As the Yankees delve into their first week of the 2013 season, for all intensive purposes, nothing else should be on the minds of Yankees brethren other than the season in front of the Bronx Bombers. However, the looming free agency of one of the premier players in the game, and without question the best player on the current Yankees, is already being discussed.
As second basemen Robinson Cano enters the 2013 season in the final year of his current deal, it's safe to speculate that he will be the most highly sought-after free agent next offseason. Moreover, with agent Scott Boras and his propensity to give his clients the best leverage possible to get the best dollars, combined with the Yankees organizational policy to avoid contract talk altogether before the walk year, this could become a very stubborn battle.
However, while all of this looms, Cano's only focus is this upcoming season, and living in the moment,
“I don’t feel anything about nervousness,” Cano said. “To be honest, I’m not focused on free agency. My focus right now is on the 2013 season. I still have one more year under contract and my mind right now is just on helping the team win another championship.”
In the same interview Cano conducted with MLB.com, and as per the norm of a Boras client, he isn't certain that he wants to engage in contract extension talks,
“That’s a good question, (and) I haven’t really thought about it,” Cano said. “Right now, I’m just focused on playing the game and getting ready for spring training, now that we’re not going to have Alex.”
Of course, the "Alex" mentioned is third baseman Alex Rodriguez, whom Cano has been a long-time protege of. Rodriguez, who is expected to miss most of 2013 recovering from major hip surgery, is also dealing with new performance-enhancing drug allegations. However, per Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com, Cano sticks by both Rodriguez and another implicated friend, former teammate and current Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera,
“They are still my friends," Cano said Monday. "You have to be with your friends in the good times and the bad times. I have to stay with my friends. I don't have any reaction. I would say that is a personal matter and let them handle it.”
A two-time Gold Glove Award winner and four-time Silver Slugger Award winner, Cano can expect to be in play for a contract upwards of 10 years and $200 million.
Moreover, while owner Hal Steinbrenner has issued an edict to reduce payroll, he seems to understand the long-term relevance of retaining Cano next offseason.
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