Robinson Cano's reps meet with Mets, but deal for top FA unlikely
Robinson Cano's agents dine with the Mets, but there is very little chance the Mets come up with the top free-agent prize's price.
The Mets do like Cano, and one high-ranking Mets official ranked Cano as the one player on the market worth $100 million in an interview with CBSSports.com a couple weeks ago.
But how likely is it that the Mets steal the top free agent from the Yankees? Not very.
It's nice they all dined at a fancy spot in Manhattan. And they probably had a good time. And maybe there's a dinner or two more in their futures. But a deal? Big long shot.
First of all, Cano would have to be willing to leave a team that's averaged 96 victories for the past 18 seasons for one that hasn't posted a winning record since setting up shop at Citi Field five years ago. The Mets have made brief runs at top Yankees before, and they haven't been able to lure them to Queens. They tried with Jorge Posada when he was a free agent, and they offered a five-year deal, forcing the Yankees to up their bid a bit to four years, but in the end they couldn't win the day.
Maybe the same will happen here. Maybe the Yankees up the bid to closer to $200 million. There seems to be room to go. It's hard to see Cano signing for less than Mark Teixeira ($180 million, eight years).
Anyway, it'll be a tough sell for the Mets. Cano saw the adulation heaped on all-time great closer Mariano Rivera as Rivera's career came to a close last year, and he's been around Monument Park and the Yankees' hype machine his whole life. It's true a move to the Mets could allow Cano to keep hanging with his new BFF (Jay Z), and that seems to be a plus for the player. But if Cano is the crossover star marketing-savvy Jay Z thinks he is, then the second baseman is probably worth more as a Yankee.
The bigger issue, though, is the contract money. While the Mets have the money to make it happen and are primed to be profitable in coming years based on expiring contracts, not to mention a franchise value that's zoomed through the roof with the Dodgers' sale for $2.15 billion, they remain skittish in free agency after some bad experiences.
Carlos Beltran at $119 million worked out, and you might even say Pedro Martinez worked for awhile at $53 million. But they struck out with Jason Bay for $66 million, Oliver Perez for $36 million and Luis Castillo for $25 million.
And Cano may well cost close to the $299 million they spent on those five Mets free agents to get him to come to the Queens.
The Mets didn't even get to meet about Shin-Soo Choo and Stephen Drew at the GM Meetings in Orlando (they apparently couldn't be squeezed in on agent Scott Boras' busy calendar). So maybe they were just happy to take this meeting.
But after Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said at the GM Meetings he couldn't see the Mets signing another nine-figure player, Cano seems like quite the long shot. And after Wilpon called the asking prices "scary," it seems like an even longer shot. And Wilpon wasn't even talking about Cano's $310 million asking price with the Yankees. He was taking about prices less than half that attached to Choo and others.
Cano and the Yankees are at standstill at the moment, with Cano holding at $310 million and the Yankees still offering about $160 million, so both sides are looking around. There's no question there's going to be interest. He is unquestionably the best player on the free-agent market, so stories suggesting otherwise are just downright silly.
But the question here is whether Cano really could move crosstown to the Mets.
The reality is, the Mets are a rebuilding team, and Cano doesn't exactly fit. He's 31, and the Mets' timetable for contending appears to be at least a year away, especially with Matt Harvey presumably out for next season after Tommy John surgery.
The Mets are thrilled to finally have Bay and Johan Santana finally off the books, and while it's true they have a little spending money, it's the longest of long shots that they spend it all now -- and more -- on a Yankee, no less.