Star second baseman Robinson Cano's camp presented a $260 million request of the Yankees at their recent meeting, leaving the sides with a sizable gap of about $100 million that couldn't reasonably be expected to be bridged anytime soon.
The Yankees are believed to have officially offered Cano about $160 million, though it is expected they'll go to at least $170 million, which would at least bring the difference between the parties to something below $100 million.
The Yankees also have a two-year offer out to free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran to be their right fielder. However, it appears the team is starting to talk more with other prime free agents such as outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, Stephen Drew, Omar Infante and others. While the Yankees have standing offers to Cano and Beltran, it is believed they've let them know they are "not waiting" only for responses but also talking to others.
Cano's request was for a nine-year deal that is believed to include a 10th-year vesting option to bring it to $260 million. That would bring the average salary to $27.8 million, or just over the $27.5 million average of Alex Rodriguez's record $275 million, 10-year Yankees deal, which also included a potential $30 million in home-run bonuses, most of which he probably won't receive now due to health and other issues.
Cano's camp originally suggested a $310 million contract back in the early summer, which would have given the Yankees a chance to keep Cano off the free-agent market, though his camp hasn't used that number since. Apparently, that number was mentioned only as a pre-free-ageny price, as the sides basically agreed back before the All-Star Game when the Yankees didn't accept that figure that Cano would hit the market.
Nonetheless, the $260 million figure represents a steep decline -- though apparently not steep enough for the team.
Cano's outside market has gone under the radar, though it's unsurprising that interested teams would like to remain secret. It's also possible some teams may be waiting to see whether the Yankees may fall out before themselves diving in. The Mariners are one team with obvious offensive needs, though generally they'd seem to be more interested in filling outfield needs -- as they are looking at Ellsbury and Cho, as well as a trade market that includes Dodgers outfielders Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.
Beltran has been seeking a three- or four-year deal for $15 million a year, or more, and has drawn interest from the Red Sox, Royals, Rangers and Mariners,, among others. The Royals, his original team, are thought to hold some allure for him, although the Yankees are seen as Beltran's probable first choice. Beltran still has ties to New York from his 6½ years with the Mets, and before signing his $119 million, seven-year Mets deal it should be recalled that he offered the Yankees a $98 million deal -- about a 20 percent discount.
The Red Sox are said by a source likely to want to keep any Beltran deal to two years, same as the Yankees. But it wouldn't be a surprise if one or more of the other teams -- especially the Royals or Mariners -- stretched an offer to at least three years.
Cano's new request in the $250 million to $260 million range was first reported by Ken Davidoff in the New York Post.