The Yankees plan to begin negotiations with the representatives for second baseman Robinson Cano sometime next week, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a late-evening address here at the GM Meetings.

Retaining Cano is the organization’s top priority this offseason. But Steinbrenner reiterated the variety of problems with the roster that must be settled.

“Well, we’re going to be talking to him,” Steinbrenner said about Cano. “But we’re going to be talking to other guys, too, along the way. That’s what we do every year. It’s no different.”

Steinbrenner delivered a few other bits of news, including explaining the team’s resolution on their months-long analysis of their player-development system. The team made a series of “procedural” changes, Steinbrenner said. But Mark Newman will remain the senior vice president of baseball operations in charge of player development and Damon Oppenheimer will continue to run the draft as the director of amateur scouting.

Here is the partial transcript of Steinbrenner’s remarks:

What’s the latest with Cano?

“I’m sure in the next week we’re going to sit down and talk to him. We haven’t really had any communication on any specifics, yet. But it’s the beginning of the process.”

Do you get the sense Jay-Z will join the negotiations, or will it just be Brodie Van Wagenen?

“We’ll see. As of now, again, we’ve had no meetings the last week or two, since this process began, since free agency began. But we’re going to be talking to them, whether it’s in person or on the phone. We’re going to start the process.”

How daunting is this winter, between your payroll goals and the uncertainty regarding Alex Rodriguez?

“Well, it’s difficult. Right now, we’re assuming Alex is going to be our starting third baseman. Time will tell. But we’ve obviously got a lot of holes to fill, and a lot of concerns. But we’re going to keep plugging away, and we’re going to leave no stone unturned, as always. And try to field the best team we can.”

Do you have to make plans for Rodriguez not playing next season?

“Well, again, we’ve got a lot of holes to fill. We’ve got some pitching problems we need to take care of. And third base isn’t the only piece of the puzzle.”

Is the $189 million payroll goal as much a goal as it was two years ago?

“Well, as I’ve been saying for the last few months, not at the expense of fielding a championship-caliber team. We’re not going to do that. We know what the fans expect of us. We’re going to field the best team we can. Is it a goal? It’s absolutely a goal. But not at the expense of that.”

Do you believe you can accomplish both?

“Well, we’ll have to see. We’ll have to see. This is not as strong a free-agent market as other years, so prices may be higher. We’re just at the very beginning right now. We’re going to have to see. We’ve just got to start fixing the problems. We’ve got to start filling the holes, one by one, and we’ll cross each bridge as they come.”

Is getting Cano re-signed the biggest priority?

“Well, we’re going to be talking to him. But we’re going to be talking to other guys, too, along the way. That’s what we do every year. It’s no different.”