The Seattle Mariners appear to have signed baseball’s top free agent this off-season, second baseman Robinson Cano, to a 10-year, $240-million US contract.
The team said Friday morning it wouldn't confirm details of a potential signing and would announce if an agreement is "completed and finalized" with the New York Yankees star.
Talks reportedly had broken down early Friday morning after Cano and his agent, rapper and recording producer Jay-Z, had flown to Seattle Thursday night to meet with upper-level Mariners management.
According to reports, the 31-year-old Cano will undergo a physical on Monday. He spent the first nine seasons of his major league career with the New York Yankees and is a five-time all-star.
ESPN also reported that the Mariners gave Cano a full no-trade clause.
Cano's reported deal would be one of the largest in baseball history and a coup for a franchise that's gone a dozen years since making the post-season. It would bring creditability for the Mariners after striking out in the past in their pursuits of big free agents like Prince Fielder and Josh Hamilton.
Last season, Cano posted a .314 batting average, 27 home runs, 107 runs batted in and .899 on-base-plus slugging percentage to finish fifth in American League MVP voting.
He is a workhorse, having averaged 160 games played over the past five seasons.
Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera and Cano are the only players to hit .300 with at least 25 home runs in each of the last five seasons.
Adding Cano is a step in the right direction for a Seattle club that was 12th in the AL last season in runs scored.
The Yankees were said to be willing to offer a seven-year contract worth $175 million, but had already signed former Boston outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury for seven years and $153 million and one-time Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann to a five-year, $85.5 million pact.
The Mariners have plenty of money to work with as only ace starting pitcher Felix Hernandez ($22 million) and Hisashi Iwakuma ($6.5 million) are making significant money next season.
But finalizing a deal with Cano won't solve all of Seattle's problems. It's a start, immediately adding a legitimate slugger to the middle of a lineup that finally showed some pop last season after years of floundering with one of the worst offences in baseball.
The Mariners have plenty of other problems to solve, including adding another established starter to their rotation and finding solutions for an outfield filled with questions.
Recently, they have been linked to Tampa Bay Rays ace left-hander David Price, who has two years left on his contract. Many believe Seattle has the prospects to get a deal done, including pitching prospect Taijuan Walker and second baseman Nick Franklin.