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With the season unofficially over as of last night, the focus has already shifted to the upcoming offseason and all the things the Yankees are going to have to address while building their 2014 roster. The obvious number 1 topic of discussion on that list is Robinson Cano's free agency and what the Yankees will or won't be willing to pay to retain him. That stayed quiet for the majority of the regular season, but business started picking up this morning when reports of a 10-year/$300 million proposal from Cano's camp came out.
Via Buster Olney (Insider only), the numbers are actually 10 years and $305 million, the total value of Alex Rodriguez's contract with the HR escalator bonuses included. David Waldstein reported that the Yankees made an offer of 7 years/$161 mil earlier in the season and the distance between those 2 figures has set off a ton of talk around the Yankosphere about what it all means and what the Yankees should do. Before things get too out of control, I'd like to offer a simple reminder to everyone who's concerned about the numbers. Relax. This is how it works. It's each side making their first offer as part of a negotiation and there's no reason to get worked up.
Think about it from Cano's side. He's the premiere position player free agent on this offseason's market, he's in his prime, and he plays a premium up-the-middle position. As one of the top all-around hitters in baseball and a perennial top 5 MVP candidate, he should be swinging for the fences with his asking price and the bar has been set for him by guys like A-Rod and Albert Pujols. And with a new agent in Jay-Z trying to make a name for himself in the sports agent world, it makes sense that their first swing is that big. Jay needs to show that he's got the chops to hang in this world and his whole team knows you've got to start high and work your way down to come to an eventual agreement.
As for the Yankees, they know what they're comfortable with for a first offer, and they made one that's more than fair market value while still having room to increase the dollars without going overboard. Their 7/161 offer works out to a $23 mil per year AAV. That's over $3 million more per year than Miguel Cabrera is making on his current contract, and Cano isn't nearly as good a hitter as Cabrera. He's also not at the level that A-Rod was in '07 when he negotiated his 10-year deal and he doesn't have the longstanding career numbers or career peak that Pujols did when he signed his deal. He's already in his 30s, just like those 2 were when they signed their contracts, and the entire baseball world has seen how those deals worked out.
There's no chance Cano is getting 30 mil a year, for any amount of years, and there's no chance a team is going to offer him 10 years. The Yankees know that, just like Cano and his people know that. This is just the 2 sides drawing their boundary lines for the negotiations and setting the stage for what will eventually be a deal somewhere in the middle of those figures, say 7-8 years/$180-200 million. This is how it went down with Jeter, it's how it went down with A-Rod, and it's how its gone down with other big name free agents in years past. Let's let some time go by and actually get both sides in a meeting discussing actual terms before we start getting fired up over the reported figures.