Source: Yankees, Cano about $140 million apart
That's the best way to describe the negotiations between Robinson Cano and the Yankees since the end of the season, with the two sides dug in on their vastly differing views of the All-Star second baseman.
One source said Monday that Cano's camp has not budged off its initial asking price of $310 million over 10 years, and the Yankees are more than comfortable with their offer of seven years in the neighborhood of $170 million.
A person with knowledge of the club's thinking said the Yankees' current perspective could be paraphrased this way: If you think you can get someone in the marketplace to give you $310 million, good luck with that.
In fact, with no other team known to have surfaced yet as an alternate destination for Cano, indications are the Yankees don't see a compelling reason to increase their seven-year offer.
"The way the industry is right now, teams are paying well for short-term deals," one insider said.
Not surprisingly, Cano's representatives see it differently.
"I think where we are is that teams are interested," Brodie Van Wagenen said on SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio on Sunday.
He did not specify the teams.
Van Wagenen, a veteran agent for CAA, has handled the Cano talks with the Yankees to this point but said during the SiriusXM interview that Jay Z, whose Roc Nation agency persuaded the second baseman to dump super-agent Scott Boras in April, is "intimately involved" in the talks.
Van Wagenen intimated Cano's association with Jay Z should drive the price up, as well.
"What people recognize is that he makes an immediate impact on the field and, of course, there's going to be the additional business value that comes with the association of a player of that magnitude with a diverse fan base," Van Wagenen said on Sirius. "Also, there's the brand affiliation that comes along with having Jay Z."
Hurting that argument, some are quick to point out, is that Yankees attendance and television ratings continued to sink last season and Cano was one of the few stars on the club to stay healthy.
The commonly held perception is that Cano, 31, does not rate near Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera on the beloved icon scale.
"They seem to think he's Michael Jordan," one industry source said of how Cano's representatives view their client. "He's not."
But Cano, who despite an injury-depleted lineup still hit .314 with a .383 OBP with 27 home runs and 107 RBIs in 160 games, is the game's best second baseman and clearly the premier player available.
And it remains to be seen just how intractable Yankees management, which has its own PR issues with fans as it attempts to cut payroll to $189 million this offseason, will ultimately be.
"What I think people are starting to recognize, as well, is that players of this magnitude don't come along very often," Van Wagenen said. "And the opportunity to acquire them is limited. And when you want to try to acquire impact, middle-of-the-order, dynamic players, rare talent, you can only do it in a few areas."
The wait, expected to be a long one, continues.