The New York Yankees have a big winter coming ahead and with Robinson Cano set to be a free agent, there is a chance that the team could lose out on their prize second baseman, making them need some insurance and that appears to be in the form of a trade for Cincinnati Reds 2B Brandon Phillips.
According to CBS Sports and Jon Heyman, the team has made some calls and has checked in with the Reds about the availability and price of Brandon Phillips, as the second baseman is a bit disgruntled with his contract. According to reports, Phillips was upset about being lowballed by the Reds and with $50 million left on his deal and four years, the Yankees would have him under control for a bit if they pull it off. Clearly the deal would come if the Yankees can't sign Cano and while that isn't assured yet, it could be an issue going forward if he wants $300 million.
Phillips is one of the best hitting second basemen on the market and he had over 100 RBIs last season and he has now had a couple run ins in Cincy and that could mean he is on his way out of town. Phillips could be in the mix for a number of teams, including the Dodgers, Orioles and Tigers and that could be tough for the Yankees, as they may have to wait and see on what happens with Cano. The report says the price right now is "way too steep" for a deal, but depending on how the offseason shakes out, that could change.
The Yankees have long wanted to get under the $189 million payroll threshold to get out of paying such high luxury taxes, but based on early reports, the contract Cano wants would likely blow any chance of the team doing that. The franchise helped develop Cano into one of the best second basemen in all of baseball and they don't want to lose him, but after signing Alex Rodriguez to a 10-year deal that obviously was a terrible mistake, the team may decide to pass this one up this time around.
The hard thing for the Yankees is the fact that Cano is probably one of the only players in baseball that could command that type of money right now, as he is entering what should be "prime" seasons at a position where players just don't put up numbers like he does. This past season he hit .314 with 27 home runs and 107 RBIs and that makes it five straight seasons of Cano hitting over .300 with at least 27 home runs and now in three of the past four years he has had over 100 RBIs.
Cano is a durable and consistent player who has played in at least 159 games in each of the last seven seasons and while the Yankees want to keep him, teaming up with Jay-Z could price out even the Yanks. According to ESPN.com, Cano will be asking for a decade long contract worth over $300 million and while that could just be his starting point, that means the first contract offered by the Yankees of just under $200 million is way off of what he is asking for.