11:00pm: The Mariners are indeed ramping up their pursuit of Cabrera, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman adds that the Mariners are believed to be willing to offer something similar to the four-year, $57MM contract they used to lure Cruz to the Emerald City. He also notes that the White Sox, Reds, Royals and Giants have all been linked to Cabrera.
Heyman, too, notes that Cabrera is seeking a five-year commitment, and if that’s the case despite the Mariners possibly being willing to offer north of $50MM over four years, it seems possible that his asking price is closer to $60MM. That, of course, is solely my own speculation. Earlier this offseason I pegged Cabrera for a five-year pact worth roughly $66MM in his free agent profile.
7:07pm: The Mariners are showing increased interest in free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports. Seattle is reportedly in the market for a right-handed bat, but GM Jack Zduriencik recently noted that a switch-hitter would hold particular appeal.
Cabrera is after a five-year deal with a guarantee of over $50MM, Dutton adds. Though the 30-year-old has been said to have an interest in playing somewhere on the east side of the country, sources tell Dutton that the 30-year-old is now willing to consider a broader geographical range.
Seattle’s interest goes beyond the fact that Cabrera is now the best free agent bat left unsigned. The club believes he would make a good fit in the two hole, a slot that it had considered filling with Torii Hunter before he joined the Twins. Matt Kemp, a trade target that the M’s are weighing, may not be an optimal fit in that lineup spot, Dutton writes.
Further, the Mariners would hold an advantage over some other possible suitors because they have already given up their first-round draft choice by signing Nelson Cruz. The qualifying offer-bound Cabrera would only cost Seattle its second-round choice at this point.