Yankees, Cano have talked ‘significant’ contract

ny-yanks-300The New York Yankees have talked to Robinson Cano’s agent about a “significant” long-term contract for the star second baseman, owner Hal Steinbrenner said.

The Yankees traditionally refuse to negotiate any extensions on existing contracts, but Steinbrenner repeatedly has indicated that he might make an exception for Cano, who is set to become a free agent following the 2013 season.

Steinbrenner, who said earlier this month that there had been “a conversation or two” about Cano, confirmed Tuesday that the Yankees talked with the second baseman’s agent, Scott Boras.

“We expressed to Scott how much we liked Robbie and what a great Yankee he’s been and we hope he continues his career here for a long time to come,” Steinbrenner told reporters, according to Newsday. “We just indicated to him, on a very preliminary basis, that we were willing to consider a significant long-term contract, and left it at that. There’s nothing really to report since then.”

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Cano, 30, will play this season under a team option that will pay him $15 million. But Boras is expected to seek a deal similar to what the Cincinnati Reds are paying Joey Votto ($225 million over 10 years) or what the Los Angeles Angels are paying Albert Pujols ($240 million for 10 years).

Steinbrenner said Tuesday that the conversation with Boras was “very broad.”

“The main purpose of the conversation was just to let him know we want Robbie to continue to be a Yankee and we appreciate all his contributions,” Steinbrenner said.

Neither Boras nor Yankees general manager Brian Cashman commented on Steinbrenner’s remarks. A source with knowledge of the talks told ESPNNewYork.com earlier this month that the Yankees plan to “try hard” to keep Cano.

“From a business standpoint, it would make sense for the Yankees to try to sign Cano now,” the source told ESPNNewYork.com’s Wallace Matthews.

Cano batted .313 with 33 home runs, 94 RBIs and a team-high .929 OPS in 2012. The four-time All-Star is a .308 lifetime hitter who has averaged 28 homers and 101 RBIs over his past four seasons, and is considered one of the best defensive second basemen in the majors.