The question of the playoffs is gone for the Yankees. The question of the payoff is now the main game in town.

What are they going to do about Robinson Cano? It is a decision that will significantly decide how they are shaped in 2014 and for many years to come. It will show if they have the fortitude to draw a negotiating line in the sand and walk away even from a homegrown player they desperately need and want.

The gap between the sides is sizeable. The Yankees’ opening offer was what the Mets gave David Wright (eight years at $138 million) but without the deferrals the third baseman received. The next bid was seven years in the $161 million-$168 million range. The Cano camp countered at 10 years $310 million — $5 million more than Alex Rodriguez would earn on his record deal if he triggered all of his milestone home run bonuses.

The Yankees swear they are not going near 10 years or that figure feeling the A-Rod contract was educational to avoid such commitments for players already in their thirties. Cano who turns 31 next month has indicated there will be no discount for the Yanks. But will he really follow the last dollar if it puts him in say Seattle? It is a game of chicken with many pressure points and interesting characters — not the least of whom is Jay Z.

What does the rapper/mogul see as the endgame with the first significant client in his sports agency? A record contract even if it means taking Cano elsewhere or keeping him at a very good price in New York because of the legacy/off-the-field possibilities Cano attracts as a lifelong Yankee?

But the most important initial question is who are the Yankees bidding against and at what dollar figures?

Because I could see the Yanks maxing out at eight years $200 million although some key organizational voices say that kind of money over that kind of length is ill-advised and can be better spent with less risk elsewhere. Still the Yankees could sell themselves that it is not 10 years and it is not far different from what they were willing to do four years ago for Mark Teixeira (eight years $180 million).