NEW YORK -- The Yankees' most pressing task is securing the services of ace CC Sabathia for 2012 and beyond, but Robinson Cano's future briefly became a hot topic of discussion this week.
Agent Scott Boras told the New York Post in Thursday's editions that he wants the Yankees to delete their options on Cano's contract in favor of a new contract extension, but general manager Brian Cashman has not responded.
"I called Cash to ask about dropping the options, and he hasn't returned the call," Boras told the newspaper.
Boras clarified his comments to the newspaper on Friday, saying that he had been joking.
"Cash and I have talked three or four times in the last three days," Boras told the Post. "My statements were in jest. Cash always returns my phone calls. My conversations with Cash about Robinson have nothing to do with the options. We fully expect the options to be exercised."
The Yankees hold two options on the 29-year-old Cano, for $14 million in 2012 and $15 million in 2013, with $2 million buyouts for each year.
The options are part of a four-year, $30 million deal that was negotiated when Cano was represented by agent Bobby Barad. Cano dropped Barad for Boras in February, just before reporting to Spring Training.
At the time, Cano said that the reason behind the switch was "not that I was thinking about a big contract or anything," and that he would not ask the Yankees for an extension to replace his current deal.
"I would never do that," Cano said on Feb. 20. "Those are things that have to be their decision."
It has generally been thought that picking up Cano's options would be a no-brainer for the Yankees. One of the game's best all-around second basemen, Cano hit .302 with 28 homers and a career-high 118 RBIs this year and was second in the Majors in extra-base hits, with 81.
The Yankees are also mulling picking up the $10.25 million option on right fielder Nick Swisher, but their major topic of discussion over the last few days has been the 31-year-old Sabathia.
Sabathia must decide if he will opt out of the remaining four years and $92 million of his contract by three days after the conclusion of the World Series, and his name certainly bounced around the organizational meetings that concluded on Wednesday in Tampa, Fla.
As Cashman said last week, the Yankees are hopeful that they can avoid that, and they plan to present Sabathia's representatives with an offer that might nudge the ace toward not opting out.
Wednesday's meetings lasted about 6 1/2 hours, according to The Associated Press, and were attended by Cashman; Hal Steinbrenner, managing general partner; Randy Levine, team president; Gene Michael, special adviser; Billy Eppler, senior director of pro personnel; Jean Afterman, assistant GM; and Mark Newman, senior vice president of baseball operations.
One player the Yankees won't have to worry about is right-hander Rafael Soriano. Boras told the Post that Soriano won't exercise the opt-out clause in his three-year deal, thus remaining in pinstripes for 2012.
Soriano is set to earn $11 million next year and $14 million in 2013, with $1.5 million buyouts for each year. He had a 4.12 ERA in 42 appearances in 2011, going 2-3 with two saves.
"He adjusted to the [setup] role, liked being there with Mariano [Rivera], and he adjusted to New York City," Boras told the newspaper. "The player is happy there."