Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner told reporters today that “there’s been a conversation or two” with Robinson Cano about a long-term contract extension.
Cano is entering the final season of a deal signed in February of 2008 and will make $15 million before hitting the open market as a free agent.
Cano is a Scott Boras client and the agent typically encourages players to avoid extensions once they near free agency, but then again the Yankees rarely let an in-his-prime star leave. That could mean simply out-bidding everyone else for Cano as a free agent, of course.
Adding to the intrigue is that Cano has a chance to become the highest-paid second baseman of all time. In fact, he almost surely will. Right now Ian Kinsler has the highest average annual salary at $15 million and no second baseman has ever gotten $100 million. That says something about how second basemen tend to age and about how teams tend to value infielders who lack the range/arm to play shortstop or the arm to play third base, but regardless of all that Cano will top $100 million with ease.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.