- Andrew Marchand, ESPN Senior Writer
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Earlier this year, the Rangers called the Yankees inquiring about trading for Robinson Cano, a source with knowledge of the conversation told ESPNNewYork.com. The Yankees said Cano was unavailable and the talks ended before they began.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman declined to discuss the phone call, while the Rangers' Jon Daniels did not return a call seeking comment.
But soon, Cano will be a free agent and the Rangers are lurking. They could be the No. 1 threat of stealing Cano from the Bronx. So let’s take a look at why that is -- and at eight other top contenders, besides the Yankees, of course -- for the biggest free agent on the market:
The Rangers are well in place to make a big splash. They had another disappointing end to their season and have never really replaced Josh Hamilton. Plus, they have a lot of dough.
One scout speculated they could slide Ian Kinsler to first to make room for Cano.
In other words, watch out for Texas.
Like a lot of other baseball writers, I have been told for a few months the Dodgers aren't going to be a big player this winter. We’ll see.
Everything could change if Los Angeles exits the playoffs quickly or if the team wins the World Series. If the Dodgers lose early, they may see Cano as the guy who can put them over the top. If they win it all, they could simply get greedy.
The Dodgers reportedly have an interest in Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero. Guerrero, 26, would cost much less.
Still, as one official said about the Dodgers sitting out the Cano sweepstakes, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Wait, they just signed Chase Utley. Yes, but Ruben Amaro Jr. does creative things, an official noted. So the Phillies, with some new cable money about to roll in, could try to bring in Cano and push Utley to third.
New York Yankees
The M's are a team in flux right now, but Seattle needs to add offense. Could they try to buy the No. 1 free agent on the market?
5. Chicago Cubs
The Cubs have money, but don't seem to be on the brink of winning. Cano might find it appealing to go to a club where he can be a bigger legend -- if he can lead them to a title -- than he could be even in the Bronx.
The 84-year-old Tigers owner, Mike Ilitch, wants to win desperately. If the Tigers fall short this fall, he could just throw another huge contract out there and land Cano. Ilitch has sold a lot of Little Caesars pizza and has the money. The already scary Tigers' lineup would be ridiculous.
The Nats can't be ruled out because they underachieved this year. Unite Cano's bat with Washington's young nucleus and you could have something special.
I tend to doubt it, but Cano could still be relatively close to the Dominican, which he and his family prefer, while the Mets could really try to steal the town from the Yankees.
9. Mystery Team
There is almost always a team that no one is thinking about that comes in and makes a big run at a player of Cano’s caliber. Who will it be?