Perhaps tired of reading and hearing that no market had yet developed for Robinson Cano, their star client, Jay Z and Roc Nation apparently are trying to build one.
But their initial move, holding a clandestine dinner meeting (without Cano) with the Mets on Monday night that quickly was leaked to the media, fell flat to that end.
Because no one actually believes, unless they're running an all-time misdirection play, that the Mets are willing to spend $100 million on anyone in this free-agent market, let alone the $300 million-plus over 10 years sources have said Cano is asking.
"I had said last week that I didn't foresee contracts in the $100-million range for the Mets this season," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said on Tuesday. "I think that statement still [pertains]. On the other hand, we are committed to improving the team. And we will explore whatever possibilities arise, however remote the eventual outcome."
As for the Yankees, they declared again Tuesday morning that they have no intention of meeting Cano's demands, and remain comfortable with their offer of seven years in the range of $170 million.
"As Hal [Steinbrenner] said, we have no interest in doing a 10-year deal, and we have no interest in paying any player over $300 million," club president Randy Levine said before a breakfast forum in lower Manhattan about the impact of sports on New York's economy. "We hope he comes back to us. We want him. But there's really no reason to have any discussions at this point until we get a little closer."
Alderson characterized the presentation from Cano's representatives as "overdone," one that included PowerPoint, booklets and pamphlets.
"It was a well-prepared presentation designed to sell us and presumably other teams on Cano's value," Alderson said. "We certainly have a high regard for Robinson Cano as a player, so in that sense, the presentation was a little bit overdone. But again, it was a very preliminary meeting. They're having, or hope to have, preliminary meetings with a number of different teams."
Levine said he is "highly skeptical" any team will pay Cano $300 million.
When asked whether he could envision the Mets prying the second baseman away from the Yankees, Levine laughed and said, "For 300 million, yes."
"I think Robbie Cano is a great player," Levine said. "We would very much like to bring him back. I think we've made a very competitive offer and we're just waiting for him to come back."
Levine reiterated what he said last week during the general managers and owners meetings in Orlando: There are other big-name free agents the Yankees are pursuing and the money isn't going to be there forever.
"We're not waiting around for anybody," Levine said. "We have a list of five or six major free agents and we're engaged with all of them and we're not waiting around. The first guys who come off the board, those are the guys we're going to sign."
Among the free agents to whom the Yankees have spoken are catcher Brian McCann, shortstops Stephen Drew and Jhonny Peralta and outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran.
The Mets aren't big-game hunting to that degree, but Alderson repeated that his club has money to spend, an amount sources have put at around $30 million, and that payroll won't fall below the $87 million spent last year.
"I don't think we are being as cautious as we have been in the past," Alderson said. "I think we're much more active than we have been in the last year or so, certainly last year, which was a tactic of ours. This year we're approaching it a little bit differently."
Notes & quotes: To insure themselves in the event Derek Jeter's ankle prevents him from playing every day, the Yankees agreed to terms with shortstop Brendan Ryan, acquired late last season from the Mariners. It's a one-year deal, pending a physical. The team remains interested in Drew and Peralta, the top shortstops on the market . . . The Mets signed first baseman Brandon Allen to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. Allen, 27, last played in the majors in 2012 with the Rays . . . The Mets announced single-game tickets go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. on Mets.com or by calling 718-507-TIXX.
With Marc Carig