NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — By now, everybody knows that Jay Z, the new agent for Robinson Cano, had dinner Monday night with top officials of the New York Mets.
Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and general manager Sandy Alderson were among those there. The get-together also included sports agent Brodie Van Wagenen, but not Cano.
A five-time All-Star second baseman, Cano is a free agent. He is seeking a 10-year contract for more than $300 million from the Yankees. Alderson said last week he doubted the Mets would offer any nine-figure contracts.
So why the meeting, then?
“They requested a meeting,” Alderson said Tuesday. “We talked generally and that was it. As I said, we were approached. Having said last week that I didn’t foresee contracts in the $100 million range for the Mets this season, 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 and eventual outcome.”
Alderson called it “a very preliminary meeting” and said it included a PowerPoint, books and pamphlets.
“We certainly have a high regard for Robinson Cano as a player,” he said. “It was my sense the presentation was a little bit overdone.”
“We felt it would be useful enough for us to meet Jay Z and Brodie, whether it’s in connection with Robinson Cano or some future client that they may have,” Alderson said.
While the Mets have more money to spend after getting large contracts for Johan Santana and Jason Bay off their books, Alderson says free-agent prices have been high. He said he didn’t think his team’s payroll would be below its 2013 level of about $95 million.
“We have to be realistic about the market and not sort of deny the inevitable. If the market is as robust as it seems to be, then we have to acknowledge that,” he said, adding: “It may not be manifest yet to the average fan, the average person, but I think we are more active than we were last year.”
NOTES: The Mets signed 1B Brandon Allen to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. The 27-year-old Allen, who last played in the majors for Oakland and Tampa Bay in 2012, is a .203 career hitter with 12 homers and 41 RBIs in 116 big league games. He spent last season in San Diego’s system, batting .267 with 17 home runs and 76 RBIs for Triple-A Tucson.
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