Representatives for marquee free agent second baseman Robinson Cano engaged the New York Mets in an effort to drum up interest and potentially a rival bidder for the New York Yankees' All-Star.
Cano, 31, is the prize of the 2013 offseason, but he's reportedly asking for a 10-year, $300 million contract that would trump the $275 million payday the Los Angeles Angels awarded Albert Pujols in 2011.
ESPN New York first reported that Jay-Z, a member of Cano's representation, had dinner with chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, general manager Sandy Alderson and assistant GM John Ricco for dinner Monday night to discuss Cano.
Alderson is notoriously draft-minded and wants to build around third baseman David Wright with budget-wise additions. However, ownership could see the opportunity to sign Cano as a win-win, strengthening the 2014 team while weakening the crosstown Yankees. But Wright, who received an eight-year, $138 million deal last year, is expected to remain the team's highest-paid player for the forseeable future. In Nashville at the general manager's meetings last week, Alderson said the team isn't going back to "that stratosphere" anytime soon.
Megadeals such as the one signed by Pujols and Alex Rodriguez ($275 million), the $125 million deal the Angels gave Josh Hamilton last winter -- there are many other examples, including Matt Holliday with the Cardinals, Cole Hamels with the Phillies and outfielder Carl Crawford, who received $142 million from the Boston Red Sox before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers -- have not worked well for most teams recently.
Cano and the Yankees are reportedly $150 million apart on contract terms. The Yankees are offering about $160 million over seven years.
Team president Randy Levine told ESPN that the Yankees were not planning to do a 10-year deal. Levine said the Yankees' standing offer to Cano was "very competitive."
"We want Robbie back; we think Robbie is terrific," Levine said. "But we have no interest in doing any 10-year deals and no interest in paying $300 million to any player. Until he gets a little more realistic, we have nothing to talk about."
It is not certain the Yankees will wait much longer for Cano to determine what the market outside of New York might bring.
The big-spending Dodgers ruled out signing Cano in October. The Red Sox locked up their own All-Star at second base, Dustin Pedroia, before the end of the 2013 regular season.
Levine said the Yankees remain "active" in free agency. Catcher Brian McCann, infielders Jhonny Peralta and Stephen Drew and outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury are reportedly on the radar for the Yankees.