The New York Mets and rapper Jay-Z met on Monday to discuss free-agent second baseman Robinson Cano.
MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo says the dinner took place at a high-end hotel in Manhattan. Among those in attendance were Mets owner Jeff Wilpon, general manager Sandy Alderson, assistant general manager John Ricco and Robinson’s representatives, including Jay-Z.
Adlerson says he “was just being polite” when his camp was invited by Jay-Z, who is also the founder of Roc Nation Sports, which represents Cano. Alderson says this because he knows the Mets may not have a realistic chance at signing the highly-coveted Yankees second baseman, who has a hefty price tag.
“I had said last week that I didn’t foresee contracts in the $100 million range for the Mets this offseason. I think that statement still pertains. On the other hand, we are commmitted to improving the team, and we will explore whatever possibilities arise — however remote the eventual outcome.
“It was a well-prepared presentation designed to sell us and presumably other teams on Cano’s value. We certainly have a high regard for Robinson Cano as a player. So in that sense, the presentation was a little bit overdone.”
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, the largest contract Alderson ever gave to a free agent in his four-year tenure as Mets general manager was to Frank Francisco, who earned a two-year, $12 million deal.
At the end of the 2013 MLB season, Cano was lobbying for a 10-year, $310 million contract with the Yankees, who offered a seven-year extension worth between $161 million and $168 million.
Rubin also adds the Yankees are expecting to dole out a payroll which amounts to anywhere between $85 million and $90 million. As for the Mets, they already have third baseman David Wright signed to a an eight-year, $138 million deal — making the possibility of signing Cano a far-fetched possibility.
Alderson himself affirmed this when he spoke with Rubin.
“We’ve been in that stratosphere once recently with David Wright. Those were special circumstances. I think it would be difficult to duplicate that again — not from a financial standpoint, just in terms of team building.
“I think it’s difficult to concentrate those kinds of resources into very few players. It’s not really the way you build a quality, sustainable, winning team, I don’t think.”
In an interesting twist, Yankees team president Randy Levine actuallly believes the Mets can actually pay the $300 million or so he’s asking for, per Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. Furthermore, Levine maintains his stance on not being able to pay Cano such an exorbitant amount any time soon.
“Yes. For $300 million they can.
“As Hal (Steinbrenner) has said, we have no interest in doing 10-year deals with any player or paying any player $300 million.
“We want Robbie Cano back. We think the offer we made him is very competitive and it shows that we want him to be a Yankee for a long time and be the face of the franchise. But until they come down from the $300 million, there’s really nothing to talk about.”
The 31-year-old Cano finished his ninth season in Yankees pinstripes with a .314 average, 190 hits, 27 home runs and 107 RBIs.