The thought has been that if the Yankees can't re-sign Robinson Cano to an extension then they'll have to compete with the free spending Dodgers for his services once he becomes an unrestricted free agent. That might not actually be the case, though, and the Yankees might have a better chance of re-signing him than initially thought.
Team president Stan Kasten recently talked about a team policy that they do not trade for or sign players with contracts that run beyond their age 36 season. Despite their free-spending ways, Josh Beckett is under contract through his age 34 season, Carl Crawford his age 35 season, and Adrian Gonzalez his age 36 season. That means that if they were to pursue the 30-year-old Cano in the offseason, they would only be able to offer him a six year deal. That seems to be the consensus for the minimum amount of years his potential contract could go.
The Dodgers might actually be more interested in acquiring or signing Chase Utley to man second base for them instead. One NL executive believes that going after him makes a lot more sense:
I know everyone has [Robinson] Cano going to the Dodgers as a free agent if the Yanks don't get him signed up, but I would put it at 90 percent that Utley ends up there.
His reasoning was that if they plan to offer Clayton Kershaw a monstrous $200 million contract then the organization is not going to have as much free cash as people anticipate. Utley, at age 34, would be in line for a two year contract if the Dodgers stick to their policy. The only thing that might hinder this plan is that Phillies' GM Ruben Amaro doesn't see his team as sellers quite yet, and even if they are he's more likely to deal Michael Young and then re-sign Utley to make him a 'Phillie for life'.
No matter how it works out for the Dodgers, it doesn't look like they'll be as big of a threat to the Yankees as expected. This won't stop the team that lands Cano from having to shell out millions of dollars over many years, but it could help Brian Cashman keep contract talks out of the 10 year range. Maybe eight years could do it in order to avoid another lengthy contract that spans into the player's 40s.
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