Robinson Cano knows he'll get paid but isn't focusing on it
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TAMPA, Fla. -- After this season, Robinson Cano is going to get paid.
He knows it. His agent knows it. The Yankees know it. The industry knows it.
The only questions are how much and by whom.
Hints to answers were mostly missing Monday when the second baseman met the media after the Yankees' first full-squad workout.
"To be honest with you guys, I'm not focused on free agency," the 30-year-old Cano said. "My focus right now is on the 2013 season. I have one more year on my contract and my mind right now is on helping the team win another championship."
Cano did say the prospect of playing his entire career with the Yankees appeals to him and -- as free agents-to-be often do -- added that "it's not about the money."
Of course, all of it eventually will be about money, which would have been the case with or without the presence of agent Scott Boras, hired by Cano two years ago.
Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner recently said there had been "a conversation or two" regarding an extension for Cano, who will make $15 million this season before he hits free agency. But the Yankees' chances of reaching a deal with Cano before next offseason are remote at best.
Cano, who looked lean and fit, has every incentive to bet on himself in his walk year, then enter a market in which a team such as the Dodgers very well might make him among the top five or six highest-paid players in the game.
The Yankees know that Cano is due a big payday but, with their oft-discussed goal of bringing their payroll to $189 million by 2014, aren't likely to sign him to the kind of deal that, say, Prince Fielder received from the Tigers (nine years, $214 million) before the 2012 season.
And Alex Rodriguez's contract -- 10 years, $275 million, signed when the third baseman was 32 -- will continue to loom over everything.
All of it, of course, is speculation at this stage. Cano, coming off a season in which he hit .313 with 94 RBIs and set career highs with 33 homers, 61 walks, 105 runs, a .550 slugging percentage and a .929 OPS, wasn't engaging in it.
"I'm just preparing myself for the season," Cano said patiently several times when asked about being a free agent.
Asked why he hired Boras, known for securing the kind of megadeal he did for Fielder, Cano allowed: "You always want to go with the best."
Of spending his entire career with the Yankees, Cano said: "I love New York. I would like to, why not? We'll see what happens."
He was more expansive on some other topics.
He had multiple hits in each of his final nine games in 2012, hitting .615 (24-for-39) with three homers and 14 RBIs, then went stone-cold in the postseason (3-for-40).
"I don't really know what happened," he said. "Maybe I was chasing too many pitches and not swinging at strikes. But it's a new season, and don't let that kind of thing happen again this year."
"It's always cool when you can represent your country and be one of the main guys," he said. "It's about your country. I love the Dominican, I grew up in the Dominican. Why not represent my country and do my best?"
Even with Rodriguez out for at least the season's first half -- and perhaps the entire year -- and the departure of Nick Swisher (24 homers), Russell Martin (21) and Raul Ibañez (19), Cano said he doesn't feel any added pressure to produce.
"The Yankees, you always have to produce,'' he said. "If you want to stay here and play for this team, it's about championships, and you have to produce."