Now that the Boston Red Sox have signed Dustin Pedroia to a contract covering what is likely to be the rest of his career, it seems a fitting time for the Yankees to sit down and hash out a long-term deal with their franchise second baseman, Robinson Cano.
Unlike Pedroia, who wasn't set to be a free agent for a couple of years, there's a good deal of urgency when it comes to signing Cano. He will, after all, become a free agent in three months, possibly leaving the Yankees without the most valuable position player on the team.
It's a Herculean task to overestimate just how important he is to the Yankees, and to the 2013 Yankees most of all. The Yankees' offense this season has totaled 6.9 wins above replacement, and Cano has 4.4 of them.
In other words, the Yankees' offense without Cano is that of a 100-loss team. Even if a very optimistic scenario happens and Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez all make it back healthy without missing a beat -- and not suspended, in the case of the latter -- they still can't afford to lose Cano.