Note: This is part of our Hot Stove Talk series, which profiles free agents and looks at possible trades the Texas Rangers could make this offseason.
Today's player: Robinson Cano
The Rangers need offense. They need power. They need a No. 3 hitter. Or a No. 2 hitter. Cano, who has played all eight of his seasons with the New York Yankees, would provide all of these plus an above-average defender at second base.
The challenge with acquiring Cano is this -- the Yankees want him back and probably will give him a competitive deal. Probably not the 10-year contract for close to $300 million that Cano reportedly has asked the Yankees for in preliminary talks, according to ESPNNewYork.com. Remember, the Yankees are already saddled with bad contracts, the worst being Alex Rodriguez's, which could create an opening for a team that will give Cano a long-term deal.
The Rangers privately coveted Cano before the July 31 trade deadline this season as they were mired in the middle of the pack in the American League in runs scored and knowing they were about to likely lose Nelson Cruz to a suspension. According to a source, the Rangers called the Yankees about dealing for Cano, their "dream" acquisition. The Yankees, still in the wild-card race, told the Rangers that Cano was unavailable.
Cano has averaged 28 home runs the last five seasons and the left-handed hitter's swing should produce the same results at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and its short porch in right field.
He'll cost $22 to $25 million per season, but he's also by far the best impact bat out there, and the Rangers desperately need one of those. Even with a glut of second basemen with Ian Kinsler and Jurickson Profar, the Rangers will likely make a run at Cano.
Why he makes sense: Again, the Rangers need a No. 3 hitter desperately. Six different players started in that spot last season. The Rangers had a .725 OPS and 17 home runs from the three hole. Cano would be the perfect fit behind Kinsler and Elvis Andrus and batting in front of cleanup hitter Adrian Beltre.
Why he doesn't make sense: Contract length. We could be talking 10 years here. As good as Cano is, pulling the trigger on 10 years, nine years, eight probably isn't the wise thing to do. Anything over five years for Cano, even with his extraordinary talent, will come with some risk.
Bottom line: It'd be foolish not to explore the possibilities with Cano. There's not a free agent bat out there that can rival the ability of a player the Rangers nearly had a decade ago when they traded Rodriguez for Alfonso Soriano.