Despite a relatively thrifty offseason -- for the Yankees, at least -- it appears as though New York's aspirations for getting under the luxury tax threshold next season may not be as important as many first thought.
Perhaps all that saved this winter was not to prevent the club from hefty fines, but rather to free up room to sign one of their franchise players long-term? While rumors about a contract extension for Robinson Cano had been pretty nebulous thus far, a statement by owner Hal Steinbrenner yesterday indicates that the club is willing to offer the second baseman a considerable amount of money to stay in the Bronx, reports George A. King III of the New York Post:
Hal Steinbrenner says the Yankees are serious about keeping Robinson Cano away from next year's free agent market...
"We indicated to him on a very preliminary basis that we were willing to consider a significant long-term contract,'' Hal Steinbrenner told three reporters after a Yankees spring training workout...
"Nothing has happened and there is nothing to report since then.''
The preliminary talks took place before camp opened, and there's really no indication as to when the discussion may pick up again. Cano's agent, who is of course Scott Boras, responded to Steinbrenner's statement by expressing a willingness to discuss the matter further with the club, but provided no timeline.
Cano, 30, is coming to the end of a six-year, $57 million contract, and is in line to receive a huge payday on the open market. If the Yankees want to retain the four-time All-Star before he hits free agency, it's likely that the club will need to offer him some serious cash.
A .308/.351/.503 hitter in eight big-league seasons, Cano has averaged 7.1 bWAR over the last three years, making him easily the best second baseman in baseball.