FILE PHOTO: New York Yankees Robinson Cano reacts to a strike call against the Tampa Bay Rays during the seventh inning of their MLB American League baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, July 27, 2013. REUTERS/Adam Hunger
The Seattle Mariners contacted the New York Yankees and Mets to gauge interest in acquiring Robinson Cano, according to a report by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
Cano, 36, is owed $120 million on his current contract, the remainder of 10-year, $240 million deal signed in 2013.
He slashed .317/.363/.497 in 40 games after serving an 80-game suspension for violating the performance-enhancing drugs policy last season, but faces an uncertain position future in Seattle.
The Mariners acquired speedy outfielder Mallex Smith from the Tampa Bay Rays, providing the flexibility to move Dee Gordon back to second base full time. That would push Cano toward a first base/designated hitter role. He saw time at those spots, second and even third base after returning in August.
The Mets aren’t likely to block the path of prospects to have the aging Cano in the lineup, and the DH role isn’t an option in the National League. Cano spent his first nine seasons with the Yankees before signing with the Mariners in 2014, but his salary would be a lot for the team to take on and the Mariners previously balked at taking on Jacoby Ellsbury’s salary in the James Paxton deal.
The Mariners aren’t expected to re-sign free agent designated hitter Nelson Cruz as general manager Jerry Dipoto has admitted the team is taking a step back in 2019 to retool for the long term. He has already traded Paxton, the team’s left-handed ace, to the Yankees and catcher Mike Zunino to the Rays.
However, Dipoto would have to be “completely overwhelmed” by an offer to part with outfielder Mitch Haniger or fellow All-Star closer Edwin Diaz, according to a report by ESPN.
Haniger, 27, finished 11th in the AL MVP voting after hitting .285 with 26 home runs in 2018 and is under club control through the 2022 season. Diaz is coming off one of the best seasons in MLB history for a closer, with the 24-year-old recording 57 saves to go with a 1.96 ERA in 73 1/3 innings.
—Field Level Media