Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has already traded away catcher Mike Zunino and ace James Paxton since the final out of the World Series, so one would figure Seattle will keep dealing to kickstart its rebuilding effort.
But moving another franchise cornerstone, Robinson Cano, may prove more difficult.
In a story for The Athletic, MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mariners are "actively trying" to trade Cano this offseason, and have already engaged in discussions with the Yankees and Mets about a deal. The problem lies in Cano's contract; he's still owed $120 million over the next five seasons and owns a full no-trade clause. Cano also is not far removed from the 80-game suspension he served last season for violating MLB's joint drug policy.
Cano would probably make the most sense in pinstripes, again, if he does wind up going anywhere. A return to the Bronx might be one locale that convinces the veteran to waive that no-trade clause, and of course the Yankees have more financial resources than most other teams. Rosenthal reported that the Mariners and Yankees touched upon a trade involving Cano and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury -- who is still owed $47.2 million in the next two seasons and also possesses a no-trade clause -- earlier this offseason, but those talks stalled after the Yankees wanted the Mariners to throw in additional cash. The Yankees worked hard to get under the competitive balance tax, and so it would seem unlikely that they would take on the lion's share of Cano's remaining money when he would probably need significant at-bats as a designated hitter -- a position Giancarlo Stanton already frequents.
Rosenthal adds that the Mets are an even more unlikely suitor, considering that their front office is penciling in Jeff McNeil at second base and top prospect Peter Alonso at first in the years to come. The only way Cano goes to Queens, in Rosenthal's eyes, is if Seattle takes on the money owed to Cano and throws in a top prospect -- and Seattle already owns one of the worst farm systems in baseball.
Put simply, the Mariners are motivated to trade Cano. But while saying goodbye to a star of his caliber would be hard, it may be even tougher to find a new home for the star slugger.