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Yanks, Cano reportedly agree to deal

Report: Yanks, Cano agree to deal

NEW YORK -- Robinson Cano appears primed to lock in some financial security, and the Yankees are on their way to cementing three-fourths of their infield through at least the 2010 season.

Cano and the Yankees reportedly reached a preliminary agreement on a four-year, $30 million contract on Friday, which would appear to signify something of a change from the way the club normally handles the business of multi-year contracts with younger players.

The deal includes two option years that could raise the value to $55 or $56 million through 2013 for the second baseman, according to reports in The New York Times and the Newark Star-Ledger.

Cano, 25, made his Major League debut with New York in 2005, and is a career .314 hitter in 414 big league games. He would earn approximately $28 million over the first four years of the contract; if the Yankees pick up Cano's options for '12 and '13, he would approximately earn an additional $27 million, according to the reports.

If the Yankees pick up Cano's options for '12 and '13, he would approximately earn an additional $27 million, according to The New York Times.

Cano was eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason, and has spoken optimistically about hoping to remain with the Yankees on a more permanent basis.

The figures exchanged between Cano and the Yankees showed a sizable gap, with Cano requesting $4.55 million and the club offering $3.2 million. He earned $490,800 last year.

Cano batted .306 with a career-high 19 home runs and 97 RBIs in 160 games for the Yankees in '07, overcoming a slow start as he attempted to follow up on a '06 campaign that saw him bat .342, good for third in the American League.

After opening last season with three home runs and 33 RBIs in his first 79 games, Cano went on a second-half surge, slugging 16 home runs and 64 RBIs over the last 81 games.

In August, Cano recalled the genesis of that offensive awakening. During the Yankees' June trip to Chicago, Cano said he took aside another young Yankees regular, outfielder Melky Cabrera, and told his friend if the languishing Yanks were to avoid a baseball-free October, both Cabrera and Cano would have to step up their production.

"I told [Cabrera] one day when we were struggling, 'We need to get on base. If you want to win, we have to get on base,'" Cano said. "'If those other guys don't find anybody on base, that's a different game. When you've got men on base, you do your job, no matter what.'"

The Yankees posted a Major League-best 51-25 record in the second half, winning 94 games and the AL Wild Card. Cano was one of New York's more productive players in the four-game AL Division Series against Cleveland, hitting .333 (5-for-15) with two home runs, three RBIs and three runs scored.

With Cano's long-term deal, the Yankees' infield could remain constant at least through 2010, with third baseman Alex Rodriguez inking a 10-year deal in December to join shortstop Derek Jeter on the left side.

Last month, the Yankees instructed Cano to pull out of action with his Dominican Winter Baseball League club, the Orientales Estrellas, after playing 10 games, including one playoff contest, after he had been cleared for only six due to a previous injury.

Cano said he had suffered an abdominal strain in September, which he was testing in the winter league, but he reported no mobility problems heading into Spring Training.

Cano is one of three players to exchange salary arbitration figures with the Yankees.

Right-handed starter Chien-Ming Wang requested $4.6 million and was offered $4 million, while right-handed reliever Brian Bruney requested $845,000 and was offered $640,000.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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