By Shannon Drayer
Wednesday update: I can confirm a second meeting took place here in Seattle on Tuesday, as reported by the New York Post. To the best of my knowledge, the meeting was with Cano's representatives and not Cano himself.
Speculation about the Mariners and Robinson Cano has heated up once again, but this time with a twist. A week ago it was the national writers opining that the Mariners could be a surprise entry in the Cano sweepstakes. On Tuesday, Wallace Mathews reported that sources tell ESPNNewYork.com that the Mariners are major players.
Representatives for free-agent slugger Robinson Cano met with the Mariners in Seattle recently. (AP)
While this may sound improbable, I can tell you that representatives for Cano – not including Jay Z – visited Seattle recently to give their sales pitch to the Mariners. Seattle obviously was not the only team they visited, but it was on the list.
According to Wallace's article and other reports, the Yankees and Cano are approximately $60-80 million apart in their negotiations, with the Yankees not willing to budge much if at all. While it is hard to imagine Cano leaving – or his new agent, Jay Z, allowing him to leave the spotlight of New York – this more likely than not will come down to the money. If this is the case, and the Mariners are willing to go over $200 million, it becomes a little less far fetched.
For the first time in a long time the Mariners should be able to compete in this arena when it comes to the dollars. They have more availability in payroll than ever and should have more soon. The team's majority ownership of the regional sports network puts it on a different level, with CEO Howard Lincoln telling me last week that the new deal will make the Mariners competitive with the Rangers and Angels.
This no doubt could be another case of agents using the Mariners to drive up the price of their clients, but if New York calls Cano's bluff I would be surprised if his party caved. Coming up $60-80 million short in his first contract negotiation would not look good for Jay Z and his new agency. This negotiation isn't just about Cano.
A new role for Dan Wilson
The Mariners have hired Dan Wilson to be the team's roving minor-league catching coordinator.
Since he retired from playing, Wilson has worked with Mariners' catchers for a few days in spring training and occasionally visited the minor-league affiliates to see them. This position will require a much greater time commitment, and he is ready for the challenge.
"I am excited and thankful for this opportunity," Wilson said in the club's press release. "We have been blessed by the game of baseball and by this incredibly generous community, and I am privileged to join the Mariner family again and help pass along what I've learned with a very talented group of young catchers."
Wilson will work with Mariners catchers at all levels, beginning during spring training and continuing throughout the minor-league season. He will travel to each of the Mariners' affiliates several times during the season to work with the catchers.