Free-agent forecast: Robinson Cano
There's no doubt that the biggest decision this offseason for the Yankees is what to do with Robinson Cano. The Yankees second baseman is a five-time All-Star and a two-time Gold Glove Award winner. At 31 years old, Cano showed no signs of slowing down in 2013 and posted a .314/27/107 line with very little protection in the lineup. He's also hit over .300 in five straight seasons.
It might seem obvious that the Yankees would re-sign Cano, but the contract that Cano is hoping for may be what keeps a deal from getting done. Cano, who hired Jay-Z as his agent mid-season, has been rumored to be expecting a deal of about 10 years and $300 million. As good as Cano is, it's hard to imagine the Yankees ever agreeing to that.
As much as the Yankees would want to use the 2013 Red Sox model of signing mid-level free agents and piecing together a team, it's hard to imagine the Yankees contending next season without Cano. Although he's no Jeter or Pettitte, he's been with the team since 2005 and has been a staple in the lineup for years. He brings a bat to the second base position that is unmatched in baseball, and losing him to an AL contender would be a huge mistake. The Dodgers have maintained that they are out of the Cano sweepstakes, which leaves teams like the Nationals, Phillies, Brewers, Tigers, Rangers and Angels in the mix.
In my opinion, the Yankees have two things they CANNOT do. 1. They cannot give Cano a deal even close to $300 million over 10 years. It's too long and for too much, and deals like the one the Angels gave Albert Pujols can prove exactly why. 2. They cannot let another team sign him at an affordable price. If Cano spends too much time on the market and begins to lower his asking price, the Yankees need to be the ones who swoop him up. This isn't just any other player. If the Yanks can get him for a deal they like, they must do it.
I think the Yankees will end up re-signing Cano IF he lowers his asking price. If he doesn't, I think you'll see him in another uniform come next spring. But if I really had to predict, I would say Cano will end up getting a deal done for around 8 years, $220 million with the Yankees.