (which is a big if now) then I expect at least 20 teams to submit the max bid. Meaning Tanaka can go play wherever he wants. Seattle has a major Japanese American population and the Mariners want to spend. So if I were to handicap where he winds up?

      1. Yankees
      2. Dodgers
      3. Mariners
      4. Angels
      5. The rest doesn’t matter…

      1. ssckelley

        I agree with Seattles logic on going after Tanaka, they know signing him will help sell tickets.

  6. Blackhawks1963

    If Seattle is stupid enough to sign Cano for $175 M plus, then the Yankees should count their blessings because they will have dodged a bullet.

  7. Featherstone

    I can just picture this all going down.

    Mariners GM Jack Z: We have to have Cano, we’ll offer him $200 million dollars!

    Mariners Front Office Aide: But sir, aren’t the Yankees are only offering $175 million dollars?

    Mariners GM Jack Z: Hmm, you’re right. Let’s offer him $225 million instead!

    Reminds me of the Cubs pursuit of Soriano, except Hendry was bidding against himself.

    1. JulioZuleta

      Not a Hendry supporter in the least, but he had very little, if anything to do with the Soriano deal. That was negotiated by his bosses, and was verbally agreed to while he was on a plane. I’ve never put that one on him.

      1. Featherstone

        I know it was mostly tongue in check. As much as some of I disliked some of Hendry’s boneheaded moves, the Soriano contract wasn’t on him. I do recall hearing that the powers that negotiated the contract ended up bidding against themselves.

        Also despite all the hate for the Soriano contract, he did end up performing pretty close to the money he was paid.

  8. JulioZuleta

    Reports: Jay-Z shocked to discover that his past as a drug dealer, in fact, did not prepare him all that well for being, you know, a baseball agent.

    1. TK

      The clown thinks he’s living a rap video and probly just cost his client mucho money.

      1. JulioZuleta

        Cano cost himself the money by firing the best agent ever in favor of someone with zero experience.

        1. MichiganGoat

          +1 the winner in all this is Boras unless somehow he signs this deal, but the communication breakdown is quite humiliating.

      2. Blublud

        How do we know his client didn’t say to him, “I don’t wanna go to seattle, but if they offer another year, I’d take it.” We forget that the agent works for the client, so the client is really the one who calls the shot and has the final say so.

        Remember, Angels came out of no where on Pujols and the Tigers on fielder. How do we know they don’t already have their secret team also. Jay-Z is not so dumb to over play his hand for no reason. Let’s wait til Cano is signed before passing judgement.

        1. MichiganGoat

          The problem here is that somehow the Mariners were convinced he was coming to sign the contract- a major communication failure here and sounds like it was on Cano’s side.

  9. Required

    I don’t expect Tanaka to be posted.

    1. woody

      If not the teams will be pouncing on Samardzija and Price.

  10. Patrick G

    I bet the Mariners are a tad happy that Cano tried for more and decided to cut off negotiations. The amount they offered is a lot for a 31 year old and could use that towards numerous other options to improve their team rather than just one player. Wouldn’t be surprised if they went hard after Choo and Tanaka considering the Asian fan base in Seattle

  11. Required

    JulioZuleta…that’s funny right there! GitRdone!

  12. Justin

    Mariners are idiotic if they do this deal with Cano. A deal with Baez for Taijuan Walker and probably a little more from Seattle would make a lot more sense for them. I think the Cubs and Mariners could really both help each other a ton, and neither would have to take on any turd contracts to do so.

    1. Patrick G

      I don’t think either would want to do prospect for prospect swap. It’s too risky for both teams just like St. Louis and Texas wouldn’t do Profar-Tavares swap. I think if anyone would go to Seattle for Walker it would be Castro, but the Cubs would need a lot more in return.

      1. Justin

        Yeah, I hear ya. And I think it’s fair that Baez is valued a little higher, considering the pitcher injury risk. Although, at this point I would love Walker for Castro straight up. Castro’s contract isn’t bad, but he isn’t cheap either so you to take that into consideration.

        1. Patrick G

          I still think it would take more just because Castro is still so young and has proved he can produce int he Majors. If we could pry Walker and more from Seattle and Bradley from AZ for Shark, our farm system would no doubt be #1, but thats all just a pipe dream

    2. woody

      Please don’t go trading our super star prospect away. Castro maybe. Hands off of Baez!

  13. mdavis

    i wouldnt be upset at a package built around Hultzen from the Mariners, should those dominos fall and they were in on shark. which, for the record, i do not see them being. and Jay-z just played chicken and lost. Mariners should tell him to take a hike, and yankees should almost tell hiim well….sorry, that offer is off the table and lower it. Cano has no other options it looks like.

    1. Norm

      You know Hultzen is hurt and will probably miss all of 2014 with a bum shoulder?

      1. mdavis

        nopeee i did not. i retract my previous statement haha.

      2. Spriggs

        That makes him a perfect trade candidate for the Cubs then!

  14. David

    A significant trade with the cubs would be sooooo much more valuable to Seattle vs. them signing Cano. What would a package of Shark, Schirholz (spelling) and Lake bring to the cubs??? If they add these guys then use the Cano $ for Garza – that would equal a pretty good team… With a lot of cash left over to sign others.

    1. itzscott

      >> What would a package of Shark, Schirholz (spelling) and Lake bring to the cubs??? If they add these guys then use the Cano $ for Garza – that would equal a pretty good team <<

      Hey, the Cubs HAD/HAVE all these guys and still suck(ed)!

      That has to be encouraging to Seattle.

      1. David

        Yeah…. But they have one of the best pitchers in the game as their ace.. Hernandez, Garza, Iwakuma and Shark would be an awesome starting rotation. Best in American League??? Best in baseball???

  15. Jono

    Wait, Jay Z is actually engaging in negotiations?

    1. JulioZuleta

      Seattle offered 9 years for $225M. Jay-Z (and Cano I believe) got on a flight to Seattle. The Mariners thought he was going to be signing that offer. When they got there, Jay-Z “demanded” 10 years $260M, and the Mariners asked them to leave.

      1. Rebuilding

        t will be interesting to see if they pull that offer. Because if the Yankees are serious about sticking at $175 million that’s a lot of cash to give up. It’s probable that he has a lot more promotion opportunities in NY, but $50 million more is probably stretching it

        1. mjhurdle

          the New York Daily News reported that Seattle does not plan on re-opening negotiations with Cano after the incident yesterday. Apparently their Chairman is very angry at how things went.
          That could obviously change, but if not it looks like the Yankees 7yr/160m (that they are hinting they might increase to 7yr/175m) is Cano’s highest offer left out there barring any mystery teams (which isn’t likely because all the mystery teams hang around Boras :) )

          1. TK

            If that be true, in reality, being the ONLY suitor, the Yanks could actually LOWER their offer a bit and say “or you could go sign with Seattle . . . [chorus of boisterus, unrestained, devilish laughter].”

            1. On The Farm

              The only problem is if they lower their offer too much, other teams can become involved trying to sign him at a “bargain”.

              1. TK

                How good of a thing would that be for MLB?!?!? Imagine all the currents and spin-offs and swirling dynamics that would cause! The entire off-season could take a dramatic turn with teams scrapping plans A – D to come with plans E – G based on the Cano effect. I’d love to see the Yanks tell him to take a hike. It’d be beautiful on so many levels!

                Also, if the theory that part of this is that he really wants to stay in NY is true, why not lower the offer? He just demonstated how dumb/foolish he is by rejecting $225M. If he wants to stay THAT bad, take advantage.

      2. ssckelley

        Perhaps a change in heart during the long flight. Cano might have been like, do I really want to play in Seattle? I have a hard time pinning this all on the agent, the player holds all of the cards in what they want to do. Cano very well could be putting Jay-Z in a tough situation refusing to leave New York.

        1. MichiganGoat

          I think Jay-Z does not want him leaving NY it gives him more spotlight and marketability but this is a horrible story for Jay-Z’s future as an agent. The next person he tries to convince to join him is going to be saying “YOU LEFT HOW MUCH MONEY ON THE TABLE!” Boras has got to be smiling right now, hate him all you want but the man knows how to get dollars for a player.

          1. Jeff

            I agree Goat, you don’t think that if Boras wasn’t still Cano’s agent he wouldn’t have a 200M deal on the table from the Yankees already??

            1. MichiganGoat

              Exactly, I’m sure many players have had better offers from teams they do not want to play for but we never hear about these and I’m sure that has to do the confidentiality between team, agent, and players. The breakdown in communication here is an epic failure on Jay-Z’s part and unless he can get him a 200M contract else where this will always tarnish his reputation.

          2. Jono

            You’re getting into a really good point. Having Jay Z being apart of the agency is just as good for Jay Z as it is for the agency. Jay Z will get exposure to baseball fans while the agency will attract idiot clients who would like to be connected to Jay Z, make appearances with him. MLB (or minor league) players are just like everyone else. Some of them are dumb and love celebrities. And Jay Z is as popular among young men as anyone.

        2. TK

          Well of course its Cano’s fault . . . For hiring a freaking rapper as his agent. WTF was he smokin when he made THAT decision? Someone, somewhere must have SOMETHING on Cano, and he was “convinced” to hire this clown . . . “Or else!”

      3. Jono

        If Jay Z is being used as a figure head, this would be how. They use his name, he flies with the real agent and player. But that doesn’t mean he’s actually engaged in negotiations. He might be, though. But simply being on the flight and using his name doesn’t prove it. They didn’t say that no one else was on that flight

        1. JulioZuleta

          Several sources have said, “Jay-Z demanded…” in pretty clear terms. He’s an egomaniac, he isn’t going to sit idly by and let someone else take control.

          1. Jono

            right, they’re using his name. I get that. Just because they use his name isn’t proof that he’s leading the negotiations on Cano’s side. If the agency is using him as a figure head, this would be how. Agent’s need clients just like any business needs customers.

            1. Jono


            2. MichiganGoat

              If that’s the case his name is even more tarnished, a major name doesn’t sign with Boras to have other negotiate his contract. If Jay-Z is only a name and not the person doing the negotiating why would anybody want him.

              1. Jono

                see my post above where I replied to you. And agencies, especially big ones, have many agents. Boras’ company is enormous. I’m guessing most of their clients (not big names like Cano) don’t actually get Boras doing the negotiations. Obviously a guy like Cano would, but you’re making a more general point, so i’m answering it in a more general way.

          2. Jono

            And I don’t think any of us personally know him well enough to know if he’d be willing to act as a figure head or not.

      4. MichiganGoat

        If the Mariners say F-off and Cano signs for below 200M elsewhere Jay-Z’s agent days are over. Can’t let this information get leaked out and then not sign such a mega deal. Anything below 225M is a failure at this point.

        I’m also surprised there haven’t been a ton of “99 problems” jokes during all this because he might now be at 100 and Cano is one.

  16. itzscott

    Only in America can a high school dropout become a world class rapper, negotiator, attorney and accountant by relying on street wisdom alone and get someone from the Dominican Republic who’s likely had less education than that, believe him.

  17. macpete22

    Cano has 99 problems and a contract is one. Cheesy, I know

    1. MichiganGoat

      Ha see my post above

  18. Brian Peters

    I don’t have much money, but I’m willing to give half to Ricketts so he’ll sign one more player with mediocre talent. That’s what the Cubs are: mediocre at best. I so badly want Shark gone, I’d throw in a few more bucks in Pricketts’ pocket. He is not on a level with Price…he’s not the next best thing. I believe Santana fills that spot. Let’s not try to pull the wool over our own eyes and finally understand that point. PLEASE!!!! Shark sucks! Bring Garza back.

    1. Jeff

      Are you drunk this morning? I don’t think you make one defensible point in that post…

      Santana? Ervin? Bring Garza back? Get rid of Samardzija? GIVE RICKETTS MONEY?

      Put down the crack pipe and stop hanging out with Toronto Mayors.

      1. Brian Peters

        Lol!!! I knew that would get somebody’s attention. I was funnin’ is all. I still don’t like Shark, though, and there’s not a thing anybody can do to change that.

  19. MichiganGoat

    Just heard on MLB that Mariners are close to a deal with Cano.

    1. mjhurdle

      supposedly he has an offer on the table from the Mariners. will be interested to see what the final years/amounts are to see if the whole “breakdown in talks” was anything more than a negotiating ploy.

      1. MichiganGoat

        Heyman is too report something, can’t check twitter right now. Anyone hearing anything?

        1. mjhurdle

          nothing but everyone re-tweeting versions of Heyman’s original “deal is close” tweet

          1. On The Farm

            Does that include his will be at least $225M ?

        2. On The Farm

          He says they are close to a deal as of 11ms ago

          1. On The Farm

            10 years $240M according to Passan from Enrique Rojas

      2. Rebuilding

        So MAYBE Jay-Z played it right and everyone’s negative comments will go down the rabbit hole?

        1. MichiganGoat

          Already flushed Jay-Z is a god.

          1. On The Farm

            99 problems and Cano ain’t one!

            1. MichiganGoat


  20. Rebuilding

    Sorry guys, I’m going to have to disagree with you about Jay-Z. Being an agent is nothing more than being a promoter. Look at where Jay-Z got himself (and his wife) and tell me he’s not a good promoter. Being an agent doesn’t take being a good lawyer or a good accountant, it takes being good at spouting bs

    1. MichiganGoat

      So Boras is only a promoter?

      1. Rebuilding

        What else is he? Is it really any different than promoting a band?

        1. MichiganGoat

          An agent that markets his player and negotiates the best contract, there is a ton of legalize behind major deals like this and it’s more than just promoting. I think you’ve greatly diminishing the agents role.

          1. Jono

            I think your overestimating the agent’s role. The vast majority of agents have teams of people doing the legal and marketing work for the players. They even use scouting services. Big guys like Boras actually have their own team of scouts. But mostly, and agent will recruit, make public statements, and spend time with players to make them feel like they’re important. They don’t do most of the hard work (scouting, marketing, legalities)

            1. MichiganGoat

              You’re probably right, I’ve been a huge fail today,

              1. Jono

                Yesterday was my fail day

                1. MichiganGoat

                  This offseason has really confused the hell out of me.

  21. New York Yankees Set to Re-Sign Hiroki Kuroda – Any Masahiro Tanaka Implications? | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    […] the backdrop of Cano’s will-he-won’t-he love story with the Mariners (at last check, despite this morning’s hubbub, Jon Heyman said a deal remained close with the Mariners). There’s also the matter of Alex […]

  22. mjhurdle

    I feel like there is something we are missing in regards to Cano, because it really seems like the Mariners are in a bidding war against themselves.
    With the only reported other offer being in the 7/150 region, why are they going straight to the 9-10 yr/200+ region? obviously they have to beat 7/150, but that is a huge difference when the market is supposedly not as strong as it could be.

  23. On The Farm

    Well looks like the Yanks just spent $16 million on Kuroda returning, so there’s that.

  24. mjhurdle

    Mariners supposedly land Cano for 10 years, 240 million

    1. Bret Epic

      They’re probably my favorite AL team, so I say good for them. Hopefully he’s able to fulfill the paycheck they just wrote for him.

      1. On The Farm

        They could send the Cubs a pitcher + and we can send them Shark to compliment King Felix. They just spent all that money on Cano, they don’t really want Price do they?

        1. Bret Epic

          It’s hard to say what their plan is. Considering that they were 71-91 last year, I don’t see an immediate turn around, but Boston went from worst in their division to first, so who knows. Sorta crazy Cano’s contract was $2 million more than Ellsbury and McCann combined.

  25. MichiganGoat

    Now reporting 10 years 240M … Never mind Jay-Z is a stud!

    1. JulioZuleta

      Boras would have gotten this contract in New York. Really he probably would have gotten something more like 9/235 or so. They lost so much leverage during the year that this contract, which is about what everyone expected initially, seems like a win. Fact is he sent his client to a team that (without more move) isn’t going to be a contender and he isn’t going to make nearly the marketing dollars. I guarantee you this is not exactly what Cano had in mind.

      1. JulioZuleta

        Cano will be making 24M a year as a middle infielder, Pujols will be making 30M as a 41 (at least) year old DH. Obviously the Pujols deal is horrendous but still, in light of the market change over the past 2 years, I don’t think the deal is that phenomenal for Cano, especially considering he wanted no part of leaving Seattle.

        1. ssckelley

          I agree with this, even with diminished skills Cano could be a plus hitter at 2nd base. This deal is still better than Hamilton, Pujols, and even Fielder.

          But there is no way the Yankees were going to get anywhere near this contract. They wanted a home town discount and did not get it.

  26. Jeff

    The Perfect Storm…..

    An agent who needs a big sign to legitimize his new agency.

    A GM under the gun to sign a big time free agent and is willing to massively overpay

  27. mjhurdle

    So Cano gets less AAV, but an extra year from what the Mariners were reportedly offering yesterday.
    Looks like the “breakdown” didn’t really affect much of anything besides to generate some bad PR.

    1. On The Farm

      Leverage from Seattle’s side to act like maybe Jay-Z is an idiot so they can sign Cano? As long as the FO didn’t say Jay-Z is an idiot it could be plausible.

  28. MichiganGoat

    Holy Shit it worked now Boras has serious competition.

  29. trust me

    I will laugh when niether the yankees or marines make the playoffs. Even adding these FA wont win the al east ray sox will win it and in the west the A’s teaxas and even the angels will be better.

  30. MichiganGoat

    So now to get a 30 year old player you got to speed 200M yeah baseball!

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