The New York Yankees plan on talking to the agents for Robinson Cano on Monday to reiterate that they will only be able to keep their best offer on the table for so long, a baseball official told ESPN New York.
While the Yankees want Cano to stay, they have already agreed with Brian McCann on an $85 million contract and are engaged in talks with a number of other free agents, which is chipping away at their goal of lowering the 2014 payroll to under $189 million to cut their luxury tax burden.
If some of the Yankees' targets agreed to deals before Cano decides, then Cano -- who most believe wants to remain in the Bronx -- runs the risk that the Yankees could lower their offer or move on.
While a source emphasized there is no “ultimatum,” the Yankees feel they only have so much wiggle room above their initial seven-year, $160-plus million offer to Cano, in the context of their $189 million goal.
There is no clear market for the 31-year-old All-Star second baseman, though he is considered by far the best free agent available. Yankees team president Randy Levine already said last week the Yankees will not have serious talks with Cano until he drops off his original $310 million asking price.
"We want Robbie back; we think Robbie is terrific," Levine said. "But we have no interest in doing any 10-year deals and no interest in paying $300 million to any player. Until he gets a little more realistic, we have nothing to talk about."
A source told ESPN New York that Cano’s side formulated the original $310 million proposal prior to free agency as the price of keeping Cano off the market. Still, the two sides seemingly remain far apart, as the Yankees’ initial offer was $150 million less.
Cano is represented by CAA’s Brodie Van Wagenen and Roc Nation’s Jay Z.
The stalemate between the two sides could continue into next month’s Winter Meetings, which take place in Orlando, beginning on Dec. 9.
The Yankees started their free agent shopping spree this weekend by picking up McCann for a deal that contains a vesting option that could push it to $100 million.
In October, it was known the Yankees thought that they could go hard after McCann, Cano and at least one other big time free agent and remain under $189 million in 2014.
Their goals have not changed and a source said they are not slowing down and are being aggressive in the marketplace. They are currently in discussions with the agents for outfielder Carlos Beltran, starter Hiroki Kuroda, second baseman Omar Infante and shortstop Stephen Drew.
They also have interest in Japanese starter Masahiro Tanaka and outfielders Curtis Granderson, Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury. They have kept their eye on the closer market, including Joe Nathan, with the idea that they might keep David Robertson in the eighth inning.
Infante, who turns 32 next month, could also be a third-base option if Alex Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension is upheld. A decision by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz is not expected until early 2014.