If a report that surfaced Thursday morning from ESPN’s Buster Olney indicating Cano is seeking a 10-year, $305 million contract from the Yankees this off-season is true, that could indeed be the case. Cano was predictably non-committal when speaking with reporters on Wednesday night, just like he has been all season long.
“Who knows what’s going to happen?” Cano said. “But I always play this game like it’s the last day. This year, I enjoyed being here and I’m going to enjoy the last day, being here with these guys. Nobody said I’m leaving, nobody said that I’m staying. I haven’t decided anything yet. Let’s see what happens after the World Series.”
While the Yankees would love to keep Cano in pinstripes, it will prove to be a difficult task as the team’s owner, Hal Steinbrenner, imposes a $189 million payroll cap by the start of the 2014 season. Previously, the Yankees have reportedly offered Cano contracts of eight years, $138 million and seven years, $161 million according to the New York Times’ David Waldstein.
So, would the five-time All-Star actually leave the Bronx and continue his playing career elsewhere?
“Man, it’s hard,” Cano said. “But at the same time, I understand it’s a business. They have to decide what is the best for them, and I have to decide what is best for me and my family.”
Cano, who turns 31 this off-season, surely realizes that no team will commit either $300 million or ten years, especially after the disasters seen from Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez’s decade-long contracts.
Perhaps the only team who could consider signing Cano to a ten-year deal is the Los Angeles Dodgers. Cano, who is named for former Dodgers great Jackie Robinson, would fit perfectly in the middle of a line-up that already features the likes of Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, among other All-Stars.
However, the Dodgers have currently committed over $146 million to eight different players for 2014, mostly in deals that have at least three or four more seasons remaining. That figure also does not include the arbitration number for likely Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, who will command at least $12 million this off-season, plus a long-term deal the following year.
So while Cano may have his eyes set on a lofty contract following a season where he has hit .315 with 27 home runs and 106 runs batted in with four games still to play, he may have to settle for a deal a cut above the eight-year, $110 million extension that Dustin Pedroia signed with the Boston Red Sox. Waldstein suggests the Yankees could go as high as $180-$199 million over eight years for Cano, but even going that high seems unlikely for the Yankees’ best player.