Major League Baseball’s annual winter meetings are set to take place next week in Walt Disney World and New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman figures to be very active at those meetings. Yes, the Yankees have already inked Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury but the Yankees need pitching and possibly a second baseman depending on what happens with Robinson Cano. There is also Cano himself who, despite all of the talk on both sides, still remains one of the top targets of the Yankees.
Despite the Yankees taking a hardline stance in public about not going to eight years or over the $200 million mark the Yankees need Cano and Cano needs the Yankees. So far, Cano has a standing offer from the Yankees but it isn’t what he is looking for which has led him to meet with the Seattle Mariners who are desperate to make a splash after years of mediocrity. However, this could be nothing more than a decoy by Cano and his camp.
Cano wants to be paid but he also wants to win and is comfortable in New York. His swing is perfectly suited for Yankee Stadium, his Dominican roots play up to the high Dominican population that resides just across the river in Washington Heights and there is the chance for him to enter the lexicon of Yankee greats with a plaque alongside Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter when it is all said and done. In Seattle he will still be a superstar player but his power won’t play there. His numbers won’t be as impressive as they are in the Bronx and then there is the problem of having even less protection in the lineup in Seattle than he did last season in New York when Lyle Overbay was often hitting behind him.
The Yankees need Cano as well. Not only does he draw in fans but he is a homegrown star, someone many Yankee fans have watched grow into one of the game’s best players. With television and attendance ratings falling last season the Yankees stand to lose even more money if they continue to go down than they do if they exceed the luxury tax. Hal Steinbrenner and his crew know this which is why they have allowed Cashman to go out and spend on McCann and Ellsbury, and spend big.
Signing Cano doesn’t hinge on what happens to Alex Rodriguez and his possible suspension. The Yankees would certainly gain more financial flexibility if Rodriguez were suspended but as far as putting a team on the field having Rodriguez at third gives them their best possible option at the position as well as allowing them to field their best possible lineup. However, the Rodriguez situation might not be resolved any time soon and the Yankees must make their decisions without regard to Rodriguez and his suspension. Signing Cano was always a part of their plan.
Of course, the Yankees would love to get Cano at their price but they also won’t let him walk away. The Yankees might be playing hardball publicly but you can almost guarantee that there are internal discussions taking place about raising their offer. If I were a betting man I would put my bet on Cano staying with the Yankees. Perhaps an eight-year, $190 million deal with escalators in it that allow him to go over $200 million if he reaches certain milestones while also allowing the Yankees to say they didn’t go over $200 million and both parties save face.