The Yankees' hierarchy has a multitiered message for Robinson Cano and for Yankees fans: From Brian Cashman to Hal Steinbrenner and (now) Randy Levine, it is clear the Yankees have their talking points down.
1. Fans, don't expect Cano to take anything less than the last dollar, whomever that is from.
2. We want Robbie. We know it is going to take a while, but we are not going to wait forever.
3. We are going to be disciplined in our approach. We will pay him big bucks (read: seven to eight years, $180 million to $200 million), but if he wants more than that, he can find it elsewhere.
4. Jay Z? Yup, we know he is part of Cano's team, but we have not spoken to him on this matter.
Levine made his appearance in Orlando as part of the owners meetings Wednesday, and our own Adam Rubin was there to take in the highlights.
What is the timetable? "I think the clock ticks on both sides. We’re interested in a lot of players. I think from a player’s point of view, he may be interested in a certain team. And that certain team starts filling other needs, there’s obviously less money on the table. And the same with the team. The clock works both ways. If you’re a team, you’ve got to fill up your needs. As much as you may want a great player, if choice two, three, four and five come into play, you’ve got to do it. I think that’s in play for every one of these free agents here. It’s part of the game. 'Game' is a bad choice of words. It’s part of the process.”
Oh, yeah, what about Alex Rodriguez? Do you think you'll have him? “We’re under the impression he’s going to come back. That’s the way we budget it. That’s the way we think. We have no control over that. We’ve never had any control. The process is going on. And it will be over with by the end of the year. That’s what I’m told.”
Will Jay Z be in the negotiations? “I don’t know. We’ll see. He’s a pretty sophisticated guy. I think he knows how to handle himself. ... I’ve had no interaction. I think Robbie is their first baseball player. But they’re professionals. I’ve met Jay Z. I know people in that organization. I’m sure they’re competent to handle it. And CAA has been doing it for a long time. As I read all you guys’ stories today, I think this is going to be about the money.”