Monday, November 12, 2012
The uncertainty of Cano
By Andrew Marchand
It appears that the Robinson Cano negotiations are over before they even got started. Only Karl Rove could be surprised by this outcome.
With Scott Boras' penchant for taking his clients to free agency and Hal Steinbrenner's desire for an $189M payroll for 2014, the idea that this could work out now seemed beyond farfetched. Cano was never giving any pinstriped discount and Boras would only tell Cano to sign early for a market setting contract.
So we are where we thought we would be. Where we are going is a quite interesting question. So let's look a little into the future.
One Year From Now
One of the biggest stories of next offseason will not only be: Can the Yankees keep Cano, but should they? Cano is a great player. He is the one youngish superstar the Yankees have, but they will surely be asked to dole out an eight-to-10 year contract at $20-25 million per season for a second baseman who will be 31 by then.
A lot can change in the next 365, but let's assume that Cano has a regular Cano year and the Yankees are still committed to $189M.
The Yankees should be able to give Cano a substantial raise, but any extra money you give Cano is money that you can't use in '14.
Now, why don't you just give Cano a lower salary in '14 and then have it balloon later in his contract? It doesn't work that way. The implications for the luxury tax are based on average annual value. So you can't play any tricks on Bud Selig's system.
So, if everything remains the same, Boras and the Yankees will be dominating the headlines at this time next year.
2018 and beyond
It is pretty much a no-brainer that you would want Cano for the next five years, beginning in '14 and ending in his age 35 season of 2018. Having Cano, probably MLB's best second baseman, for the next six years, counting 2013, is something the Yankees will sign up for.
But when you look at these long-term contracts, the success rates aren't great. Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter's original 10-year deals were good ones. You could argue they were overpaid, but they were inked before either hit 30 and they produced throughout.
A-Rod's current deal? Well, you know all about that one. That is why the Yankees have to think long and hard about what to finally give to Cano. Can they really go eight to 10 years and risk that the final three to five years will drag down payroll as his production wanes?
At the same time, they are the Yankees. They can't just let their youngest franchise player walk for a first-round pick, can they?
Would you consider trading Cano this winter for a huge package of younger players? I don't think that is impossible, but I do believe it is highly, highly unlikely.