Naturally, everything I suggested in previous articles on what the Yankees should do this offseason, they did the complete opposite. The signed Jacoby Ellsbury to an outrageous contract and decided on giving Carlos Beltran a third year. The latter is somewhat tolerable, however, still not the smartest move for an aging and nonathletic team.
One thing they did that I agree with is they did not offer a 10-year deal to Robinson Cano. The Mariners had to give Cano the years or he would never go there, plain and simple. The Yankees, on the other hand, told him up front they were not going to go 10 years. I don’t think they will ever go 10 years again on any one not named Mike Trout. Is that tampering?
Well, at the end of last week, it was reported that Robinson Cano felt he was “disrespected” by the Yankees in their negotiations. Really? Really Robinson? That’s cute.
An offer of $175 million over seven years is hardly disrespectful. For all of you math whizzes out there, that is a cool $25 million a year into the man’s late 30s. If I’m not mistaken, it would also represent the third highest average annual value in baseball. He should have spit in their faces, that is so disrespectful. Robbie can thank his buddy A-Rod for not getting that 10-year deal. Let’s examine the last two 10-year deals the Yankees gave out, and it should be pretty clear to Robinson Cano why he didn’t get one.
Derek Jeter, 10 years, $189 million (2001)
At the time of Jeter’s deal, he had a few things going in his favor. Number one, he was entering his fifth full season and already had four rings, including a World Series MVP and playoff heroics. Number two, at the time of this contract, Jeter would turn 27 that year. His 10-year deal would pay him until he was 37 years old. At the time, 37-year-old shortstops didn’t seem that unusual, especially when you consider PEDs were not banned at this time. Number three, Jeter was well regarded as the next captain after Don Mattingly, and he officially earned that title in 2003. Number four, this may be the most important point in this: The “Boss” is gone, and his sons are not nearly as free spending as the late Steinbrenner.
While it is impossible to know what Cano would have been offered, I don’t think it would be unreasonable to expect that George would have given Cano close to what A-Rod got just to keep in him pinstripes. Say what you want to say about Jeter’s defensive abilities, the man produced at an above-average rate for every year of this contract except one (2010), and he earned another World Series ring (2009). Should Jeter have been paid what he was paid for that long based on skill alone? Probably not. But what Jeter brought to the Yankees went far beyond his on-field performance. To compare Cano to Jeter at this stage of their careers would be ludicrous and, unfortunately, we will never see if Cano would have been able to match “The Captain’s” pinstripe career at the end.
Alex Rodriguez: 10 years, $275 million (2007)
Do I really need to write anything here? Putting his sideshow antics aside, at the time of A-Rod’s laughable contract, he was just coming off of his third MVP, an OPS+ of 176 and no mention of PED. At the time, he marketed himself as the “clean” challenger to Bonds’ tainted records. We all know how that turned out, especially the Yankees front office. In the post-steroid era, players are just not performing into their late 30s and early 40s. The Yankees do not want another 40-year-old player making upwards of $30 million a year. No one can or should blame them for this. They were burned to the third degree by A-Rod and do not want a repeat.
Cano probably thinks to himself, “Well, I’m not A-Rod!” That is true; however, look at A-Rod’s career statistics at the time of that 2007 signing compared to Cano’s career statistics to date. Go even further and look at Pujol’s career stats to date, the other comparable 10-year whale of a contract. No comparison aside from maybe average, sorry Robbie, you are not A-Rod.
Robinson Cano had the opportunity to cement himself as a Yankees legend and finish his career as arguably the best second baseman in franchise history. Instead, he gets to spend the next 10 years exiled in Seattle. The fact he can even say that he was disrespected is crazy. If anything, he disrespected the Yankees. How can you possibly open negotiations at $310 million and not think the team is going to be wary of your dedication to return? They had submitted offers early on this offseason and were countered. When it was clear Cano was going to the massive contract, they moved on and signed Ellsbury. That is a whole different signing, one I completely disagree with solely on the length of the contract. However, it was clear to the Yankees they weren’t going to reach a middle ground, so they moved on to the second best position player in their minds. Even still, they had not removed their offer to Cano; he still could have come back at seven years and $175 million.
In a time where the massive contracts aren’t working, the Yankees made a business decision. Granted, they’ve made a few pretty bad business decisions this offseason, but not giving Robinson Cano a 10-year deal wasn’t one of them. Cano left due to the years, not the money, and that is his right as an elite player. But to say the Yankees disrespected him is outlandish.
For someone who claimed he loved New York and loved the fans in New York, he disrespected the fans and teams by deciding to spend his final three years of his contract miserable in Seattle. Hiring a rapper, who doesn’t know a thing about baseball or how to negotiate, to suck as much money as possible out of teams is disrespectful. As crazy as this might read, the Yankees probably missed Scott Boras during those negotiations.
On a side note, I have heard many Yankees fans claiming Cano was going to be the next captain after Jeter. To this I say, explain to me in what possible world does Robinson Cano come off as a “captain” type? Do not give me the whole, “In the WBC he was a leader,” bologna. The WBC was the Little League World Series for grown-ups. He was surrounded by his countrymen acting like 11-year-olds who just got their first hit. Let’s see his leadership when he’s 39 and playing for a last-place Seattle team averaging 20,000 fans a game.
A point no one is talking about is maybe the Yankees felt once Cano got paid his dedication would drop off a bit. He doesn’t need to be a cheerleader out there or be overly enthusiastic, but players with a lot less talent have coasted once they received their paydays. Maybe the Yankees felt Cano would do the same. I don’t believe this; I think Cano is probably a hard worker, even if he doesn’t always reflect a level of intensity that would warrant that. But who knows, maybe the Yankees know something the rest of us don’t.
This probably reads as a ticked off Yankees fan bitter that Robinson Cano did not re-sign, and I assure you that isn’t the case. It has been a pleasure watching him play since 2005 when he forced the Yankees to remove Tony Womack from the field. I wish him all the best in Seattle, however, as a fan of the franchise, I take offense that Robinson Cano claims he was disrespected. Baseball is a business, and even if they made some poor business decisions this offseason, this decision was not one of them.