- Wallace Matthews, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW YORK -- Another shot of reality potion, on the rocks, is what New York Yankees president Randy Levine has ordered for the representatives of Robinson Cano as agent Jay Z and his team are reportedly holding fast to their demand of a 10-year contract worth $310 million.
"We want Robbie back; we think Robbie is terrific," Levine said Tuesday in a telephone conversation with ESPNNewYork.com. "But we have no interest in doing any 10-year deals and no interest in paying $300 million to any player. Until he gets a little more realistic, we have nothing to talk about.''
On Monday, ESPNNewYork.com reported that Cano's agents, Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA and hip-hip mogul Jay Z, were holding firm to their demand that Cano receive the richest contract in baseball history, surpassing the 10-year, $275 million deal -- with another potential $30 million in performance bonuses -- that the Yankees gave to Alex Rodriguez after he opted out of his existing contract following the 2007 season.
Levine's comments come on the heels of Jay Z meeting with New York Mets brass. The New York Post reported, and ESPN.com confirmed, that Jay Z met with chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, general manager Sandy Alderson and assistant GM John Ricco for dinner Monday night to discuss the free agent.
A source told ESPN.com that the Mets were surprised the meeting leaked to the media so fast and understand that their interest could be leveraged to drive up Cano's asking price.
Levine's response echoed the words of Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner, who said in October that the Yankees were "not prepared'' to sign Cano to a 10-year deal.
Cano's agents seek to market him as "the next Michael Jordan," according to a New York Daily News report, citing unnamed sources.
The back and forth also is reminiscent of the 2010 contract negotiations with Derek Jeter, which turned ugly when a team official famously advised the Yankees captain to "drink the reality potion'' after his agents reportedly demanded a four-year deal worth between $23 million and $25 million a season.
Jeter eventually signed a three-year deal worth $51 million, and he recently was given a one-year deal that will pay him $12 million for the 2014 season.
The Yankees have already made an offer to Cano, believed to be in the area of between five and seven years for around $160 million, an average of approximately $23 million a year.
Levine was reached early Tuesday at his Manhattan office. He was to testify later in the day in the Rodriguez arbitration hearing.
"Signing Robbie is a priority for us,'' said Levine, who said Yankees GM Brian Cashman was also "engaged'' in discussions with "five or six other free agents,'' including infielders Jhonny Peralta and Stephen Drew, both of whom could fill in for Cano at second base, as well as outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo and catcher Brian McCann.
Sources also say they are in on Carlos Beltran.
"We're very active,'' Levine said. "But whoever we sign has got to make sense for us. We made Robbie a very competitive offer.''
Cano's representatives did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Adam Rubin and Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com contributed to this report.
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