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Yankees standing pat while Mariners come out swinging for Cano

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The New York Yankees may finally have some real competition in their quest to re-sign their star second baseman Robinson Cano.

ESPN’s Wally Matthews reported on Tuesday afternoon that the Seattle Mariners have emerged as a “major player” in the sweepstakes for Cano, and may be willing to top $200 million and eight years in an effort to lure the market’s top free agent away from New York. So far, the Yankees have been unwilling to offer Cano more than a seven-year contract, and do not appear willing to spend $200 million on the five-time All-Star.

Matthews indicated that his source believed that as of right now, the Yankees’ odds of retaining Cano are “less than 50-50.”

Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik refused to confirm whether his team met with Cano, instead indicating that they have "talked to everybody.”

A ]spokesperson for Cano indicated that the All-Star’s agent was meeting with another team Tuesday afternoon. While they would not specify the team, the spokesperson told ESPN, “It’s a big, big meeting.”

One thing is for certain. The team having a “big, big meeting” with Cano’s representatives is not the New York Yankees. The two sides have had no contact since last Tuesday, when the Yankees presented Cano with a contract believed to be worth $160 million over seven years. Cano reportedly asked for a nine-year, $252 million pact with a vesting option for a 10th season.

As one source told ESPN, the Yankees believe their offer for Cano is more than fair, indicating that he would receive a higher average annual value than even Derek Jeter. In fact, the only Yankee who would have a higher per-year salary than Cano would be embattled third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

While it does appear that the Yankees will keep their offer at seven years for Cano, though they may be willing to increase the value slightly. However, one source indicated that the team is wary about going more than seven years for Cano, who just turned 31 years old, due to their history of bad contracts, the most notable of which was the 10-year, $275 million deal given to Rodriguez.

With another major player in the sweepstakes, and the Texas Rangers still believed to be angling for a shot at the All-Star second baseman, the odds of Cano returning to the Bronx continue to grow increasingly longer by the day. By the time the Winter Meetings begin, it is entirely possible that Cano could be all but certain to head to the American League West.

Dan is Examiner.com’s beat writer for the New York Yankees and the Trenton Thunder. Follow him on Twitter at @danpfeiffer74 for all the latest New York Yankees news.

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