Representatives for the New York Yankees and free-agent second baseman Robinson Cano met in Manhattan on Tuesday to attempt bridging the gap in negotiations that has existed between the two sides for some time, but were still far apart when the meeting came to an end, reports Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York.
That there were talks held at all hints to the two sides coming to some sort of common ground; Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said last week that until Cano gets "more realistic," they have "nothing to talk about."
Wallace's source indicated that there is "still a pretty big gap" between Cano and his former club, but that the second baseman's side did move "a little" towards the center. It is unknown whether Cano's concession was in years or dollars, but it did lead to some optimism that headway could be made by the end of the week.
The two sides are expected to meet again on Wednesday then take a short break for the holiday.
The attendance at Tuesday's meeting included the Yankees' two top decision makers (non-owner division), general manager Brian Cashman and team president Randy Levine. On Cano's side were agent Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA and a rep from Jay-Z's Roc Nation. Notably absent from the discussion was Jay-Z himself.
It's been widely reported that Cano, the winter's top free-agent target, is seeking a contract in the vicinity of 10 years and $300 million. Whether his search for record money is a strategic anchoring move or not, the Yankees don't have the money to afford Cano at anywhere near that price, especially if they want to stick to their luxury tax goal for 2014.
The Bombers have reportedly offered Cano a seven-year contract in the neighborhood of $165 million. While the offer is considerably less than the sum the five-time all-star brought to the table, it at least bears a passing resemblance to the long-term deals handed out to comparable second baseman recently (though it still blows them out of the water). Chase Utley inked a seven-year, $85 million deal with the Phillies back in 2007, and new Detroit Tiger Ian Kinsler signed a five-year, $75 million extension with the Rangers before the 2012 season.
If Cano is unable to come to some sort of compromise with the Yankees, he should have no trouble getting big money elsewhere. The Mets are the only other club known to have met with Cano thus far, but there's no doubt his market will expand as the winter progresses.
The 31-year-old batted .314/.383/.516 with 27 home runs and a career-high 65 walks in 160 games for the Yankees this past season, earning Cano his fourth consecutive top 10 finish in the AL Most Valuable Player voting.