Originally written on The Other Paper  |  Last updated 10/4/13

Big Papi thinks Robinson Cano deserves a big payday. "I would give him 500 million," David Ortiz said with a smile Thursday of the rumored $300 million-plus the Yankees second baseman is seeking. "He deserves it." The Red Sox slugger, a friend of Cano's, was joking. Wasn't he? The Boston designated hitter believes Cano, who will turn 31 Oct. 22, should cash in big on the free-agent market while the going is good "Good players deserve to get paid," Ortiz said after his team's workout at Fenway Park. "He's one of the top three players in the game, so somebody's going to have to." Asked if he can picture Cano in a different uniform, Ortiz said "it might happen," but he believes the Yankees will ante up for their only real All-Star. "Every team needs a player like him," Ortiz said. "I definitely believe the Yankees are going to come through. You don't let players like that go. That's a keeper. But you never know. The game is crazy. There's a lot of teams out there with money chasing players like that." Cano is believed to be looking for a contract of eight to 10 years. The Yankees, already burdened with long-term deals with old and injured stars like Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia, want to avoid that kind of commitment. Ortiz said Cano is worth both the money and the years. "At the end of the day, can you expect production from Cano for the next 10 years?" asked Ortiz.  "Yes. Cano makes the game look too easy. I hit the ball so hard toward him this year, and it was like he was expecting it. He anticipates the way you are going to hit, he knows the hitter's swings. He is an extremely smart player. I have never seen a ground ball go by him." Ortiz's teammate, Dustin Pedroia, signed an eight-year, $110-million extension in July, the kind of deal the Yankees would do with Cano in a second. Pedroia and Cano are widely considered to be the top second basemen in the American League, but Cano is looking for far more money. "Those are two different players," said Ortiz, who declined to speculate how Pedroia's contract might impact Cano's. "I don't think you can compare them [to each other]. They're good at what they do individually." Cano hit .314 with 27 homers and 107 RBIs with a .383 OBP and .899 OPS in 160 games. He hit .329 against righthanders and .291 against lefthanders. "I wouldn't be surprised if next year if the whole Yankee lineup is healthy, he ends up being the batting title champ," Ortiz said. "It wouldn't surprise me because that's him, he can hit against anybody. Lefty, righty, he has no weakness." I think I just heard Hal Steinbrenner say Shut up.

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