San Francisco Giants catcher Hector Sanchez tags out New York Yankees runner Robinson Cano (R) at home plate in the eighth inning of their MLB Interleague game at Yankee Stadium in New York on Sept. 22, 2013. (REUTERS: Ray Stubblebine)
Second baseman Robinson Cano has visions of being baseball’s first $300 million man, but the New York Yankees aren’t keen on paying the top free agent anything close to that amount.
Cano, one of the Yankees’ nine players on the 2013 payroll with an average salary of at least $14 million, is expected to test the market and be in high demand.
According to multiple reports, the Yankees offered $140 million over seven years, but Cano made it known he expected what is likely the final contract of his playing career to be in line with the 10-year, $275 million deal the Yankees gave Alex Rodriguez in December 2007.
CC Sabathia signed a five-year, $122 million contract in November 2011. Mark Teixeira signed an eight-year, $180 million deal entering the 2009 season.
The Yankees are likely to address shortstop Derek Jeter’s contract. He’s in the final year of a 10-year, $189 million contract with a player option for next season. He turns 40 next June and after 18 seasons at shortstop might be asked to move to the outfield. Because he made $17 million in 2013, Jeter is expected to demand at least $15 million per season and holds the negotiating leverage of being the most popular player — and perhaps most identifiable — in the Bronx.
Cano’s market could be led by the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs. The Dodgers are becoming the top-spending team in Major League Baseball since ownership changed hands in 2012. The top priority for the franchise is re-signing left-handed pitcher Clayton Kershaw, but it would be surprising if they aren’t in the Cano bidding.
The Cubs are muddling through a rebuild without an established franchise player. Cano could provide just that and bring leadership to a team trying to push stars of tomorrow such as first baseman Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro.