Will the Los Angeles Dodgers Chase Robinson Cano This Winter?

Jonathan Cullen@@jcullen71Senior Writer IAugust 14, 2013

Will Cano Stay or Will He Go?
Will Cano Stay or Will He Go?Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

The biggest battle of the coming offseason could be between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers over pending free agent Robinson Cano.

Cano is listed firmly in the top spot of Dierkes' 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings. The Dodgers' interest in Cano was an idea that was first suggested by the Los Angeles Times' Bill Shaikin going into this season.

The 30-year-old Cano figures to be the most sought-after player in the game this winter and will likely spark a bidding war that reaches over $200 million. The thought of plugging Cano into a Dodgers lineup that already contains Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp would send shudders through the rest of the National League.

This has to be the Yankees' worst nightmare. New York is already at a crossroads right now at the major league level, featuring an aging roster full of declining veterans making too much money. Now New York will be faced with squaring off against the new Yankees of this current era; the star-studded Dodgers.

The Yankees will find themselves potentially as the underdogs in the battle to keep the most important player on their roster. When was the last time New York was the underdog to keep a player that they wanted?

Today’s Dodgers are everything the Yankees used to be: a team with deep pockets, an endless revenue stream and a payroll that will continue to take MLB by storm. The Dodgers are going to be the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers with an All-Star at almost every position and the money to sign any player that they want.

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Given the current problems that New York faces with the contracts of Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeria, it begs the question of whether the Yankees will be willing to sign Cano to a contract similar to A-Rod’s contract of 10 years and $275 million.

CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees and Cano are far apart in contract talks.

The Yankees have seen diminishing returns from their older players this season, a situation that might cause New York to think twice about extending that type of deal for a player who is on the wrong side of 30—even if he is the best player on the team.

It will be fascinating to see how the offseason unfolds and whether the Yankees hold firm to their stated desire to get their payroll down to $189 million by 2014. The Yankees already have $89 million committed next season to only seven players.

Another interesting angle here is how Cano will view the Yankees at this point in his career.

If he looks at which team will provide him with a better chance at winning in the coming seasons, it is clear that the Dodgers would be the safer bet right now. The Yankees will already be faced with the pending retirement of the great Mariano Rivera and players like Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, Curtis Granderson, Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain hitting free agency.

The other interesting subtext to where Cano will sign this winter will be whether Cano's new agent, Jay-Z, plays a big hand in where he lands.

If Jay-Z really wants to make his mark in the sporting world then getting Cano a $200 million contract this winter will give him instant credibility and show that he can make an impact for other MLB stars.

Ultimately, it is hard to believe that Cano won't end up with the Dodgers if Los Angeles is really serious about bringing him out west.

It should be very interesting to watch this unfold this winter.

Additional information used from Baseball Reference and Baseball Prospectus/Cot's Baseball Contracts.