Alex Rodriguez will continue to draw the most attention around the Yankees, mainly because, well, he is Alex Rodriguez, The Man Who Swallows News Cycles.

Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Ichiro Suzuki, Raul Ibanez and likely Rafael Soriano highlight a long, important list of free agents for the Yankees to decide about.

Yet the most significant long-term issue facing the Yankees has nothing to do with A-Rod or the looming free agents. After all, the Yankees are not building their future around anyone from that group. But they must determine whether they want to make the substantial emotional and financial investment to build around Robinson Cano.

General manager Brian Cashman reiterated yesterday he will confer with owner Hal Steinbrenner about whether it is wise to break organizational policy and negotiate an extension with a player before he reaches free agency. The biggest reason to do that would be to see whether there are financial savings by acting a year early. However, players don't fire their old agents to hire Scott Boras to give monetary breaks to their employers. They do it to hit the financial jackpot.

Whenever I have asked about his financial goals, Cano always has said he is not concentrating on that subject. Yet a few members of the team told me Cano has said he is expecting a 10-year contract at top-of-the-market dollars. In a conversation with me yesterday, Boras also did not give numbers, but it was clear he expects his client to be treated financially like one of the great players in the game.