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Mets rumored to be “aggressive” on a Robinson Cano trade

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An actual deal is still a “long shot,” but the Mets remain in pursuit of the aging star.

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Seattle Mariners v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

The Mariners have been very active in the trade market already this winter, looking to sell off some of their valuable pieces and reimagine their roster. They have already dealt catcher Mike Zunino to the Rays and front line pitcher James Paxton to the Yankees. And they’re not done yet. The biggest challenge of all for general manager Jerry Dipoto will be unloading Robinson Cano’s contract. He is owed $120 million over the next five seasons and is coming off an 80-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs in his age 35 season. However, Cano—now 36 years old—has shown that he is still a productive hitter. He posted a 136 wRC+ over 348 plate appearances in 2018, straddling the time he was suspended. He was an All Star as recently as 2017 and remains an above average fielder at second base. After establishing himself as a star with the Yankees, the Mariners inked Cano to a 10-year, $240 million contract in 2013—at the time the fourth largest contract in major league history.

Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal reported that the Mariners have been in contact with both the Mets and the Yankees regarding Cano and those rumors appear to be escalating. Rosenthal cited a source that said for the Mets to consider taking the bait on Cano, the Mariners would have to eat a significant portion of his remaining contract. Today, Andy Martino of SNY cites a rival executive who says the Mets are being “aggressive” on Cano. Part of that aggressive pursuit likely involves trying to convince the Mariners to sweeten the pot—in the form of eating money, pairing Cano with another player, such as young closer Edwin Diaz, taking on a burdensome contract from the Mets, such as that of outfielder Jay Bruce, or a combination of these.

In the vein of trading bad contract for bad contract, the Yankees and Mariners reportedly briefly discussed a Cano for Jacoby Ellsbury swap, but those talks never gained traction. But the Yankees remain in the mix and haven’t ruled out renewing discussions on Cano. As for the Mets themselves, they remain tight lipped on the topic, but are clearly considering the possibility. Taking on the bulk of a contract as hefty as Cano’s seems foolhardy for a team in the Mets’ financial situation and has the potential to hamstring them down the line. However, there are still several unknowns involved, such as exactly who the Mets would be sending to Seattle, and perhaps the Mariners eat enough money or dangle an attractive enough additional player for the Mets to pull the trigger.

A trade that would send Cano to New York—either back in pinstripes or in orange and blue—is definitely not seen as imminent or even likely at this stage, but talks remain ongoing with both New York clubs.