Saturday, February 9, 2013

Can the Yankees make a quick deal with Cano?

Hal Steinbrenner finally came out of his castle to address the latest Alex Rodriguez drama (more on that in another blog post), but far more interesting to me is his revelation that discussions have already started to make Robinson Cano a lifelong member of the New York Yankees.

I’ve been growing increasingly pessimistic about the Yankees chances to sign Cano to a long-term deal that works for both sides ever since the Yankees second baseman hired agent Scott Boras. A major reason for this pessimism has been the Yankees’ apparently firm commitment to get below that $189 million threshold. It’s going to be incredibly difficult for the Yankees to maintain that mindset if they want to sign Cano, one of the best young players in the game of baseball, given the dollar amount Boras is likely to demand. Unless the Yankees somehow free themselves from the grasp of ARod’s suffocating contract, I don’t see how they can sign Cano and still field a competitive team (sorry, Curtis Granderson).

But Steinbrenner seemed surprisingly optimistic about the ability to sign Cano, with the Yankees owner even revealing that the Yankees were willing to break their custom of waiting until their players hit free agency to agree to contract terms. The Yankees have stuck firm to this policy in recent years, even with their future Hall of Famers Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. But I suspect Steinbrenner realizes that waiting while Cano has another big year in 2013 is going to drive the price even higher than it already is in Boras’ mind.

The two sides may still be very far apart in these negotiations and may not be able to reach a deal before Cano hits free agency. But the fact that they are talking gives me hope.

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