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Rounding Third: Not buying Yanks' tough stance with Cano

By Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - File this under the "take it with a grain of salt category", but apparently the New York Yankees aren't going to wait around for free agent second baseman Robinson Cano.

Now at first it seems kind of ludicrous considering who we are talking about, but according to ESPN New York, the Yankees have reiterated to Cano's agents that their best offer will only be on the table for so long.

But if you believe that, then well you must be counting the days until Alex Rodriguez is exonerated.

New York has already opened its wallet this offseason, agreeing to a 5-year, $85 million deal with catcher Brian McCann. And reportedly the team is closing in on a deal with outfielder Carlos Beltran, while keeping an eye on a number of other potential free agent targets and still trying to remain under their goal of a $189 million payroll.

As much as they might want to meet that payroll expectation, it's a long shot and honestly, probably went out the window when they missed the playoffs and had to watch Boston win a World Series.

By all accounts the Yankees have offered Cano a 7-year, $160 million deal, but his people are insisting on a 10-year deal that will pay the All-Star second baseman north of $300 million.

The bottom line is that, despite what they might be saying publicly, the Yankees will wait for Cano. And Cano will come down on his ridiculous asking price, quite simply because nobody will likely even come close to matching the Yankees offer.

And if his new Roc Nation representative Jay Z wants to market him as the sport's Michael Jordan, what better place to do that than in New York?

The fact of the matter is this was never a deal that was going to be decided quickly and everyone involved knows that. Rarely is a big deal like this consummated before the Winter Meetings.

Cano is just too valuable to the Yankees to let him walk away. He may not be the face-of-the-franchise type like a Derek Jeter, but Cano is darn good. How good? Well he is just one of only four players in the game who have been worth more than five wins above replacement in each of the past four seasons.

The Yankees offense was downright offensive last year. Imagine it without Cano.

Cano's biggest obstacle in this process seems to be a case of bad timing.

Show me the team that is going to go higher than the Yankees. Boston? Nope Dustin Pedroia is at second. Either of the Los Angeles teams? Nope. The Dodgers just signed Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero and the Angels already have four players scheduled to make $20 million-plus in 2016. Detroit? They just traded Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler.

Washington, Baltimore, San Francisco? Who?

There are not a whole lot of viable options, which is amazing considering the player we are talking about.

The Rangers do have an opening at second base and have a ton of money to spend. The popular belief is that they will move super prospect Jurickson Profar to second, but some have speculated that Texas could still move him, perhaps in a deal for Tampa left-hander David Price or St. Louis outfielder Oscar Taveras.

If that's the case the Rangers could then in turn make a run at Cano.

Then there are the Tigers, who may or may not have had a secret meeting with Cano's agents over the weekend. Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski was quick to shoot that down, though.

"We plan on having Ian Kinsler as our second baseman this year," Dombrowski told Mlive.com in an email on Friday.

Yes, but perhaps he was inquiring if Cano would like to move to third, a position he is familiar with. And let's be honest he wouldn't exactly be replacing Brooks Robinson over there. Cano is a Gold Glove second baseman. On his worst day, he'd still be an upgrade defensively at third over Miguel Cabrera, who will be shifting across the diamond for the Tigers with Fielder gone.

Now both scenarios are extreme longshots, but still a more likely option than Cano signing with the Mets, another team he reportedly met with.

But that's what happens here in the offseason when there's not much else going on, we speculate.

One team that could be an under the radar player here might be Seattle. The Mariners have a ton of young pitching and may be a bat away from competing.

Seattle seems intent on landing an outfield bat, but maybe that middle of the order bat it covets could be Cano.

Again, though, no team is going to give him $300 million. And if a team does get close to $200 million, you have to believe the Yankees will go there.

Remember, as important as this deal is for Cano, it's equally important to Jay Z. If he botches this deal and Cano winds up with even less than what the Yankees are offering there won't be that mass exodus to Roc Nation as some have predicted.

Cano needs New York just as much as the Yankees need him.

There won't be any ultimatum, though. The Yankees will wait. This is a process. And it's just started. There will be a hundred other rumors from here until Cano actually puts pen to paper.

That is the beauty of baseball's offseason.

11/26 13:53:09 ET