There's been chatter swelling since camp began about Robinson Cano's future with the New York Yankees, what the team is willing to pay their star second baseman and what he'd attract on the open market after the 2013 season.
That chatter boosted "significantly" on Thursday, as Yankees management went on record saying they've offered Cano a "significant" contract extension. We don't know how many years, how many millions of dollars or even whose definition of "significant" we're talking about. Surely, Cano's agent Scott Boras has one view of what's "significant," the Yankees another.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told MLB.com's Bryan Hoch that the offer is out there and that there have been negotiations in recent weeks, but "Cashman declined to comment further on the state of the talks."
Speaking to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Boras said:
"Robinson is focused on preparing for and playing the 2013 season. By agreement, discussions shall remain confidential. Also by agreement, discussions will cease if they are a distraction to Robinson's performance and leadership of the 2013 Yankees.''
From that, we can infer that Boras and Cano are probably looking for more than what the Yankees are offering. Reports have estimated Cano's price at $20-$25 million per season, with a contract term of 10 years. That would make Cano 40 years old when the contract expires. Given what the Yankees got in A-Rod's twilight, you have to wonder if they'd be willing to commit to a 10-year deal with a guy who is already 30.
Cano is a career .308/.351/.503 hitter and two-time Gold Glove winner. Combined, that's made him a perennial MVP candidate, and the "young" star on an aging Yankees team.
Here's Cashman talking about the Cano contract offer:
Dodgers president and owner predict a dynasty: The new guys running Dodgertown are nothing if not brazen. They've made big deals, spent big money, landed big names, brought in Magic Johnson and lured back Sandy Koufax.
Now, at the start of a season that could mean a return a greatness for L.A., the new owner and president of the Dodgers are talking big too.
World Series big? Nope. Dynasty big.
In a USA Today story, Dodgers president Stan Kasten and CEO Mark Walter gave the rest of the National League early bulletin-board material:
They believe the Dodgers will become a dynasty, and when asked whether it's possible for anyone to duplicate the Atlanta Braves' era when they won 14 consecutive division titles with Kasten as president, they weren't shy.
"It's going to be done again," Walter said, "this time on the West Coast. Oh, sorry."
Kasten, briefly taken aback by the bravado, said: "I'm saying, 'Yes.' But that's all I'm going to say."
Oh, it's going to be a fun year in L.A.
Strasburg strikes out 6: Washington Nationals dynamo Stephen Strasburg struck out six in his second spring start on Thursday night, while pitching three innings against the New York Mets.
Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan has a great column on Strasburg's 2013 goal, which is rather mundane at first glance: pitch a complete season. No injuries. No early shut-down. He hopes.
From the column:
This year, more than anything, is about Stephen Strasburg learning to be like everyone else – and learning whether his body will allow him such a privilege ... [T]he incremental step of Strasburg figuring out how to pace himself over a full season will continue to define whether he can be more than gaudy strikeout rates and crazy stuff and a test case on Tommy John surgery rehabilitation – whether he can be, as once seemed his destiny, not just the finest pitcher in baseball but one of the greatest ever.
Yankees' Rivera throws first simulated game: The next step in 43-year-old closer Mariano Rivera's comeback came Thursday, when he threw 18 pitches in his first simulated game.
''I feel good,'' Rivera said. ''I feel real good. Getting stronger and stronger."
Rivera tore his anterior cruciate ligament in May and required knee surgery. This was the closest thing to game action he's seen since then. This season could be Rivera's last. He says he's made up his mind about retirement, but hasn't announced his decision yet.
Photo/Tweet of the Day: Adam Eaton responds to the jokes going around about this baseball card. First the card, then his response.
— Adam Eaton (@AdamSpankyEaton) March 1, 2013