There's no doubt that Robinson Cano will be the biggest name in free agency this offseason.
However, it's not a foregone conclusion he will re-sign with the New York Yankees. In fact, the Yankees could be using the rest of 2013 to convince Cano that he needs to stay in The Big Apple.
The Yankees are likely going to miss the playoffs this year. Currently behind four other teams for the second wild-card spot, time is running out for New York.
Could that also mean that time is running out to convince him to stay?
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal wonders if the Yankees do in fact miss the playoffs, would that push Cano to go somewhere else in free agency?
The Yankees still must be considered the favorites to sign Cano, but the dynamics have shifted considerably since February, when general manager Brian Cashman acknowledged that the team had made the player a “significant” long-term offer.
Both parties will have to consider multiple things in the offseason.
Things the Yankees Have to Consider
The Yankees have a lot to consider this offseason.
According to ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner wanted to reduce the team's payroll to $189 million or lower by 2014.
Derek Jeter will only have one year left on his deal, but there's still the possible money owed to Alex Rodriguez. Add in the $22.5 million over each of the next three years to Mark Teixeira and $96 million over the next four years for CC Sabathia, and the Yankees have a lot of money already committed.
There's no doubt general manager Brian Cashman can make it work, but are the Yankees going to be able to offer Cano the amount of money he's seeking?
Is he going to look for the same amount of cash the other players received in their deals? If so, wouldn't the Yankees be afraid of getting burned like they were in the A-Rod deal?
Consider that Cano has also struggled since the All-Star break, batting .241 with one home run and eight RBI in 23 games. Would the Yankees want to spend big on a player showing signs of decline at age 31?
The Yankees have long been free-spenders, not caring how much they had to pay for the best free agents. However, it seems that thinking has caught up to them and Steinbrenner isn't looking to spend as much money.
According to Mark Feinsand and Christian Red of the New York Daily News, Cano isn't going to give the Yankees a hometown discount either.
According to two industry sources familiar with Cano’s situation, the Yankees’ Gold Glove second baseman may very well bolt the Bronx once he becomes a free agent.
“I don’t think he’ll be with the Yankees beyond next season,” one of the sources told the Daily News. “He’s not giving them a hometown discount, and they seem to be more interested in keeping their payroll down than winning.”
That could be the biggest tell as to whether or not Cano returns.
Things Cano Has to Consider
The pay is the most obvious thing he has to consider. If another team is willing to pay more, then that may be the route to go.
Taxes are another thing to consider. While getting paid $20 million in a place like New York is nice, getting paid $18 million to go to the Seattle Mariners would allow Cano to keep more money. That's because Washington has no state income tax. For the record, according to the Tax Policy Center, other states that don't have an income tax and have an MLB team are Florida and Texas.
The amount you actually get paid isn't exactly the same as what you sign on the dotted line for. However, depending on the state he's in and its tax rate, he could keep more.
Cano also has to consider if he wants to win another World Series or not. If so, then he must think about whether the Yankees and their aging roster are in position to win another one. If not, then he must look at teams with the ability to sign him to a decent-sized contract and compete for a title.
View from the Outside
It was thought to be a foregone conclusion a few years ago that Cano would re-sign with the Yankees. But by leaving Scott Boras and signing with Jay-Z and Roc Nation Sports, Cano could go many ways.
Staying in New York provides a better marketing opportunity. Then again, Los Angeles could be a great market for him as well.
But with ever-increasing television contracts for various teams, the list of potential suitors continues to grow.
The point on taxes likely won't be taken into consideration because it rarely is.
It's going to come down to which team offers the most money and the most years. An incentive-based package will also be key for teams wanting to sign Cano.
In the end, some team will open its wallet and shell out big bucks to sign him. But it won't necessarily be the Yankees.
In the end, I see Cano leaving New York for "greener" pastures.