Long time Yankee and current free agent second baseman Robinson Cano is expected to sign a very lucrative contract this off-season, making his next deal not a matter of if, but when. So far, though, talks involving Cano and other suitors have been few and far between. At the end of September, he was reportedly asking for $305 million.
John Harper of the New York Daily News spoke to someone close to Cano who said the second baseman is “ready for this to go past Christmas, into January if necessary”. Harper added:
If that’s true, don’t expect Cano to panic and sign what he would consider a below-market contract with the Yankees just because no team has come forward yet to show interest in paying him the $200 million-$300 million he wants in a deal of seven or more years.
“He wants his money, that’s the bottom line,” the person close to the situation said. “He wants to be a Yankee, but only if he gets the money he wants.”
Cano, a nine-year veteran, turned 31 years old last month, so a deal of seven or more years would take him through his age-37 season, a fact any team considering pursuing him will keep in mind. However, he has been the best second baseman in baseball over the last four years, ranking ahead of Ben Zobrist and Dustin Pedroia in Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference.
Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.
Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”
Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.
The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.