Robinson Cano still has one year left on his on his contract with the New York Yankees but that doesn't mean his agent Scott Boras hasn't already started to draw a line in the sand.
While the Yankees have more pressing concerns — like resigning steady performers like Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettite and Mariano Rivera with short-term pacts — there is the conundrum of what to do with Cano. The easy-going second baseman — who becomes a free agent after next season— is the pinstriped elephant in the room and the outcome of his deal could have ramifications clear through 2024.
The Yankees want to retain their best all-round player but keeping the bottom line on staying under the $189 million luxury tax cap in 2014 and, at the same time, avoid getting stuck with a pricey, long-term commitment like they gave to Alex Rodriguez.
The 30-year-old Cano has already told teammates he expects to sign a ten-year deal and you know Boras is looking at getting the most bucks for his client.
A confidant of Cano has told The New York Post that the player thinks he has already taken a discount once to sign long term and will not do so again.
Before the 2008 season, Cano signed a six-year, $57 million contract once two option seasons were picked up. That final option is for $15 million in 2013 after which he becomes a free agent. Cano could have become a free agent after the 2011 season without signing that deal.
Boras said he spoke with both Yankees president Randy Levine and general manager Brian Cashman but, as is Yankees policy about not talking terms until a contract is over, he believes Cano will play out this season before any serious negotiations begin.
Using the contentious negotiations with Derek Jeter two years ago and the bloated mega-contract of Rodriguez as learning tools, the Yankees are probably hopeful they can come to some kind of middle ground.
On the other hand, Boras thinks that as the franchise value and revenue rises so should its most valuable player's salary — comparably.
All the agent has to do is point to first basemen like Prince Fielder (nine years, $214 million) and Joey Votto (10 years, $225 million) as examples.
When we last saw Cano, he was lounging in the dugout, sporting a 3-for-40 postseason, looking like he didn't have a care in the world.
It will be interesting to see if the Yankees learned anything from dealing with Jeter and A-Rod. The Yankees organization might be going back to school once again.