The Seattle Mariners have emerged as a major player in the sweepstakes for free agent Robinson Cano, according to several sources who spoke to ESPNNewYork.com on Tuesday on the condition of anonymity.

With the New York Yankees not wanting to offer Cano more than a seven-year contract or as much as $200 million, an industry source with knowledge of the negotiations put the Yankees chances of retaining their five-time All-Star second baseman at "less than 50-50."

"It doesn't look too good right now," said the source.

Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik refused to confirm a meeting with Cano.

"We've talked to everybody," Mariners GM Jack Zduiencik told ESPNNewYork's Andrew Marchand on Tuesday. "There's not a free agent we haven't talked to. We've cast a wide net.''

Sources familiar with the negotiations between the Yankees and Cano told ESPNNewYork.com that the Yankees believe Seattle might be willing to offer Cano a $200 million deal over eight years.

One of the sources said the Mariners were "desperate for hitting and desperate to put people in the ballpark."

"I wouldn't presume to say that there's no one out there that will meet (Cano's) demands,'' said another, who named Seattle -- along with possibly the Texas Rangers -- as a team that might be willing to outbid the Yankees for Cano's services.

"Now it's a question of, does (Cano) want to be a Yankee, or is he just about the money?," said a baseball insider.

According to sources, the Yankees believe they learned the answer when it was reported in October that Cano's side had demanded a 10-year deal worth $310 million. Cano has since said he never made any such demand.

Cano's agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, did not respond to a request for comment, and a Cano spokesman said the agent was meeting with another team Tuesday afternoon. The spokesman would not specify the team, but said, "It's a big, big meeting.''

The Yankees have had no contact with Cano or his representatives since last Tuesday, when they presented Cano with an offer believed to be for seven years and $160 million. At the same meeting, the Cano side was said to have lowered its demands slightly; it has since been reported Cano is asking for $252 million over nine years with a vesting option for a 10th year at $28 million.

The Yankees are said to be willing to increase their offer, but not substantially; an insider said the club might be willing to go to $175 million over seven years, an average salary of $25 million.