Cano, Yankees near agreement on four-year, $30 million contract

NEW YORK -- Robinson Cano and the New York Yankees were nearing agreement Thursday on a $30 million, four-year contract, a departure from the team's stance against giving multiyear contracts to young players.

Cano's deal would include two option years, a person familiar with the negotiations said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not been finalized.

The 25-year-old second baseman, eligible for salary arbitration for the first time, could become a free agent after the 2012 season.

He provided a spark when he joined the Yankees early in the 2005 season and batted .297 with 14 homers and 62 RBIs, finishing second to Oakland Athletics reliever Huston Street in voting for AL rookie of the year.

Cano was an All-Star the following season, when he was third in the AL with a .342 average. He struggled early last year -- his batting average was .234 on May 17 -- but wound up batting .306 with 19 homers and 97 RBIs.

After making $490,800 last season, Cano asked for $4.55 million in arbitration and was offered $3.2 million.

New York has two other players still eligible for arbitration. Starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang asked for $4.6 million and was offered $4 million, and reliever Brian Bruney requested $845,000 while New York countered at $640,000.

The Yankees have several promising young players not yet eligible for arbitration, a group that includes pitchers Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy.