NEW YORK -- As Robinson Cano winged it to the West Coast to talk with the Mariners, Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said that his club has not quit on the idea of retaining the All-Star second baseman.
ESPN Deportes reported on Thursday that the Mariners were willing to offer a contract of as much as 10 years and $230 million to $240 million for the 31-year-old Cano. That would far exceed the Yankees' offer to Cano, believed to have been seven years at $160 million to $170 million.
By Friday morning, however, the talks between Cano and the Mariners reportedly had broken down. The New York Daily News reported that when Cano and his representatives met with Seattle on Thursday, an eight-year, $200 million deal was on the table with assurances that the Mariners would go to nine years and $225 million if Cano agreed to sign with them. But then Jay-Z, the head of the Roc Nation Sports outfit to which Cano is linked, demanded 10 years and $252 million.
That ended the meeting and the talks, the Daily News reported Friday morning, though Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network and FoxSports.com reported soon after that a source told him that discussions remain alive.
Meanwhile, in New York on Thursday ...
"Look, we're still talking," Steinbrenner said at Yankee Stadium, where the club was introducing new catcher Brian McCann. "Nobody has given up. We're still talking, but obviously we're a decent distance apart. We're just going to have to see, day by day. That's all we can do."
Cano's representative at CAA Sports, Brodie Van Wagenen, met with a contingent of Yankees officials that included team president Randy Levine and general manager Brian Cashman before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Cashman said that he has also talked with Jay-Z, including an in-person meeting at Jay-Z's Manhattan office. But with a gap of nearly $100 million remaining between the sides, discussions stalled.
True to their word, the Yankees have advanced on other business, including signing McCann to a five-year, $85 million deal and reaching an agreement on a seven-year, $153 million pact with outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
"We're not waiting for Robbie. Robbie is not waiting for us," Cashman said. "We're out there trying to sign players. We've been trying to sign him as well, but we have a lot of needs. Obviously I know McCann would love to have Robbie as a teammate, and we would love to have Robbie as a Yankee.
"But at the same time, there's a lot of guys we'd like to have in here as well and there's a lot of needs we have to fill. We're aggressively trying to pursue a number of players and we have offers out for a number of players."
Steinbrenner said that if Cano signs elsewhere, the Yankees would have to fill that hole. They have touched base with free agent Omar Infante and recently agreed to sign veteran Kelly Johnson. It is possible they could also explore a trade for the Reds' Brandon Phillips, but they'd prefer to keep Cano.
"It would make a big difference," Steinbrenner said. "Robbie is one of the best players in baseball, no doubt about it. He's been a great player and he's been a great Yankee. We're going to keep plugging away until it either happens or it doesn't."
Steinbrenner said that he would hope Cano's representatives would give the Yankees a chance to match any offer Cano received.
"I would hope, given the history and given that he came up through this organization, that would be the case," Steinbrenner said. "These are good guys that he's got. I can't answer that, only they can, but I would think so and hope so."
However, Cashman was not so certain that the Yankees would be extended that courtesy.
"There's no understandings that, 'Hey, we'll come back in the end,' or anything like that," Cashman said.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he has not had a chance to speak with Cano, but he understands the very real possibility that Cano may not appear on any of the lineup cards Girardi fills out in 2014.
"Whenever someone enters free agency, you have to think about the possibility that they may not be here," Girardi said. "And I know our club has negotiated very hard with Robinson Cano, and has made fair offers to Robinson Cano.
"I can't tell you what's going to happen. Robbie's been a great player here since he arrived in May of 2005. But I've always said, it takes two to tango."
It was a little more than two weeks ago that both Cashman and Levine voiced comments to the effect that the highest bidder would likely secure Cano's services. More and more, it sounds like the Yankees are uncertain they will have Cano's highest offer on the table at the end of the process.
"At the end of the day, we will have or have put forward already offers that we are very comfortable with -- and higher than where we thought we would be to try to retain him," Cashman said. "At some point, based on all the information he receives, he'll make decisions for him and his family. All I can tell you is, I hope it's us. I can't guarantee it."