NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The first order of business is done in the Bronx: New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi is locked up through the 2017 season.
Now the team can focus on player personnel, starting with All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano.
Girardi just signed a four-year deal. Cano reportedly asked for 10, though it's hard to imagine the Yankees going there. Girardi hopes the free-agent-to-be will factor his legacy into the equation.
"If ever there was a year that that would have an effect on him it would have to be this year after watching what Mo and Andy went through, and how they were celebrated," Girardi said Wednesday on WFAN radio, referring to the retirements of Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. "I hope it does because he has a chance to be one of the great Yankees, but only time will tell."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi
General manager Brian Cashman has also appealed to Cano's sense of pinstripe pride, saying the 30-year-old "has the chance to be the first Dominican-born to be in Monument Park, a homegrown Yankee." But it's a business at the end of a day -- with big dollars at stake.
Cano reportedly wants in excess of $300 million, but co-owner Hal Steinbrenner has said the Yankees aren't ready to pull the trigger on that sort of mega-deal.
"You know, I don't know," Girardi said of Cano's future. "I thought Albert Pujols would always be a Cardinal. And there are a lot of guys that you think that is going to be the case and sometimes it doesn't work out. I always talk about how in free agency it takes two to tango. We know how important he is to our club and he knows how important he is to our club, but you never know what another club might do and that's the concern."
Girardi will return to a Yankees team rife with uncertainty. The club has a slew of free agents, including Cano, outfielder Curtis Granderson and starting pitcher Phil Hughes. Then there's the health of captain Derek Jeter, whose nightmarish season ended early, after yet another setback to his surgically repaired left ankle.
"I mean it's conceivable that you're going to lose seven, eight, nine, 10 players off this club and that's very unusual for us," Girardi said. "And that to me is the biggest difference – there's question marks that will be answered over the winter."
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