Cano's agent, Scott Boras, has made it clear that he won't ignore lucrative offers from other clubs but, at the same time, informed the Yankees he won't ignore overtures from them.
The Yankees might have to shift away from their policy of not extending contracts before they are up if the team doesn't want to lose their Hall of Fame-caliber player still in his prime.
With the remnants of Alex Rodriguez's bloated 10-year contract and Boras' penchant for testing the free agent waters on his mind, Hal Steinbrenner sounds ready to break the Yankees' routine.
"We expressed to Scott what a great Yankee [Cano] has been and we hope he continues his career here for a long time to come. We indicated to him on a very preliminary basis that we were willing to consider a significant long-term contract," Steinbrenner told reporters after the team’s workout yesterday. The talks were held before camp opened. "Nothing has happened and there is nothing to report since then."
Boras reminded Steinbrenner that there will be plenty of money floating available outside the Bronx, but he will be listening to the Yankees jingle their pockets.
"I told Hal, Randy [Levine] and Cash [Brian Cashman] it's something we will have a conversation about," said Boras.
Two weeks ago, Steinbrenner said he hoped Cano would be in pinstripes "his entire career" but is still not committing to anything in stone. And he's done it before.
The Yankees didn't negotiate with Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera or Jorge Posada until they were free to go. Even Derek Jeter went through contentious talks with Steinbrenner when the Captain was a free agent two years ago.
"The main purpose of the conversation was to let [Boras] know that we want Robby to continue to be a Yankee and we appreciate all of his contributions," he said yesterday.
The Yankees maintain they have enough cash to keep their All-Star but Boras doesn't want the constant whirl of contract rumors disrupting his client's focus during his take it or leave it season.
"If we do talk, it will be done very privately," said Boras. "There will not be something to report until it's reported. Robbie wants to play without distractions."
Good luck with that, Scottie.