Robinson Cano Rumors
The Rangers have financial flexibility following a relatively quiet offseason, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). However, they aren’t desperate for a starting pitcher at this stage. Here are the latest links from around MLB...
- Daniel Nava represented himself for the early part of his MLB career, but he has now hired an agent, Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports. Joe Sambito of SFX now represents Nava, who posted a .243/.352/.390 batting line in 317 plate appearances for the Red Sox in 2012. Check out MLBTR’s Agency Database for more information on player representatives.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post would be “really surprised” if Todd Helton plays again in 2014 (Twitter link). It’d be complicated for the Rockies to bring Helton back in anything but a part-time Jason Giambi-like role. Helton will earn $5MM in 2013 before hitting free agency.
- ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wonders if the Nationals could pursue Robinson Cano as a free agent next offseason (Twitter link). Cano will appeal to many teams if he reaches free agency, though there’s no guarantee that’ll happen. The Yankees appear to be prepared to discuss a significant long-term contract with their longtime second baseman.
- Olney suggested in his most recent blog entry that the Cubs and Dodgers could also bid for Cano. The Yankees' baseball operations department could be prepared to commit $189MM or so over seven years for Cano in Olney's view.
The Yankees and Orioles made the playoffs last year and a third AL East club, the Rays, won 90 games. The Blue Jays and Red Sox disappointed in 2012, but after a winter of offseason moves both teams hope to contend in 2013. Here are the latest AL East links at a time that the division truly seems wide open...
- The Yankees say they’re prepared to discuss a significant long-term contract with Robinson Cano, but as Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes, there’s lots of rhetoric involved at this stage. The sides will declare their mutual interest in working out a new deal while remaining inflexible on financial details. Sherman expects agent Scott Boras to seek a ten-year deal in the $225-240MM range. The Yankees could start by suggesting a high average annual value for a shorter term, perhaps $170-175MM for seven years.
- The Yankees would not give up a good prospect to acquire Alfonso Soriano, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Heyman suggests the Yankees would pay $10MM of the $36MM remaining on the left fielder's contract. Soriano has indicated he'd consider trades to a group of six or seven teams, including the Yankees.
- The Orioles announced that they promoted Brady Anderson to the role of VP of baseball operations. Ned Rice, who had been the club’s assistant director of Major League operations, was promoted to director of Major League administration.
- The Mariners have a list of Red Sox players that they're looking at as a player to be named later in the Mike Carp trade, according to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times (on Twitter). All four players are lower level non-premium minor leaguers in the Red Sox system.
- Here are some more notes on the Red Sox.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
9:23pm: Hal Steinbrenner told Scott Boras earlier this month that the Yankees "were willing to consider a significant long-term contract" with Cano but talks didn't go beyond that, the Associated Press reports (passed on by Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News). Steinbrenner also noted that the Yankees hadn't had any extension talks with manager Joe Girardi, who is entering the last year of his current contract.
7:42am: Yankees decision makers now regret signing Alex Rodriguez to a ten-year, $275MM contract, and have become more averse to major long-term commitments, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. The Yankees’ reluctance to spend as aggressively as before will impact their contract talks with Robinson Cano, the 30-year-old second baseman scheduled to hit free agency following the 2013 season.
The Yankees have spoken to Cano’s representatives at the Boras Corporation, but the sides don’t appear to be making much progress. Boras, who also negotiated Rodriguez’s ten-year deal, might expect opening bids for ten years at $20-25MM per season, according to the Post. Sherman suggests that the Yankees would be willing to spend $171MM over seven years to retain the four-time All-Star.
Cano told reporters that “it’s not about the money,” Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports. But there’s no doubt that rival teams would be eager to spend on Cano if he reaches free agency. A league official told McCullough that teams would bid more than $200MM for Cano. “He can’t be replaced,” the exec said.
It was 100 years ago today that legendary announcer Mel Allen was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Allen is best remembered as the voice of the Yankees from 1939 to 1964, though his long career also included Indians play-by-play, NFL and college football games and hosting This Week In Baseball from 1977 until his death in 1996.
Here are a few Yankee-related items that may make you say "How a-BOUT that?!"...
- Robinson Cano and the Yankees aren't making much progress in their initial contract talks, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports. There is "a significant difference in either talent assessment or valuation" between the two sides. The Yankees see Cano as a top-10 or top-15 player in the game, while agent Scott Boras sees his client as a top-five talent -- a small gap on paper, but one worth tens of millions in negotiations. If Cano does hit the open market, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes cites the second baseman as "the clear number one choice" as the best free agent of the 2013-14 offseason.
- When Phil Hughes worked out his one-year deal with the Yankees for 2013, "the topic of an extension was hardly mentioned," Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger writes. Hughes is eligible for free agency after the season but he doesn't expect New York to try and lock him up early. “Coming up with this organization as a pitcher, you know you’re not going to be signed long-term before (free agency),” Hughes said. “Nobody tells you. You just know. No pitcher is getting a long-term deal before free agency.”
- The Yankees' best prospects are in the lower levels of their farm system, which an executive tells MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince is due in part to the club lack of success at finding quality waiver claim pickups or minor league free agents, but also because New York is always successful and thus drafting near the end of the first round. "Depth is an issue in the very short run, but the talent they have coming up in the system is actually surprisingly good," the executive said. "It's impossible to draft a lot of talent with later and limited picks."
Earlier today, Yankees general partner Hal Steinbrenner chatted with reporters in Tampa, Florida. Here's a look at some highlights..
- The Yankees have spoken with Robinson Cano about a contract extension and Steinbrenner says that he hopes that the second baseman will be in pinstripes for life, writes Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. Meanwhile, he seemed to indicate that the heavy lifting in talks will come later, tweets Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger. Earlier this winter, it was reported that Cano would not give the Yankees a hometown discount.
- The Bombers are still looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder, but Steinbrenner believes that the team is already "championship caliber" as constructed, McCullough tweets.
- Steinbrenner doesn't like the perception that the Yankees haven't been spending this winter, Hoch writes. "That was a little disappointing," Steinbrenner said. "There was nothing cheap about [Hiroki] Kuroda's contract or [Andy] Pettitte's contract. Sometimes I just scratch my head." The Yanks' only major acquisition outside the organization was third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who signed a one-year, $12MM deal in December.
- Steinbrenner also said that the latest drug allegations surrounding Alex Rodriguez are "a concern, but it's out of our hands" while the matter is being investigated by Major League Baseball.
Yankees co-owner Hal Steinbrenner talked to reporters (including Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal) about a number of topics related to the club. Here are some of the hot stove-related items....
- The Yankees haven't had any "real significant dialogue" with Robinson Cano and agent Scott Boras about a contract extension. Cano is a free agent next winter and said last month that he won't give the Yankees a "hometown discount" on a new deal.
- There also doesn't appear to have been any talks between the Yankees and manager Joe Girardi about a new contract. Girardi is heading into the last year of his three-year deal with New York. The Yankees' reluctance to discuss contracts before they expire is well-known, as Steinbrenner explains that he is "not a big believer in extensions," though "there are exceptions to every rule."
- The team's quest to get under the $189MM payroll limit by 2014 to avoid a major luxury tax payment isn't just a short-term goal, but rather about "being fiscally responsible" in general. "I believe that you don’t have to have a $220 million payroll to win a world championship, and you shouldn’t have to," Steinbrenner said.
- That said, Steinbrenner also left some room that the team's payroll could grow next year if the Yankees' young players don't perform as expected: "All I can continue to tell everyone is our commitment to the fans is never going to change. We will always field a championship-caliber team. Is our goal 189 [million] next year? Yes. But only if I’m convinced that the team I see we put together is a championship-caliber team."
- Steinbrenner is pleased with the team's offseason, noting that Andy Pettitte, Ichiro Suzuki, Hiroki Kuroda were all re-signed and Kevin Youkilis was brought into the fold. New York isn't done its winter shopping, as Steinbrenner said the Yankees "need another bat." The Yankees have recently been linked to free agent outfielder Scott Hairston and Nationals first baseman Michael Morse.
Robinson Cano is due to hit free agency after next season, and Mark Feinsand and Christian Red of The New York Daily News hear the second baseman will not give the Yankees a hometown discount. One source said Cano could seek a contract in line with Alex Rodriguez's.
"He’s not giving them a hometown discount, and they seem to be more interested in keeping their payroll down than winning," said one source while another added: “He knows he’s the best player on the Yankees ... There’s no reason for him not to be paid that way.”
Cano, 30, hit .313/.379/.550 with a career-high 33 home runs this past season and has produced a .314/.365/.534 line with 115 homers over the last four seasons. He's also proven to be extremely durable, playing in no less than 159 games in each of the last six seasons.
The Yankees will have paid Cano a total of $57MM through next season as part of the extension he signed prior to 2008. They have upwards of $80MM slated to come off the books after 2013 but are trying to get under the $189MM luxury tax threshold in 2014 and don't figure to reinvest all of that into the team. Cano hired Scott Boras prior to 2011 and told the Daily News he would "love" to remain a Yankee, but added: "I know this is a business ... It’s up to them."
I looked at Cano as an extension candidate back in April. Joel Sherman of The New York Post first reported last month that the second baseman would look for a market value deal after already signing one team-friendly contract.
Jason Giambi was a surprise candidate to become the Rockies' next manager, but now that the job has gone to Walt Weiss, the team has offered Giambi the job of hitting coach, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Giambi had said he would continue playing if he wasn't hired as manager, though he's taking a few days to consider Colorado's offer. If he turns it down and wants to keep playing, agent Joel Wolfe tells ESPN's Jerry Crasnick that "several teams" have shown interest in his client, who will be 42 years old on Opening Day.
Here are some more items from a very busy day around baseball...
- Robinson Cano believes he has already signed one team-friendly contract with the Yankees and will look for market value in his next deal, a "confidant" of the second baseman tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Cano's last contract with the Yankees ended up paying him $57MM over six years once New York exercised its two club options for 2012 and 2013.
- The Blue Jays' waiver claim of Bobby Wilson as catching depth "suggests J.P. Arencibia is in play on the trade market," writes Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi.
- Also from Davidi, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said that Mike Aviles drew "pretty good demand...the Indians weren't the only team that asked about him," before the infielder was traded to Cleveland last weekend.
- Though Phillies GM Ruben Amaro said earlier today that he preferred signing players to making trades this offseason, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News thinks the trade market might be the best way for the Phils to solve some roster problems.
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto likes his core of position players, leaving Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times to conclude that the Halos will pursue rotation depth through free agency, not trades.
- Jose Veras has switched agents, going from Bryce Dixon to the Praver Shapiro agency, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The veteran righty chose to become a free agent after he was outrighted off the Brewers' 40-man roster.
- Minor league free agent Collin Balester is "in demand," reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter). Balester, 26, had a 6.50 ERA in 11 relief outings for the Tigers last season but posted strong numbers at Triple-A Toledo.
- The Yankees are more likely to pursue bargains this offseason than top free agents like Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke, reports Joel Sherman of The New York Post. The one nine-figure deal they are considering is an extension for Robinson Cano.
- “I don’t see that happening," said GM Brian Cashman to Ken Davidoff of The New York Post when asked if he anticipates receiving trade inquires for Alex Rodriguez.
- The Yankees are preparing a contract offer for Mariano Rivera, reports Bob Klapisch of The Bergen Record. The deal will call for a pay cut from this year's $15MM salary after Rivera missed almost the entire season with a knee injury.
- "Will I be surprised if he comes back? No, I won't," said manager Joe Girardi to Newsday's Marc Carig when asked about Andy Pettitte coming back in 2013 (Twitter links). "Andy pitched well again. So, my sense is he's going to be pulled to come back. He'll have to make a decision."
- Cashman met with Excel Management Group last night, reports David Lennon of Newsday (on Twitter). Excel represents free agents Greinke and Scott Hairston, as well as many others.
In a free preview of Insider, ESPN's Buster Olney writes that Yankees GM Brian Cashman is likely to take a surprisingly hard line during contract extension talks with Robinson Cano. That said, ownership could step in to make a deal happen like they have with Alex Rodriguez and Bernie Williams in the past. Here are the rest of Olney's rumors...
- Two of the items on the GM Meetings agenda are instant replay and the next wave of PEDs. The latter is a growing concern within the game.
- Olney lists Francisco Liriano, James Loney, Stephen Drew, and Melky Cabrera as players who could take a one-year contract this winter in an effort to rebuild value.
- It would make sense for the Giants to explore a long-term extension for Buster Posey at some point this offseason. The backstop is all the way back from his ankle injury and could soon add an MVP to his two World Series rings and Rookie of the Year award.