Expect the MLB offseason market action to pick up following Thanksgiving weekend and heading into the winter meetings from Dec. 9-12. There has already been a few notable signings, like Brian McCann and Jason Vargas, but virtually all of the top free agents are still available on the market.
Here's a look at the latest news and rumors concerning three of the top hitters looking for new deals this winter.
Robinson Cano, 2B
Since September, Robinson Cano and his negotiating team had reportedly been holding firm to their asking price of more than $300 million over a 10-year contract.
But according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, Cano and the Yankees met on Tuesday to discuss a new deal:
According to source, the $310M demand from Cano's side remained until Tuesday, though it was lowered "very slightly." Sides still far apart.— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) November 27, 2013
While it doesn't sound like a new contract is imminent, Feinsand also reported the two sides will meet again shortly:
Source: Yankees and Cano's camp spoke but did not meet again Wednesday. Will pick up talks again after the holiday weekend.— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) November 27, 2013
The Yankees have been a favorite to retain Cano all offseason long, and it's still looking that way. But it's encouraging that Cano's camp has been able to realize its outlandish expectations and lower its asking price, no matter how small.
Even though the Yankees have already inked McCann to a five-year deal that could reach $100 million with incentives, sources have told Feinsand it "doesn't impact Cano" even as the team tries to get under the $189 million luxury-tax salary-cap figure.
Shin-Soo Choo, OF
Could Shin-Soo Choo be headed back to the Cleveland Indians?
Nick Camino of WTAM 1100 radio in Cleveland recently cited sources who said Choo would be interested in rejoining the Indians:
Sources tell me that Shin Soo Choo would "love" to return to the Indians.— Nick Camino (@NickCamiinoWTAM) November 27, 2013
Choo played in Cleveland from 2006-12 and established himself as an everyday force in the lineup by the 2008 season. But the two parted ways for 2013, as Choo became one of baseball's top leadoff hitters with the Cincinnati Reds (.285/.423/.462 slash line, 21 home runs, 54 RBI) and the Indians made a magical run to claim an AL wild-card spot.
Are the Indians a Good Match for Choo?
It would be interesting to see where Choo would fit in Cleveland's lineup. Michael Bourn is about to start a four-year, $48 million contract, and he spent last year as the team's leadoff hitter and center fielder, the two spots Choo held in Cincinnati.
Choo, 31, might be better served to play one of the corner outfield spots, where he would be an upgrade over Michael Brantley and/or Drew Stubbs, who are both arbitration eligible this winter.
With Scott Boras as his agent, Choo is due for a big raise. Earlier this offseason, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said the team would be aggressive after annual revenues were up 20 percent, so it will be interesting to see if there will be a Choo-Cleveland reunion.
Mike Napoli, 1B
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports recently painted a dim picture on the recent pursuits made by the Seattle Mariners in free agency.
Are the Mariners a Good Fit for Napoli?
In a report that characterized the team as "desperate," Rosenthal cited Seattle sources who said the team is interested in signing first baseman Mike Napoli to a free-agent deal, and that it might take extra money to lure him to the Pacific Northwest.
The Mariners reportedly had interest in Napoli as a free agent last year, per Bob Dutton of The News Tribune, but backed off over injury concerns. Now that Napoli has made the switch from catcher to first base and is fully healthy, he could be counted on to bring some power to an offense that desperately needs it.
Seattle's top two sluggers from a year ago, Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez, are both free agents, so the team could use a power bat like Napoli's. Rosenthal said the Mariners are also interested in other big names available like Choo, Nelson Cruz and Jacoby Ellsbury.