So it’s happening.
The Mariners are really closing in on a massive, franchise-changing agreement with free-agent second baseman Robinson Cano.
At 10 years for $240 million.
Enrique Rojas of ESPNDesportes.com broke the news early Friday, but it was quickly verified by other outlets. The deal is pending a routine physical, tentatively scheduled for Monday.
It’s a game-changer for the Mariners. Also a huge gamble.
The agreement came after talks broke off late Thursday when Jay Z, who represents Cano, asked the Mariners to boost a nine-year offer at $225 million to 10 years for $252 million.
The Mariners balked — largely because their offer was already roughly $50 million more than the Yankees (or anyone else, for that matter) appeared willing to offer.
“What Jay Z tried to do is what (Scott) Boras got (Rangers owner Tom) Hicks to do with A-Rod (after the 2000 season),” a top agent said. “He tried to get the Mariners to bid against themselves.”
But a night’s sleep appears to have bridged the gap. The Mariners boosted their offer, and Cano/Jay Z realized they weren’t going to get anything close to it from any other team.
The prevailing view throughout the industry is the deal, considered in isolation, is an outrageous overpayment — even for one of the game’s best players.
Even so, some observers defend it as an investment to get the franchise turned around. One likened it to a store slashing prices on a popular item in order to get customers into the building.
“The gamble,” one said, “is how many good years do you think you can get out of Cano? Are five enough? Seven? Do you think you’ll get enough to offset (what is likely to be) a poor investment?”
Cano, 31, is a five-time All-Star who produced a .314/.383/.516 slash last season while hitting 27 homers and driving in 107 runs. He has averaged 28 homers, 103 RBIs and a .314 average over the last five seasons.
His addition could also have a chain-reaction effect by dispelling the view that top free agents aren’t willing to come to Seattle.
“That’s bull,” another agent said. “Players haven’t wanted to come to Seattle over the last few years because they haven’t been very good. If the team is good, and the team is willing to pay, there’s no reason they can’t get players.
“What this whole thing proves is they’re willing to pay. You get one key guy, and everything changes.”
Everything just changed.