NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — When is it not about A-Rod?
According to a report in the Daily News, if the Yankees are serious about bringing back Robinson Cano, importing Masahiro Tanaka from Japan and adding a few more arms — while getting in under the $189 million luxury tax threshold — they will in all likelihood need Alex Rodriguez’s entire 211-game suspension upheld by Major League Baseball’s arbitrator.
Rodriguez is scheduled to make $27.5 million next season, with a likely $6 million bonus for passing Willie Mays on the all-time home run list. If his full suspension is upheld, those monies will be wiped away, giving the Yankees more flexibility to shell out the millions upon millions it will take to re-sign second baseman Cano (more on him in a bit), possibly re-sign right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, make a strong push for phenom Tanaka and add a few relievers, the newspaper reported.
The reason why the Yankees and $189 million keep being brought up is if they can come in under that amount, their luxury tax rate would be slashed from 50 percent to 17.5 percent, which, considering next year’s market figures to be loaded with starting pitching, could open the door to endless spending possibilities for a club not afraid to go the extra mile and then some to get what it wants.
Yankees general partner Hal Steinbrenner has said time and again that getting in under $189 million this offseason is not a mandate, but one has to figure if he really wants general manager Brian Cashman to get it done, it will get done. Which is why the spending spree the Yankees have been on this offseason seems to suggest the luxury tax goal may have to be re-examined next season.
So far, the Yankees have signed catcher Brian McCann to a five-year, $85 million deal, Jacoby Ellsbury to a reported seven-year, $153 million deal, and utility infielders Brendan Ryan and Kelly Johnson to contracts totaling around $5 million next season. And Steinbrenner recently said the Yankees’ offseason plan is just now starting to kick into high gear.
So A-Rod, $189 million, who knows? Regardless, the Yankees, by hook or by crook, appear determined to put a World Series-caliber team on the field in 2014.
MARINERS RAMP UP OFFER TO CANO?
CBSSports.com and WFAN baseball insider Jon Heyman has learned Seattle has upped its offer to Cano, refuting an earlier report from the NY Post that said the Mariners were getting cold feet.
The Mariners are believed to have bid as much as $225 million over nine years for Cano’s services, Heyman reported.
“I think they’ve got to blow him away,” one Mariners connected person told Heyman. “They’ve got to make any offer he can’t refuse.”
Earlier, a report in the Post said the Mariners “don’t have the stomach” to give Cano the eight-year, $200 million contract that was widely reported earlier in the week as being possible.
The Yankees have offered Cano what is believed to be a seven-year contract for $168 million to $175 million, and they have made it clear they will not go anywhere near $200 million.
Cano has lowered his demands of late, once an unprecedented 10 years for $310 million, to nine for up to $260 million, Heyman reported.
The Yankees have been preparing as if Cano won’t be back, signing Johnson, who hit 16 homers last season for Tampa Bay.
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