Should the Bombers ante up?
THESE ARE THE YANKEES
We all know Robinson Cano wants funny money.
But we also know that -- based on what they just paid for Jacoby Ellsbury, an injury-prone outfielder who doesn't represent any of the team's top offseason needs, and Brian McCann, an injury-prone catcher -- the Yankees have it.
And unless you want Eduardo Nunez at second base next year, the Bombers -- clearly flush with cash -- had better give some to Cano, too.
Let's face it, fellow Yankees fans, our third baseman will either be booted from baseball for performance-enhancing-drug use or be unable to move because of his hips. Our shortstop is one of the greatest the game has ever seen; he also played 17 games this past season and will turn 40 before next year's All-Star break. Our first baseman? Even he admitted he's in decline -- before he missed all but 15 games in 2013, hitting .151.
So let me amend that third sentence: Unless you want Nunez (or some second-tier second baseman) standing all alone in the middle of the diamond, fielding grounders and then throwing them to himself for the putout, the Bombers had better bring back Cano.
Because even though he's no Derek Jeter, or no Mo Rivera, he's one of our own -- and the best free agent on the market, far more prized than Ellsbury or McCann, and far more integral to the future success of the Yankees than either of those two.
One thing the Bronx Bombers have reminded us of in the past week? They always get their man.
In 10 years, Cano's hips and ankles may be no better than A-Rod's or Jeter's -- but by then he just might rank as the greatest second baseman in Yankees history. Unless you'd rather let a potential Hall of Famer in his prime bolt the Bronx ... for Seattle?!
That was a hard idea to stomach yesterday, when at least there was the illusion of a budget-conscious Brian Cashman.
Today, with Ellsbury headed to the Bronx for $150 million, it's unthinkable.
Matt Marrone is a senior editor at ESPNNewYork.com.
DRAW THE LINE
If the Yankees want to go to seven years and $175 million, fine. But I wouldn't go any higher than that.
This is not an insult to Robinson Cano's greatness. He is a great, great player.
If Cano continues to do what he has done, he'll be in the argument for the best second baseman of all time.
But these long contracts for middle-aged major leaguers are not smart. At 31, a seven-year deal doesn't make that much sense. At best, you probably would get four or five tremendous seasons. That would be a win. More likely, half of the deal would be bad.
Seven years for $175 million is where the line should be drawn. It's a fair number for both sides. The average annual value would be $25 million per season, which is just $2.5 million less than Alex Rodriguez's current ridiculous contract.
It would absolutely dwarf second baseman Dustin Pedroia's eight-year, $110 million deal.
While I think Cano is slightly better than Pedroia, is he really worth $25 million per to Pedroia's $13.75 million? Yes. Pedroia signed a bad contract, probably leaving about $30 million to $40 million behind, but you get the point.
Now, you can argue -- in light of the Jacoby Ellsbury deal -- that the Yankees have plenty of money, so what is $25 million extra between friends? I can cede you that, but then don't complain when the Yankees -- again -- have too much money invested in old players in a few years.
In other words, two wrongs don't make a right.
So, yes, Cano is great. If he wants to stay, that's cool. If not, invest the money elsewhere.
Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.