New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano is an impending free agent, and since the Yanks could not work out a long-term deal with him in spring training, he’s set to cash in big time this offseason.
But when Cano released his contract demands last week, the baseball world could not help but chuckle.
Cano is said to be seeking a 10-year deal for somewhere between $305-310 million. This would easily be the largest contract in baseball history, with an average annual salary around $30 million per season.
This is downright laughable.
Don’t get me wrong: Cano is an exceptional baseball player. He hits for power and average, has great speed, plays an impeccable defense and rarely misses a game.
But even with all his talent, Cano is not the best player in the game right now. Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen are the cream of the crop in baseball right now, and they are all younger than Cano.
Cano will be 31 years old before the end of the playoffs. At that age, a 10-year deal would be ludicrous. Just look at what happened with Alex Rodriguez. He was hands down the best player in the game in the mid-2000s, so the Yankees locked him up to a 10-year, $275 million contract.
Boy, do they wish they hadn’t done that.
It’s almost though that the Yanks had to overspend to keep A-Rod, because another team would have gobbled him up for that money. In Cano’s case, even the Los Angeles Dodgers -- the Yankees’ primary competitor in signing Cano -- would be hard pressed to offer $300 million to Cano.
The decision by Cano to release these contract demands actually might backfire. Cano is now a client of Roc Nation, rapper Jay-Z’s new sports agency. If Cano does not get a contract that meets his demands -- which seems very likely -- other free agents may see it as a sign of weakness from Roc Nation.
The Yankees right now are offering a contract in the neighborhood of seven years and $160 million. For a 31-year-old second baseman, that is extremely generous.
The new Yankees’ regime does not appear willing to overpay for Cano. If George Steinbrenner were still running the show, Cano would likely have been locked up long-term already. But with his sons in charge and looking to decrease the Yankees’ payroll to around $190 million, Cano will be given a “take-it-or-leave-it” offer, and that will be it.
The Yankees are on the verge of a major personnel shift. Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte are done; Derek Jeter’s time in pinstripes is limited; and who knows where A-Rod will be next season?
Cano was expected to be the new long-term face of the Yankees, but unfortunately, loyalty in baseball is a thing of the past. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim threw a boatload of money at St. Louis Cardinals icon Albert Pujols, and we know how that ended.
Cano will likely accept whichever offer is the highest. There’s no such thing as a hometown discount anymore.
Realistically though, even a team desperate for Cano would be crazy to go over seven years. Money value is one thing, but being tied into a player for a decade -- especially one who is already over 30 -- is simply foolish from an organizational standpoint.
If I had to predict, I believe Cano signs with either the Yankees or Dodgers for seven or eight years and around $200 million. But the way money is being thrown around today -- Hunter Pence just signed for $90 million -- nothing would surprise me too much.- Shows
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