Yanks GM defends Cano's decision

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- If faced with a decision over a legacy in the Bronx but significantly less money, or a much larger deal across the country, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he would do what Robinson Cano did.

"He had 240 million reasons to go to Seattle and if I were him, I would have done the same thing," Cashman said, sitting poolside at the Swan & Dolphin Hotel Tuesday as he took a minute from talking trade at the winter meetings to speak with reporters.

The Yankees tried since last spring training to sign Cano but never had the feeling they were close on anything, sources told ESPNNewYork.com.

"I didn't want to let Robbie go, but we gave it our best bullet with $175 million for seven [years]," Cashman said. "Someone took him [from] us for a lot more."

Cano, 31, has been the Yankees' most durable player over the past few years, appearing in 159 or more games in every season since 2007. Still, the Yankees would not budge over a seven-year offer.

"Just the comfort level," Cashman said. "Everyone can see he is a great player. It is just properly addressing value is difficult. We see on a yearly basis. Two teams can be fighting over the same player and come out with rather different offers for the same player. That's obviously what happened here."

During the negotiations, Cashman annoyed Cano's side when he said that Cano "loves the money," but on Tuesday he had only praise for Cano.

"He is as good as they come," Cashman said. "He was on a Hall of Fame path with us. Hopefully, for them, he will continue that Hall of Fame path. That's what he was for us, just a remarkable player, but the teams change on a yearly basis. We have had a lot of players that we have imported. We have had a lot of players that have been home grown. We have traded for great ones and we've traded great ones. It is just the nature of the beast.

"It is a tremendous situation for him and his family. It is obviously something he put himself in a position to earn, and we took a run at him last spring training. We were hoping we could retain him. Clearly, he made the right decision by playing out, hitting the market, testing the market because look at what has happened for him and his family."