Report: Boras looking to rework Cano’s contract

What Went Right: Russell Martin
What Went Right: Noesi, Wade, and Ayala
(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

According to George King of the New York Post, Scott Boras has recently tried to get in touch with Brian Cashman about seeing the Yankees drop Cano’s two options for 2012 and 2013 (worth $14M and $15M, respectively) and work out a new contract at market value. For their part, the Yankees have indicated that they’re very, very unlikely to rework their deal. Boras likely knew this would happen, which is why it’s just a little bit odd to see him publicly request it anyway. It’s also why, perversely, a deal might be possible.

On one hand it isn’t odd. As Mike noted earlier this morning, Boras only gets paid vis-à-vis his relationship with Cano when Cano signs a new contract. On the other hand, Boras knows that the Yankees have little incentive to pay Cano more now and that Cano has little leverage to force them to do so. A market value contract for Robbie is likely a non-starter for the Yankees. While $29M over two years isn’t exactly a Longoria-esque bargain, the organization simply has no incentive to replace his current salary with a much higher salary right this instant.  Cano’s salary demand won’t likely be any higher a year from now than it is right now, even if he has another monster year in 2012.

As such, Boras could simply be saber-rattling and letting the Yankees know he expects a big payday for Cano any time between now and two years from now. Boras also could be hoping that the Yankees would be silly enough to tear up Cano’s current deal and pay him at market value. After all, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Alternatively, he could be amenable to working out something in the middle, slightly below market value rate, right now. This would certainly represent a departure from Team Boras’ modus operandi. Boras has typically been known for pursuing a very aggressive year-to-year strategy with clients under contract and then pushing them to the biggest payday possible in the unrestricted free agent market. Look no further than Prince Fielder for an example. This could simply be posturing for a new deal two years from now, but if it isn’t and his demand for a new deal represents a negotiating strategy designed to get Cano a new deal this offseason, it would be advantageous to see the Yankees pursue a deal.

Meeting Boras halfway and working out a long-term extension solves a lot of problems at once. It provides Cano the long-term stability and big-time payday he’s looking for, and gives Boras his new contract commission, not that the latter is anyone’s concern. From the Yankees’ perspective, it allows them to lock Robbie up through his prime and into his mid-30s at a slightly below market rate. A reasonable guess as to a new extension for Cano might be replacing his 2012 and 2013 options with a six-year, $100M deal. This would pay Cano $16.67M per year through the 2017 season. Mike threw around the idea of a six-year, $120M deal back in August, an average of $20M per season.

If the Yankees have designs of keeping Cano around for the next half-decade, it would make sense to pursue this sort of deal now. It’s better to own Cano from 2012 through 2017 at $16 million per year than it is to own Cano from 2012 and 2013 at $14 and $15 million per year, respectively, and then from 2014 through 2019 at $20 million per year, assuming he can get that on the unrestricted free agent market.  Not only do they Yankees get a slight discount on the salary, but they also avoid paying him into his late-30s. It hardly even needs to be said that it’s dangerous to guarantee double-digit salaries to players throughout the inevitable decline that occurs as they enter their late thirties. If the Yankees can avoid that with Cano by paying him now and figuring out what happens after 2017 later, then they’re in a better and more flexible position than they would be if they signed him to the same deal two years later.

There’s risk, of course. Cano could regress back to the player we saw in his 2008 campaign and prove to be a poor value for the money, but it’s hard to find anyone who expects that to happen. Cano is among the very best players in the game, and he’s easily one of the best players on the Yankees.  Working out a deal now might be best for all parties. Something tells me it won’t happen, though. Boras is good at getting his clients the very best of paydays, and he may advise Cano to sit tight and wait until the terminus of the 2013 season if the Yankees aren’t interested in paying market value right now. They shouldn’t, of course, and they won’t. Brian Cashman wasn’t born yesterday.

What Went Right: Russell Martin
What Went Right: Noesi, Wade, and Ayala
  • Mike Axisa

    Guarantee the two option years, tack another four years on top of it. Do it do it do it.

    • Jetrer

      no brainer for the Yanks, but I gotta think Boras/Cano would be looking for a lot more

      • B-Rando

        I just dont understand how you can ask a team to just rip up a contract though. This isn’t football, the contracts are guaranteed (for the most part). Theres a reason the Yanks signed him to that deal to begin with. It gave them flexibility with the upside that if he did become an elite player, they would be getting a discount compared to market value.

        I say what Mike is proposing is perfectly reasonable. You cannot expect a team to just rip up a contract you signed. However, guaranteeing a pickup of the options (a no brainer), tack on a few more years at market value- poof, everyone is happy.

    • Dave B

      I disagree. Slippery slope for the future.

      • Johnny O

        I agree here. The post-AROD policy of “no negotiating while someone is under contract” seemed to be smart business. The Yankees don’t have to lock up young guys at below market rates because they can afford to go toe to toe with anyone in free agency.

      • Slugger27

        agreed. i say they make him wait. pick up both his options and reassess 2 years from now on.

  • BK2ATL

    I’m just not a fan of Scott Boras….unless he was negotiating for me.

    While Cano is probably underpaid at the moment, if he keeps up his performance, the Yanks will certainly reward him when his contract ends. At the same time, it really does make sense to lock Cano up through his prime years and see where he’s still at when that extension ends. If anything, we need to learn from the shortsightedness of the A-Rod deal.

    Either way, I just want to see the 3 and 4 hitters of our future, Cano and Montero, for many years to come.

    • Slugger27

      hes currently 29 years old, and hes signed for 2 more years. he ALREADY IS locked up through his prime. lets worry about 2014 when we get there… right now, we have a 6 win player locked up for 2 years well under value.

  • Matt :: Sec110

    Pipe dream:

    Tell Boras we’ll ‘rip up’ the last 2 option years of Cano’s deal if you do the same to Soriano’s deal.


    Gotta wait it out. Let Cano prove he’s a 100 million dollar player in 2 years.

    Plus this would open the flood gates to negotiating with a player while he has a contract.

    • Nick

      How would this affect it and not offering CC an extension before he opts out? The gates are already opened sir.

      • Matt :: Sec110

        have they done that yet?

        • Nick

          They’ve made it known that they don’t want him hitting the open market. Seems to me like it will happen. I clearly could be wrong, BUT, the perception now is that they will re-do a players deal if the need is there. Not saying they need to re-do Cano’s deal, but it’s not like he doesn’t have a good case.

          • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            “I clearly could be wrong, BUT, the perception now is that they will re-do a players deal if the need is there.”

            The case you’re citing as your back-up – Sabathia – shouldn’t lead anyone to believe the Yanks are tossing aside their thinking about not re-negotiating a deal before its expiration. There’s a clear difference between re-doing a deal with a year or a couple or few years left in its term, and negotiating a new deal when a player is about to opt-out of his current deal.

            Think of it this way… If Player X’s deal is set to expire in one week, but the season is over, would the Yanks be violating their own rule by negotiating towards a new deal with Player X? I think it’s pretty clear they would not be.

            If the Yankees know that Sabathia is about to opt-out, then negotiating with him during the time prior to the opt-out date is a no-brainer and does not violate any sort of organizational guideline against negotiating with a player prior to expiration of his current deal.

      • Bronxville Bob

        The Yankees have already established they’ll negotiate with a player if he has an opt-out clause before he triggers the opt-out. They tried negotiating with A-Rod in 2007 before he triggered the opt out, but Boras wouldn’t listen.

        A player with an opt-out is a free-agent. He has leverage other players (like Cano) doesn’t have. No gates have been opened.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Well-we will be losing a 16M a year .500 pitcher with a 5+ era in 2 years.

    I found some money for Robbie!

  • Matcohen

    The issue is that Cano will be 31 when the 2 option years run out. You run the risk of having to do a 6 year deal to retain him, which would likely be a bad deal as he’d be in decline for the last 2-3 years of the deal.

    If you can guarantee the options, add another 4 years now at market rates and maybe smooth out the payments, you have him through 35 when he is still in his prime rather than risking overpaying or losing him in 2 years.

    Obviously Cano wants to stay or Boras would have him wait 2 years and hit the free agent market.

    Let’s hope the Yankees can avoid looking this gift horse in the mouth.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      It’s the Yankees, they need bad deals to compete year in and year out. But hitting contracts aren’t as scary and Cano is a top notch hitter. It’l be manageable.

    • Plank

      I think you are drastically underestimating how quickly and severely second basemen fall off the cliff. Cano will be lucky to not be an albatross at 35, not “still in his prime.”

      • Plank
      • Cris Pengiucci

        All the more reason to do a deal now, as opposed to doing a 6-year deal when he’s 31. I like the idea of guaranteeing the 2 option years and adding on 4 more. This also poses a lesser risk of other players looking to renegotiate contracts before they expire. You’re not ripping up the old and starting fresh, you’re letting the first finish (or guaranteeing it will finish) and beginning a new one when it’s over.

        • Plank

          There’s a risk there though for the Yankees, since they would be paying him open market rates after two amazing seasons during his peak for seasons way down the line. (See Howard, Ryan for an example of why this is a bad idea.)

          The upside for the Yankees is if Cano stays a megastar during the entirety of the next 6 years. Not a bad bet, but not a great one either. If I were the Yankees, I would cross the Cano as a FA bridge when I come to it.

    • UYF1950

      I don’t think I’ve ever heard the term “gift horse in the mouth” and an offer to renegotiate a players contract by Boras together.

      A lot of “if’s” in the salary presumptions in the article. Boras would bite on a 6 year deal starting with the 2012 season at $16M per ($96M total). My guess is he would be looking at something more in the line of Crawford’s (7 yrs/$142M) or Jason Werth’s (7yrs/$126M) years and dollars. Otherwise they just wait out the 2 option years Cano makes $29M for those 2 years then worse case he signs even a 4 year deal at 31 years for $20M per ($80M total) which unless his numbers fall off the face of the earth he will get easily. That combined with what he made for the 2 option years gives him a 6 year total of $109M. There is no advantage that I can see for Boras/Cano to sign a 6 year deal starting this year at $16M per, other than Boras making his commission. Make the offer north of $18M per season for 6 years starting 2012 and it has a much better chance in my opinion.

      Having said all that I think it’s a moot point because I don’t think the Yankees will do anything with Cano this year, maybe next year but even that is a long shot in my opinion.

  • Grover

    No brainer to wait it out. If Cano moves to third base it might be a different story but few teams will compete for a $15M/year second baseman.

    • Kibbitty

      This is ridiculous. The fact that he plays second base ADDS to his value, not diminishes it.

      • Grover

        Name the highest paid second baseman and their salaries and then ask yourself why an agent known for letting his clients play out their options is looking for an extension fool.

        • Joe Pawlikowski

          Because Boras gets paid nothing for the options, but would get paid if they signed a new contract.

          • Matcohen

            Boras works for Cano and he clearly wants an extension. If you want proof, look at the Weaver extension which was a horrible deal for the player.

            • Tim

              The Weaver extension was an anomoly for any Boras client. Remember, guys hire Boras because they know he has the best knack for getting them the most money. Weaver’s situation was obviously very rare, and I’m sure Boras was pulling his hair out thinking of all the money HE was losing when Weaver signed the extension.

              I would be hesitant to use Weaver’s extension as an example of anything related to Boras.

              • Matcohen

                I think that you are assuming that Boras is an idiot. It makes no sense for him to approach the Yankees for an extension if he doesn’t want one.

                Clearly Cano wants an extension and Boras is trying to get it done as he did for Weaver.

                This is pretty simple. no other explanation makes any sense whatsoever.

                • Grover

                  Cano is the highest paid second baseman in the game by a fairly wide margin. His leverage is bupkus when his options are up. The Yanks would be competing with themselves to address them. Mo has been in the same boat for years.

  • Dave B

    History shows the Yankees aren’t going to re-work this, and I believe doing so brings them to a slippery slope for future stars like Cano. As much as I love Cano, I don’t expect the Yankees to re-work his deal nor would I blame them.

    I agree with the earlier post about Boras. I hate seeing his name involved in anything. He is bad for baseball.

    • Tim

      Yes. An agent he vigorously and tenaciously works for his client at the expense of billionaire corporations is extremely bad for baseball. He should be more willing to encourage his clients to take less money than the fair market is offering them for their services. In fact, we all should follow that lead.

      I’m going in to my bosses office right now and demanding a pay decrease.

      • Dave B

        Agreed, even though the sarcasm alarm was going off. If that wasn’t sarcasm, please don’t go into your boss’ office to demand a pay decrease. That doesn’t make much sense unless you are lazy and overpaid and feel a moral obligation to take less or allow your company to hire a more qualified person to improve the company long-term.

    • Tim

      Yes. An agent who vigorously and tenaciously works for his client at the expense of billionaire corporations is extremely bad for baseball. He should be more willing to encourage his clients to take less money than the fair market is offering them for their services. In fact, we all should follow that lead.

      I’m going in to my bosses office right now and demanding a pay decrease.

      • Tim

        Whoops – double post, and hideous grammar as well. Meant “Boss’s”

  • Gonzo

    The immovable object versus the irresistible force!

  • Now Batting

    Put it perfectly in the article. Give him a 6 year deal now when he’s still under team control rather than a 6 year deal in 2 years when he’s free to test the open market.

    Plus it’s technically not an extension if they decline his option and sign him to a new deal. Same thing with CC’s opt out. The Yankees aren’t breaking their own rule.

  • LiterallyFigurative

    I don’t see the Yankees changing their stance on reworking contracts, even for Robbie. Nor do they have to.

    With their financial advantages, they can always let a guy get to the market, then pay him top dollar.

    Unless there’s some hot shot 2B prospect noone knows of, Robbie is a Yankee till he hangs em up.

    • Matcohen

      Just because you can do something does not mean that 1) you should, 2) it is the smart strategy.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    If my memory is correct and if not, someone out there please correct me. A few years ago there was an attempt to sign Jeter to an extension and the Boss said no. Later they had to pay more and the ensuing fiasco last year with the new contract.

    • Mike K

      Jeter and the Yankees agreed to a large contract before his final arb year, but The Boss wanted to wait until another contract – I think A-Gon’s – was signed so that Jeter wouldn’t be the highest paid player in the league. A-Gon’s contract fell through, so the Yankees didn’t do the deal and Jeter went to arbitration. And then signed a much BIGGER deal the next off-season.

    • Plank

      I think they decided to wait until 2000 to re-sign Jeter rather than in 99 and they had to way up their offer after Arod’s 10 year deal. That can be seen as a positive for the Yankees too, since his next contract would have been signed after a career year instead of a career down year. In the end, it probably worked out to about the same.

      • Jose M. Vazquez..

        Thanks guys for the info.

  • BENJ

    I hate Cano picked up Boras, so much so that I really hope a younger version is in the minor leagues waiting for a chance to strut his stuff. Yankees are up the wahzoo in these outrageous contracts.

    Here’s hoping for an influx of younger, better skill set players at 2nd,SS,3RD that hit well and PITCHING in the next few years, coming up to the team.

    • Plank

      Unless you’re a Steinbrenner, how are the Yankees contracts “outrageous?” Every player on the Yankees entered into an agreement with the team for a certain amount and upheld their part of the deal.

      In my opinion, the two most outrageous contracts on the Yankees are Brett Gardner and Dave Robertson.

      •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

        Not that I agree with anything that BENJ is saying, but you’re using the term “upheld” rather loosely. Burnett, Soriano, etc.

        • Plank

          Both sides knew the risks at the time of signing. If either of those players was guaranteed to have career years, they would have signed for much higher. The contract they signed was seen as fair by both sides at the time of signing, all things considered.

    • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

      So the Yankees shouldn’t re-sign their best player because of his agent?

      • Plank

        He’s a lazy bum, he doesn’t deserve the Steinbrenner’s hard earned money just because he’s one of the best players in the game and brings in 10s of millions of revenue each year. He should work for scraps and be happy for it. Hiring an agent who will get him more money for the same job just proves it.

        • Alibaba

          He should not be paid top dollars unless he becomes a blue-collar worker, hustle-player like Pedroia!

          • BK2ATL



    • toad


      The Yankees have a choice about giving out these contracts you know. You can’t blame Boras for their decisions.

      Does Boras have a gun to someone’s head? I don’t think so. He negotiates aggressively for his clients. So what? That’s his job and he does it well. I don’t see why he deserves to be criticized for that.

  • Drew

    Cano is clearly the best and most talented player on the Yankees. I agree with Mike and I would give him a 4 year extension on top of his two option years.

    • Alibaba

      Granderson and CC might have something to say about it, but this would be smart business, I think.

      • Alibaba

        By “it” I meant “the best and most talented player on the Yankees.”

      • Drew

        Considering age, position, and the numbers and overall marketability Cano trumps both CC and Granderson

        • Mike Axisa

          Agreed. Love Granderson, but Cano is the priority.

        • Reggie C.

          Overall marketability …

          CC has contracts with Subway and Captain Crunch. When I see Cano features in a national campaign for anything , that would be the first time.

          • S

            Robbie goes Boom?

  • Bavarian Yankee

    why does everybody expect him to get a 6 year deal when he’s a FA?

    There’s absolutely no need to extend him now. Middle infielders can fall of a cliff so fast, take the safe route as long as possible. If he keeps on hitting like this over the next 2 years then offer him whatever they feel he’s worth when he’s a FA. It’s even likely that other teams can’t or don’t want compete with that offer.

    I think Kinsler also is a FA after 2013 (if the Rangers exercise his option for 2013), so it’s not like there aren’t other good options at 2B if Cano decides to leave the Bronx.

    • Tom Swift

      The risk of decline is why Cano might want a deal now. The quid pro quo has to be a discount of some sort. Surely Boras understands that. If he is raising it, it must be because he wants to explore what the Yankees might offer. I don’t know if there is a deal that makes sense for both sides, but there might be. It also helps Boras that there is no obvious 2nd baseman in the system who could take over second base in 2 yrs.

      • Matcohen

        Cano is a a human being and likes playing for the Yankees. He wants to ensure that it happens beyond the next 2 years. He’s willing to take less money just like Weaver did.

        Most players will go for the most money (and most Boras clients) but not all – witness Jeff Weaver’s hometown discount.

  • Thurman

    Here’s an idea! The conversation could go like this ~

    Cashman — Scott, you say you don’t like a contract that’s been signed because you think the player is worth more?

    Boras — That’s right, Brian.

    Cashman — Well, a few of your clients aren’t worth anywhere near what we’re paying them, so we don’t happen to like their contracts either. So, how about we negotiate Cano’s contract upwards, and then also negotiate Soriano’s and A-Rod’s downwards?

    Boras — Uh, no way!

    Cashman — Well then, no way to you too!

  • Eric

    Stephen’s writing during the week now? Movin’ on up.

    I agree with the idea of guaranteeing the options and giving Cano a 4-year extension, but I can’t imagine Boras advising him to take such a deal unless it involves a serious overpay. Since he’s not on the free agent market for two years, the Yankees have no incentive to pay full market price for Cano, and I can’t imagine Boras accepting a deal worth less than the market value for a 29 year-old stud second baseman.

    Realistically, this all seems like posturing to me, and Cano will most likely hit the market in 2 years.

    • Matcohen

      There is no point in posturing. Only an idiot would posture for no purpose and Boras is no idiot.

      Cano likes being a Yankee and told his agent to get an extension if he can just like Weaver did.

  • UncleArgyle

    I’m on board with giving Cano something along the lines of 6/120.

  • Reggie C.

    If Cano jumps at 6/100, I think the FO would have to make an exception and redo the contract. I assume the two years remaining are rescinded and replaced with the new contract. Right?

    Cano’s offense is at its peak. He could conceivably stay at 2011 levels for another couple seasons and then command a 6 year, 120 plus million deal as a starting point.

    • Bronxville Bob

      In order for a new deal to happen, the Yankees will have to redo the contract completely. They can’t do it as an extension.

      As Joe alluded to above, the only reason Boras would be willing to do a “below-market” deal is for his benefit. While Cano is his client, he was not involved in Cano’s current contract, which means Boras has made no money off of the two prior seasons and right now stands to make no money off of Cano’s upcoming two seasons. Four seasons without making money is not Boras’ way!

      Boras wants to be making money off of Cano now and the only way that will happen is if the current contract is ripped up and a new one is put in place. An extension won’t do it.

  • Matcohen

    The most you would do would be $29 million for 2 years and $23,000,000*4 for the next 4.

    $121 million over 6 years.

    Cano is a 6 win a year player. So if he hits that level for years 3 and 4 and drops to 4 wins per year in years 5 and 6, he’ll still average $4.6 million per win which is reasonable.

    If the Yanks can beat that, it’s a good deal versus the alternative of some idiot paying him $23 and 5 or 6 in 2 years and the Yankees losing him for a draft pick.

  • BK2ATL

    Think about this for a sec. Imagine how much better Cano would be/will be if/when he becomes more selective at the plate.

    We got something special here.

    • Matcohen

      He won’t. But he’s worth 6 wins a year now.

    • Bronxville Bob

      He’s not getting better. He is what he is. And that’s a good thing.

  • Matcohen

    Weaver’s deal
    $1 million signing bonus
    12:$14M, 13:$16M, 14:$16M, 15:$18M, 16:$20M

    So he bought out 1 year at a couple million over what he would have gotten in his final year of arbitration. After that, he got $70 million over 4 years ($17.5 million per year) for one of the best pitchers in baseball.

    CC got $161/7 ($23 per) from the Yanks as a free agent. This was a huge discount (24%) for the Angels.

    • your mom

      CC should be more like Weaver.

  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher (formerly Jorge)

    Dear Scott,

    We have CC and the rest of the rotation to worry about right now. We will get back to you when having to look at Cano’s next contract becomes the more important concern, which I believe is in 2014.

    Brian Cashman

  • David, Jr.

    Boras was only kidding. A lot of nonsense.

  • Tom

    While the #’s on the extension thrown out seem nice… in what world would Cano and Boras agree to it?

    Current 2 years: 29mil (14.5per)
    Proposed 6 years: 100 mil (16.67per)

    So for the benefit of an extra ~4mil over the next 2 year, Cano is effectively going to agree to a 4 year extension at 16.67 per?

    Is there anyway Cano doesn’t get that on the open market? Yeah there is always the injury risk, but he’s likely getting significantly more money per year (20per?) and more years (5-6) if he waits. Is an extra 4mil over the next 2 years really going to entice Boras and Cano to go that far under market value?

    • Matcohen

      He should get up to $20-$23 million per for the next 4 years. That’s what Boras told Cano he could get and Cano told him to do it if he can. Why? Because he wants to stay with the Yankees. No other explana

      They wouldn’t waste their or the Yankees time asking for $20 million over 6.