Robinson Cano seemed to be next in line as the player to wear pinstripes for his entire career, all set to follow the path laid before him by mentors named Jeter, Posada and Rivera.
And then the Seattle Mariners blew him away with an offer of financial and career security the New York Yankees never came close to matching.
"I was looking for a contract where I would just be able to play and focus on the game and wouldn't wonder when I'm 37, 38 would I have a job one day. Would I be able to play?" Cano said. "The one thing in Seattle is I get the chance. Am I going to keep working hard? Yes. Even harder? Yes."
Cano never stopped smiling Thursday as he was introduced as the Mariners' new All-Star second baseman. He had reason to grin after signing a $240 million deal that tied for the fourth largest in baseball history. He has security for the next 10 years knowing that at age 31, he'll likely never go through the process of needing to seek another contact.
Cano felt the Yankees lacked in their efforts to keep him. Asked if he ever thought he'd leave New York, Cano said, "Honestly, no." Later, Cano said he never felt the Yankees wanted him back.
"I didn't feel respect. I didn't get respect from them, and I didn't see any effort," Cano said.
The Yankees' top offer was $175 million over seven years.
Tigers: Reliever Joba Chamberlain and Detroit agreed to terms on a one-year contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. The hard-throwing right-hander was 2-1 with one save in 45 games and a career-high 4.93 ERA last season for the New York Yankees.
Red Sox: Boston finalized its two-year deal with first baseman Mike Napoli, bringing back one of the biggest hitters from the World Series team. Napoli will earn $32 million through 2015.
Phillies: A person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press that right-hander Roberto Hernandez and Philadelphia agreed to a one-year contract. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because an agreement has not been completed and the player must pass a physical.
Nationals: Outfielder Nate McLouth has passed his physical and signed his two-year contract with Washington. McLouth, 32, was a starter with the Baltimore Orioles this year, but in Washington he'll be the spare outfielder.
Trade: The Cubs and Marlins swapped outfielders, with Justin Ruggiano bound for Chicago and Brian Bogusevic headed to Miami.