The free-agent market remains a hotbed of activity. Teams around Major League Baseball are searching for the right players to fill roster voids, but it comes down to getting the best value possible, which means some situations drag out.
As always, the biggest question is whether shelling out a monster contract will be a sound investment over the long haul. It's a debate the New York Yankees are going through concerning Robinson Cano, the biggest prize available this offseason.
With that in mind, let's check out the latest buzz from around the league involving Cano and a couple of other notable free agents.
Cano remains one of the most reliable hitters in baseball. He's tallied at least 25 home runs in each of the past five seasons while maintaining a career average of .309. He's also done it at a position not known for MVP-level offensive producers.
It's no surprise he's seeking a big, long-term deal.
Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports Cano's side backed off its initial demand of $310 million, but only slightly. The difference between what he wants and what the Yankees are hoping to pay is still substantial.
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
It would still be a surprise if Cano ends up signing with a team other than the Yankees. The fit is good, and New York can give him a sizable contract—just not as huge as his initial asking price. That said, it's likely going to take some time for the situation to sort itself out, so expect some twists and turns.
Mike Napoli was a key cog for the Boston Red Sox during their run to a championship. Other teams took note of the impact he made, so he's entering free agency at a good time. One such squad is the Miami Marlins, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Source: #Marlins have discussed Napoli internally and could enter mix at right price. Napoli is South Florida native and good friends ...— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 26, 2013
Contracts considered, which player will be the best FA value?
The key words are "right price." The Marlins finished in the NL East basement, 34 games off the pace set by the Atlanta Braves. It wouldn't make much sense for them to give Napoli a deal above market value when they are several moves away from contending.
Moving forward, if Napoli doesn't get the deal he's looking for at the outset, Miami will likely become a more serious suitor for his services. He would certainly provide a boost to an offense that racked up 85 runs fewer than any other team in 2013.
Phil Hughes has a mundane 4.54 career ERA, and the mark has been over five in two of the past three seasons. While he's shown flashes of becoming a solid mid-rotation starter, his lack of consistency and tendency to give up too many homers have held him back.
At 27, he should be entering his prime. Teams might think they can snag him at a reasonable price, help him sort out those issues with home runs and watch him flourish. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN states the Minnesota Twins are one team considering that possibility.
Now that Ricky Nolasco is in the fold, #twins are likely to turn their attention to Phil Hughes, says a baseball source.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) November 28, 2013
The Twins allowed the second-most runs in baseball last season, so it comes as no surprise they are trying to revamp their rotation. Hughes obviously isn't a lock to provide a boost, but he's certainly worth taking a chance on as long as the asking price is reasonable.