Cano focused on playing, not contract talks
All-Star second baseman will leave negotiations to agent Boras and Yankees
TAMPA, Fla. -- One day after general manager Brian Cashman revealed the Yankees have made "a significant offer" that could keep Robinson Cano in pinstripes, the All-Star second baseman said that he had little more to add to the discussion.
Cano said that he wants to let his agent, Scott Boras, handle any and all negotiations with the Yankees. The 30-year-old Cano will earn $15 million this year and can be a free agent after the season.
"I'm going to say the same thing that I said the other day; I'm just focused on playing baseball," Cano said on Friday. "I'm going to let Scott and the Yankees discuss that. I'm not an agent. I'm just going to focus on playing baseball."
Cano refused comment when asked if he and Boras had rejected the Yankees' offer, but acknowledged that it can be difficult at times not to think about his contract status.
"It's never going to go out of your head, that's all I can say," Cano said.
Boras told CBS Sports on Thursday that, by mutual agreement, discussions with the Yankees "shall remain confidential" and "will cease if they are a distraction to Robinson's performance and leadership of the 2013 Yankees."
Cano is preparing to leave Yankees camp on Sunday to report for workouts with the Dominican Republic's World Baseball Classic squad.
"Like I said, I'm just going to focus on baseball and not let anything get in my head and distract not only me, but the team," Cano said. "I don't want to be a selfish guy. I just want to help the team win another championship and just prepare myself to help the team win another championship."
Cashman revealed the Yankees' offer on Thursday, first in a radio interview and then to a group of reporters. Cashman mistakenly thought that managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner had publicly announced the Yankees' offer to Cano, but Steinbrenner had only said the Yankees were "willing to consider a significant long-term contract" to keep Cano in pinstripes.
"I thought I was saying something that was said," said Cashman, who referred to the slip on Friday as his "Joe Biden gaffe."
It has been speculated that Cano could seek an eight- to 10-year contract in the arena of $25 million per season if he reaches free agency. Manager Joe Girardi said that he believes Cano will be able to block out the chatter about his next deal.
"Robbie's going to get paid," Girardi said. "One way or another, Robbie's going to get paid. I don't think that's Robbie's biggest concern. Sometimes when you're arbitration eligible, you haven't made a lot of money in your career, and you tend to put a lot of pressure on yourself maybe that first and second time. Robbie's made some money."
Cano's previous agent, Bobby Barad, negotiated a four-year, $30 million pact with the Yankees before the 2008 season. That deal included club options of $14 million for 2012 and $15 million for 2013, both of which the Yankees exercised.
"I think it's fairly normal for when a guy is a free agent to think about his contract," Girardi said. "But I also think it's normal for a guy who is arbitration-eligible to think about his contract, because this is how we make our living. I think Robbie will be able to block it out, I think Robbie will go out and have a good year and play well. He might have to answer questions about it, but I'm sure it will all die down once the season starts."
Cano said that he would let Boras decide about contract negotiations being cut off if, in fact, they do become a distraction.
As for Cashman, who is planning to jump from a plane with the Army Golden Knights on Monday near Miami to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project, the GM said he learned his lesson from Thursday's misstep.
"I've got no comment," Cashman said. "I want to make sure I have a parachute."