It has been widely reported that Cano's camp is seeking a 10 year $305 million contract for next season. The deal amounts to what A-Rod would earn if he reached all the homerun incentives, and would easily be the largest contract in baseball. I half believe that this is just a strategic move to up his total value, but if it's not, I'll be the first to say that Cano is insane if he thinks he will get that sort of contract from the Yankees or any other team for that matter. The Yankees have recently been reported to have offered a 7-year $161 million deal for Cano, which would put him at 2nd base until he's 38. But as this article states, this offer is still ridiculously high for Cano, and he would be crazy not to take it. This contract is for 7 years and $23 million a season guaranteed. As the article mentions, players in any position are at their peak performance at around age 28 (Cano will be 31 next season), and only 18 players from 1921 - 2004 have deviated from this trend by having peak performances later in their careers. Out of these 18 players, we have all-time greats such as Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGuire. So in other words, unless the Yankees want another A-Rod level PED scandal, we're going to be paying for the declining years of Cano. Now with that being said, Cano's value to the Yankees is far greater than his on-field performance. He's a homegrown player, well-liked by the fan base, and we're coming off a demoralizing year. He's the best hitting second baseman in baseball, and a top level defensive player. That being said, 7 years and $161 million is more than just reasonable, it's over paying for what we're going to get out of him going forward. Is it worth it? Absolutely. This compensates him for how well he's played for us thus far, and as I mentioned, he means a lot to us beyond his on field performance over the next 7 years. They could up the total deal by $10 million and still have it be worthwhile. Should we pay much more than that? Absolutely not. In this scenario, the only players on the Yankees making more than Cano would be A-Rod and Sabathia: No reasonable person in Yankee land thinks the A-Rod deal was smart, and Sabathia is signed through 2017, and is already showing signs of wearing down (4.78 ERA, gave up the most earned runs in the league, allowed a career high in homeruns).
Might Cano get more money from another team? Maybe, but even the top spenders in MLB are leery of the big contracts they've taken on, and are probably gun shy about paying top dollar for players in their early 30's. The Angels got burned with the Pujols and Hamilton contracts, the Dodgers already said they'd pass on Cano, the Red Sox have a second baseman they like, there are other teams that may make a surprise bid (Phillies, Cubs, Nationals etc.) but I have to think even they will be shy about topping a 7 year $161 million deal.
In short, if I were to offer any advice for the Yankees it would be this: if Cano is offered anything near the $305 million he is looking for, let him walk. The Cardinals did it with Pujols, and have been extremely successful as a franchise.
I love Cano, I want him on the Yankees, but the only consistent thing we've learned about these types of contracts is that they come back to bite us in the rear in major ways. They give us $20+ million players who miss entire seasons at a time. Pay the 7 years, and $161 million, up it a few million or add some incentives if it gets the deal done, but if he's going to hold out for much more than that, let him walk.