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Friday, December 6, 2013
Cano to Mariners: Dead or alive?

By Wallace Matthews



NEW YORK -- The Yankees and their fans seemed ready to hold a "Bon Voyage, Robbie" party last night when word came down that Robinson Cano and his representative, Shawn Carter -- known in some circles as Jay Z -- had flown to Seattle presumably to accept the Mariners' nine-year, $225 million contract offer.

They awoke this morning to reports that Cano and Carter may have overplayed their hand and antagonized the Mariners by demanding 10 years at either $252 million or $260 million, as reported by various news outlets. (It should be recalled that Cano had asked the Yankees for $252 million over nine years, the same amount his friend and "mentor," Alex Rodriguez, had gotten for 10 years with the Texas Rangers, plus a vesting option for a 10th year at an additional $28 million.)

Baseball sources Andrew Marchand and myself have spoken to this morning say they have heard the same reports, but caution that it doesn't necessarily mean the talks are dead. Then again, it might well be a ploy by Cano and his reps -- Brodie Van Wagenen is the one bonafide baseball agent involved -- to "scare" the Yankees into upping their seven-year, $170 million offer, or a way to escape their flirtation with the Mariners and return to the Yankees, where many believe Cano really wants to play, with a minimal loss of face.

In any event, this is what one baseball executive said to me today: "If this is true, I've never seen a more amateurish, clumsy negotiation in my life. You don't make an appointment with a team, lead them to believe you're going to accept their offer, and then demand more. This ain't the music business."