The New York Yankees' playoff hopes came to an end on Wednesday, which means they will be sitting at home in October for just the second time in 19 years.
The focus now shifts to the status of free-agent-to-be Robinson Cano, and it should come as no surprise that the Yankees ownership will have to empty its pockets in order to keep him.
According to SportsCenter on Twitter, ESPN's Buster Olney is reporting that the All-Star second baseman is looking for a 10-year contract that will pay him a total of $305 million.
Yankees 2B and free agent-to-be Robinson Cano is seeking a 10-year contract worth $305 MILLION this offseason. (via @Buster_ESPN)— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 26, 2013
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal confirmed Olney's report, saying he'd heard similar figures being tossed around. He offered some insight into the negotiation process:
About Cano: It’s a negotiation. Players start high, clubs low. #Yankees’ initial offer before season believed similar to Wright’s 8/$138M.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) September 26, 2013
Rosenthal also provided comments from Cano's agent:
Cano’s agent, Brodie Van Wagenen: “Out of respect to both parties, we have agreed all along with the Yankees not to comment publicly.” MORE— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) September 26, 2013
“…Robinson said he hasn’t made any decisions on his future…(We) will continue to respect process and our promise not to discuss specifics.”— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) September 26, 2013
Previously, Cano said that he plans to take his time making a decision, via ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews:
"If we don't make it to the playoffs, I want to take my time, go on vacation and relax," Cano said. "Then I want to sit down with my family and decide what we gonna do."
"I haven't decided anything yet," said Cano, who leads the Yankees with 27 homers, 105 RBIs and a .314 batting average. "But don't get me wrong. I love this team, you know?"
Cano, who was signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent out of San Macoris, Dominican Republic, as an 18-year-old in 2001, has never played for any other team and admitted it would be difficult to think of himself in a different uniform.
"Man, that would be hard," he said. "But at the same time, I understand it's a business. They have to decide what is the best for them, and I have to decide what is best for me and my family. I'm just waiting for the day."
"Oh, yeah, who knows? Who knows what's going to happen," he said. "I'm just enjoying being here and I'm going to enjoy the last day, being here with all these guys. Nobody said I'm leaving; nobody said I'm staying. I haven't decided anything yet. Let's see what happens after the World Series."
If the Yankees or any other team oblige, it will make Cano the highest-paid player in baseball history. That honor currently rests with Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez; his current deal through 2017 is worth $275 million. A-Rod also has the second-highest contract in MLB history ($252 million from 2001-10).
It's certainly debatable whether or not Cano is worth that kind of money (or any player for that matter), but most would probably agree that he is the best second baseman in baseball, ahead of Boston's Dustin Pedroia, who inked his own eight-year, $110 million extension in July.
Cano is having a big year in 2013, batting .315 with 27 home runs and 106 RBI. This will mark his fifth straight season hitting over .300, and he is very much in the running for his second straight Gold Glove Award (third overall).
Cano is a five-time All-Star, and he has finished in the top six in American League MVP voting in each of the past three seasons, so there is no denying that he is one of the premier players in the game.
The Yankees are an aging team seemingly in transition, though, which means they may not be willing to commit to a 30-year-old player (31 in October) for a decade.
Should the Yankees give in to Cano's reported demands?
Cano left super-agent Scott Boras in favor of Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports back in April.
His client was a fixture for the injury-plagued Yankees all season long, and he almost single-handedly kept them afloat for a period of time in the middle of the campaign. It remains to be seen if the Yanks are willing to place a value of 10 years and $305 million on that type of production.
It is obviously a steep price, but the front office will have a lot of explaining to do if Cano ultimately ends up signing elsewhere.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter