Robinson Cano is the best hitter on the Yankees.
That was probably true coming into the 2011 season, although it wasn't something that got mentioned all that much when people were looking at the Yankees.
It was certainly true halfway through the season, although it was hard to find anyone talking about much other than Curtis Granderson's breakout first half.
But it was unavoidable once the end of the season rolled around and Cano had been moved up to the third spot in the order. He didn't carry the offense all by himself, but he did plenty of heavy lifting in the place of Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira down the stretch and he was one of the only guys on the team not to embarrass themselves in the brief playoff stay.
And now he wants to get paid for all that. Cano's agent, Scott Boras, told the Post that he's been trying to get in touch with Brian Cashman, who is negotiating his own contract right now, about re-doing Cano's deal.
Cano has club options for the next two seasons -- $14 million in 2012 and $15 million in 2013 -- that must be picked up at the same time, and they will be picked up because that's a bargain price for a player of Cano's ability. Boras wants to tear the thing up and do a new deal.
"I called Cash to ask about dropping the options and he hasn't returned the call," Boras said.
Give Boras and Cano credit for their timing. With the Yankees reportedly set to make a six-year offer to CC Sabathia that will pay him in the neighborhood of $24 million, Cano suddenly looks staggeringly underpaid.
Even if Sabathia wasn't about to get a big new deal, Cano would look underpaid. He makes less than A-Rod, Teixeira and Derek Jeter despite being a more productive player than all three of them over the last two seasons.
So he's got a good case, but it probably isn't going to help him get a new deal. He's a bargain right now and the team isn't going to balk at signing him to a lavish deal in two years when he'll be 31 and, presumably, still one of the best hitters in all of baseball.
Because of that, it is hard to imagine this becoming a serious issue between player and team. The deals always get done in Yankeeland, even when you choose to rip up your contract and make yourself a free agent three years into a seven-year deal.
Other teams would lock up a player like Cano for as long as possible right now because the fear of losing him to free agency would spook them into giving Boras exactly what he wants. The Yankees have never operated with that kind of fear.
When you are the boogeyman that lurks in the dark recesses of the minds of general managers around the league, the only thing that scares you is the end of those long-term deals not giving them out in the first place.