As rumors surfaced that the Mariners were interested in Robinson Cano, another star the Mariners were thought to be interested in is apparently off the market.
Multiple outlets have reported that outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury will sign a seven-year, $153 million contract with the New York Yankees.
There had been reports the Mariners would pursue Ellsbury because of their need for outfielders and his Northwest ties, having been born and raised in Madras, Ore., and playing for Oregon State. However, a source within the Mariners said their interest in Ellsbury was overstated. The asking price and long-term commitment was simply too great for a 30-year-old outfielder with a history of injuries.
The Ellsbury news surfaced a few hours after a report from ESPN New York was posted saying, “The Mariners have emerged as players for Robinson Cano.”
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The report cited baseball sources and Yankees sources, who said the Mariners might be willing to meet Cano’s contract demands of eight years, $200 million. The Yankees offered the second baseman a seven-year, $170 million contract last week.
Mariners sources wouldn’t confirm any such offer, but did say that general manager Jack Zduriencik had met with Cano’s representatives.
Zduriencik was quoted in the story, saying “There’s not a free agent we haven’t talked to.”
Reports from New York said the Yankees still have enough budgeted to re-sign Cano, even after signing Ellsbury, if Cano would agree to a contract of around $170 million to $180 million.
The Texas Rangers were also rumored to have interest in Cano, but not at the $200 million price tag.
According to sources, the Mariners are more interested in signing outfielder Shin-Soo Choo than Ellsbury. Choo, once a Mariners prospect, was infamously traded to Cleveland by general manager Bill Bavasi for first baseman/DH Ben Broussard in 2006. Broussard washed out of baseball three years later and Choo became a productive player with the Indians. Now he and his agent, Scott Boras, are asking for a five-year, $100 million contract. But the Mariners will have competition for Choo. Both the Rangers and Tigers have shown strong interest.
The Mariners are in dire need of outfield depth and have been considering lesser known free agents like Rajai Davis.
Seattle is also in search of another starting pitcher. Oakland’s signing of left-hander Scott Kazmir to a two-year, $22 million contract could help the Mariners land Bartolo Colon. With the Kazmir signing, it seems likely that the A’s will not re-sign Colon.
The Mariners have had discussions with his representatives. The Athletics were willing to give Colon a one-year deal. But at age 40, he believes he can pitch for three more years. For the Mariners to sign him, they will likely have to give him at least a two-year deal.
Dan Wilson is slowly becoming more of a presence within the Mariners organization. On Tuesday, the team announced that Wilson has been named the Mariners’ roving minor-league catching coordinator.
Wilson will start at spring training, working with catchers at all levels. He’ll continue that through the minor-league season. Roving coordinators make multiple appearances at each of the Mariners’ affiliates during a season.
Ryan Divish: 206-464-2373 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @RyanDivish