Saturday, December 7, 2013

Yankees Baseball hot stove - December 7 , 2013 - Yankees in trouble for 2014 - 2015 after Robinson Cano bolts for Seattle ? Does the Yankees fan rue the Ellsbury signing to the extent that it played a role in Robinson Cano , the Yanks best player , signing elsewhere ? With Soriano , Ellsbury , Beltran , Suzuki and Wells under contract for next year ( outfield slots clogged like rush hour traffic ) , where does Gardner fit in the Yanks plans and can they get value in a trade to fill remaining obvious pitching and infield holes ? And we haven't even gotten to the 5 days of Winter Meetings fun yet !

As a Red Sox fan , naturally I'm curious as to what the thoughts are from Yankees fans after the frantic Friday dealings involving Granderson signing with the Mets , Cano signing with the Mariners , Beltran signing with the Yankees ( at three years and 45 million ) , Kuroda re-signing for one year at 16 million ...... An of course , how does the blockbuster Ellsbury signing ( 7 years at 153 million )  sit with Yankees fan at this time ? McCann and Ellsbury deals worthwhile at the cost of Cano to Yanks fans ?  Some views on the subjects from the best blogs around..... BTW , Red Sox quite happy to see of Cano !

River Avenue Blues....

Thoughts following the day everything changed

Robbie no. (Jared Wickerham/Getty)
Robbie no. (Jared Wickerham/Getty)
This was, without question, the craziest week of hot stove action I can remember. That includes the Winter Meetings. Teams just didn’t want to wait for Orlando next week to take care of business, and one of those teams was the Yankees. With Brian McCannKelly Johnson, and Jacoby Ellsbury already on board, the team added both Carlos Beltran (three years, $45M) and Hiroki Kuroda (one year, $16M). yesterday. Of course, they also lost Robinson Cano to the Mariners after they offered a tenth year and $240M. Bittersweet day (mostly bitter), to say the least. Here are some thoughts.
1. As soon as the Yankees splurged for Ellsbury, I honestly did not think they would let Cano walk. Spending that much money on a very good but not elite player like Ellsbury only to let your homegrown superstar leave doesn’t make much sense. They held the line at seven years and $175M and I truly believed they would bump their offer up to (and maybe over) $200M if push came to shove. It’s a huge blow to the Yankees short-term — I’d say the next two years at the very least, probably more like four or five — but it will help in the long-term, when they aren’t saddled with a huge albatross contract. I just can’t believe Cano’s leaving. Man, who thought this would actually happen?
2. The Mariners made it very, very easy for the Yankees to walk away. They’re a desperate franchise and desperate franchises do desperate things, like offer $65M more than the next highest bidder. Of course, Seattle had to blow everyone else out of the water if they wanted to land a premium player like Cano. The city itself is great and Safeco Field is gorgeous, but it’s a tough place to hit. The team itself stinks and the travel is awful (the Mariners fly more miles than every other club each season because they’re so isolated in the Pacific Northwest). Add all that together and you get a place that doesn’t attract many free agent hitters. Not many good ones, anyway. The Mariners blew Cano away with the offer and that makes his departure easier to swallow. It sucks he’s gone, don’t get me wrong. But at that price? Had to let him go. No-brainer.
3. I’m pretty sure the Yankees will go hard after Omar Infante to replace Robbie — what’s the over/under on the contract, three years and $30M? sounds about right — and he’s probably the best realistic second base option. I’d greatly prefer a trade for Howie Kendrick, who has two years and $20M left on his deal, but the Angels are looking for pitching and the Yankees just don’t have any to give up. David Phelps and a prospect ain’t gonna get it done. I don’t want any part of Brandon Phillips for reasons Joe already outlined and if Infante’s demands are unreasonable (he and his agent could jack up the price hoping to capitalize on the team’s potential desperation), I think Mark Ellis would be a tolerable one-year stopgap. He’s a very good defender and not a total zero at the plate (92 wRC+ in 2013). Infante is no better of a player today than he was two days ago. The Yankees shouldn’t go all out to sign him just because he’s the best available option with Robbie off the board.
So sweet. (Elsa/Getty)
So sweet. (Elsa/Getty)
4. I was thinking about this last night: Cano doesn’t really have a “signature moment,” does he? Derek Jeter has the flip play (and a bunch of other moments), Jorge Posada has the double off Pedro Martinez in Game Seven of the 2003 ALCS (and a bunch of other moments), so on and so forth. Cano doesn’t really have one. That’s not meant to be a knock against him, it’s just one of those things. Winning the 2011 Homerun Derby doesn’t really count, and, according to WPA, his best game in pinstripes came on July 1st of this past season. He went 3-for-4 with two homers and a double in a blowout win over the Twins. Meh. I guess his game-winning homer off George Sherrill in 2010 stands out (video) — that was the game in which the Yankees broke Jonathan Broxton with a big ninth inning comeback, which I’m sure you remember — but that isn’t anything special. When I think of Cano, I don’t think of a singular moment. I think of that sweet swing more than anything. Like this one. B-e-a-utiful.
5. I’ve said this a few times in recent weeks, but I am a bit nervous about Kuroda heading into next season. He’s getting up there in age and man, he looked like toast late last season. Hitters were squaring him up constantly and he couldn’t locate anything. I guess poor location is better than his stuff falling off — Kuroda’s velocity actually ticked up a bit late in the season — but it’s still a red flag. They still need to add another starter, Brian Cashman has acknowledged that already, and hopefully it’ll be Masahiro Tanaka. I think he’s a really good fit given his age and all that stuff. If that doesn’t work out, I’d rather see a short-term Bartolo Colon reunion than a long-term marriage with Matt Garza or Ubaldo Jimenez. Either way, the Yankees have some decent back-end depth with Phelps, Adam Warren, and Vidal NunoMichael Pineda is the real wildcard. He could give the rotation a big boost or not throw a single pitch for the big league team for the third straight season.
6. Beltran definitely gives me a Randy Johnson vibe, meaning the Yankees are adding the right player, just nine years too late. He can still hit, there isn’t much doubt about that, but his defense is below-average and his knees are grenades with the pins pulled. the Yankees will be able to give him time at DH and are going to have to to keep him healthy. If I had known the Yankees were going to sign two outfielders coming into the winter, I probably would have pushed for Shin-Soo Choo and Curtis Granderson. The club opted for Ellsbury and Beltran, which is perfectly reasonable but definitely the riskier option health-wise. Probably more expensive too. This is definitely a high-risk, high-reward roster at the moment. It could be great but it could also be really, really ugly if Father Time comes back to wreak more havoc in 2014.
7. One thing that I do like is the diversity the Yankees have added to lineup. McCann is a brute masher and Ellsbury is a speed guy while Beltran is an all-around hitter who will hit for average and power. He also gives them a switch-hitter, something they didn’t have at last season. Almost literally not at all — Mark Teixeira and Zoilo Almonte combined for 176 plate appearances and that’s it, they were the only switch-hitters the Yankees had this summer. Crazy. Ellsbury, McCann, Beltran, and Johnson all work the count well and that’s pretty important. The Yankees didn’t have enough guys who could put together good at-bats and wear down the starter this year. There were an awful lot of quick at-bats and quick innings. That should change next summer with those four plus Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira, and Derek Jeter returning.
8. Speaking of Gardner, I’d absolutely keep him unless some team offers a starting pitcher that is just too good to pass up. (Lots of people asked about Gardner for Homer Bailey and I don’t see anyway Cincinnati entertains that as one-for-one swap. Gardner’s trade value is along the lines of Norichika Aoki’s and Seth Smith’s, and look at what those two were traded for this week.) Both Ellsbury and Beltran are injury concerns for different reasons, plus Beltran and Soriano figure to get regular turns at DH. Keeping Gardner as a heavily used fourth outfielder who could step into the lineup everyday if someone gets hurt makes an awful lot of sense. If the Reds will trade Bailey for him or another team comes along with a comparable offer, then by all means, pull the trigger. Otherwise keep him around and enjoy the depth. There is no doubt in my mind there will be a time next season the team will be happy they kept him around.

What’s next for the Yankees?

(Leon Halip/Getty)
(Leon Halip/Getty)
For the second time this off-season the Yankees lost an irreplaceable player. In Mariano Riverathey lost not only the greatest closer the league has ever seen, but they lost a leader and a legend. Even if David Robertson steps up and holds down the closer role for the next five years, he will never measure up to Mariano — by no fault of his own, of course. There is simply no way to replace a player like Rivera.
In Robinson Cano, who signed with the Mariners, the Yankees lose the best second baseman in the league. His presence and legacy might not measure up to Rivera, but his on-field production accounted for a greater portion of the Yankees’ success in recent years. Being the best at his position means that he is necessarily irreplaceable. In order to improve the roster, the Yankees will have to find reinforcements at other positions.
The void at second base
At second base the Yankees can only stanch the bleeding. They do have Kelly Johnson in the fold, but he’s probably not an ideal option as an everyday second baseman. He can hit a little, but much of his value comes from his ability to play second, third, and maybe a little left field. If Alex Rodriguez is suspended — a huge if that will color the Yankees’ moves going forward — then acquiring another infielder becomes crucial.
On the free agent market, Omar Infante sits awaiting an offer. During the course of his 12-year career Infante has been pretty average with the bat, a 93 career OPS+. Since 2008 he’s been perfectly average with a 100 OPS+, balancing seasons in the 90 range with some in the 110 range, including a career-best 113 OPS+ last year. He’s no Cano; he’s not even a Neil Walker. But he’ll likely come on a short-term contract and provide a decent combination of offense and defense.
The Yankees have been connected to Stephen Drew as well, though he’ll cost more in salary and years than Infante. He’ll also cost the Yankees a draft pick, not a huge consideration considering how many they’ve already given up (and received back for Cano and Granderson). Last year Drew put together a nice comeback season for the Red Sox, a 111 OPS+. Like Infante, he’s been up and down, with the result right around league average. He also had enormous home/away splits last year (.859 OPS at Fenway, .687 on the road), though playing in Yankee Stadium could keep his production high at home.
On the trade market, Howie Kendrick’s name has come up a few times this off-season on MLBTR. With two years and just under $20 million remaining on his contract, Kendrick could be an enormous bargain — which is why the Angels probably won’t trade him without getting back a starting pitcher. The Yankees need starters themselves, so chances are they couldn’t send one to Anaheim.
Supplementing at third base
Chances are the Yankees won’t make any big moves at third base. With Johnson in the fold they can wait until the Alex Rodriguez outcome. But if the Padres make Chase Headley available at the winter meetings next week, the Yankees will have to listen. He’s a guy who can potentially make a big impact on the lineup.
A heralded prospect in the mid-00s, Headley has held his own at pitcher-friendly PETCO Park, producing a 115 OPS+ in his six seasons. He hit a bump in the road in 2010, but bounced back with 120 and 145 OPS+ seasons in 2011 and 2012. Last year he fell off a bit, perhaps due to an injury that cost him about 20 games, but his numbers were still solid. San Diego is rumored to be listening on him, since he’ll reach free agency after the season.
There are two ways to look at this. The first is that any acquiring team will over pay in prospects. They’re getting just one year of Headley, though perhaps there is value in actually having him on the team, in that they might have an easier time re-signing him (obviously not guaranteed). The other side is that good third basemen are hard to find. The Yankees have a fine prospect in Eric Jagielo, and Headley could help bridge that gap.
Replacing offensive production
Even if the Yankees manage to trade for Headley and sign Infante, they’ll still be at a net loss on offense. Yes, adding Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury help, but the Yanks could still use a little more punch on offense. That’s where one of the remaining free agent outfielders comes into play.
Earlier in the week it appeared that Carlos Beltran was about to sign elsewhere. Rumor had it that a team had offered him three years and $45 or $48 million, which is beyond where the Yankees were willing to go. Yet he hasn’t made a move yet. He could still be a target for the Yankees, taking reps in the outfield and at DH.
Shin-Soo Choo could come into play as well. Even after the Yankees signed Ellsbury we heard that they weren’t out on Choo, likely as insurance in case Cano left. Acquiring Choo at this point would either push Alfonso Soriano to almost-full-time DH, or lead to a trade of Brett Gardner. Neither seems ideal, but both could help.
By the numbers, Choo looks like he belongs on the Yankees. He has a career .389 OBP, and has broken the .400 mark twice in the last four years. He’s had just one bad year in his six as a full-time player, and even then he was above average. He might require an Ellsbury contract, but there is perhaps no more effective move in replacing Cano’s offensive production.
As for what to do with the outfield surplus, either move could work. Keeping Gardner and Ellsbury atop the order and in the outfield will pay off greatly. Soriano has said that he prefers to play the field, though his defense is probably just average. There will be chances to sit Gardner, or even Choo, against lefties, so Soriano will still see time in the outfield.
Trading Gardner only works if they can fill another immediate need. That’s tough, since he’s a free agent after the season. But if they can use Gardner to pry Kendrick from the Angels, or combine him with prospects to get a No. 3 starter from another team (perhaps Cincinnati and Homer Bailey?) the trade could be worth exploring. It’s much easier to find a guy who can DH 50 or so games (Mark Reynolds?) than it is to find a mid-tier starting pitcher or second baseman.
Augmenting the pitching
Even if Cano had re-signed with the Yankees, they would have had to address the pitching situation. We’ve heard that they’ll be in heavily on Masahiro Tanaka, but the new posting systemcould complicate matters. Tanaka is still the Yankees best option, but they’ll have increased competition, since any team that bids the maximum $20 million will be able to offer him a contract. That makes the situation much less like Yu Darvish, where he could only negotiate with the Rangers. I’d expect Tanaka’s deal to call for more guaranteed money at fewer years — perhaps five years, $75 million, compared to Darvish’s six years and $60 million.
Re-signing Hiroki Kuroda does help matters, but he’s not providing even half of the 400 inningsBrian Cashman admits he needs this off-season. And, being realistic, the Yankees need more than that. Given CC Sabathia‘s poor 2013 and Ivan Nova‘s up-and-down career, they could use as many pitchers as possible. Again, with the signing of Choo they could shop Gardner for a starter. They could also take a flier on Brett Anderson, in whom they’ve expressed interest. Still, many more innings are required for a quality 2013 pitching staff.
As Mike and I have both outlined, the free agent crop doesn’t look particularly inspiring. Ubaldo Jimenez has produced a combined two good seasons to date, and has been middling to terrible the rest of the time. Matt Garza has been okay, and could work depending on what kind of contract he ends up signing. Bartolo Colon? That’s a pretty big risk, despite his recent success. Ervin Santana? I’m a bit worried about his homer tendencies in Yankee Stadium. Signing Tanaka and trading for a starter seems to make the most sense, but as outlined above they might prove difficult. The Yanks might have to choose from among these players.
In the bullpen, Grant Balfour seems like a logical target. He pitched well with the Rays before signing a successful free agent contract with the A’s. He’s a bit older now, but on a two-year deal could provide setup help, or even close. Few other free agent relievers make sense, since they’re not very good. The Yanks will just have to hope they have enough internal reinforcements.
(Plus, by augmenting the rotation, they can bump someone like David Phelps to the bullpen, where he might be more effective and valuable anyway.)
Clearly the Yankees have a lot left to accomplish this off-season. Finding ways to compensate for the loss of Cano will comprise a multifaceted plan that covers not only second base, but third base, the outfield, and the starting rotation. Given the pace at which this off-season has moved, don’t be surprised to see the Yankees start to make moves, perhaps by the time this post goes live.

Pinstripe Alley......

Will new posting rules cool the Yankees' pursuit of Masahiro Tanaka?

Koji Watanabe
A posting fee cap and an open negotiation process could make Japan's best pitcher a less obvious target for the Yankees.
As Jason told us recently, MLB and NPB have agreed to a new posting system for Japanese players that includes a maximum negotiating rights fee of $20 million. In the event that multiple teams bid the maximum they'll all be entitled to talk to the player being posted making him a free agent for all intents and purposes. The new system seriously alters the dynamic in MLB teams' race to acquire Rakuten Golden Eagles ace righty Masahiro Tanaka, but does it increase or decrease the odds that he'll end up in pinstripes?
Jason also noted that the new system could mean Tanaka won't be posted at all. With three years of exclusive rights to him still in their back pocket, Rakuten might wait until 2015 or even 2016 before making Tanaka available, since they're now all but guaranteed the same $20 million fee no matter when they put him up for grabs. Let's assume, though, that the Golden Eagles decide to acquiesce to their star hurler's desire to test his mettle at baseball's highest level. The new agreement might make Tanaka less attractive to theYankees than he once was.
One of the main roots of Tanaka's appeal from the get-go was that according to the current collective bargaining agreement, posting fees paid to Japanese teams don't count toward MLB's luxury tax threshold. Under the old rules the Yankees could have bid $60 million to speak with Tanaka - surpassing the $51.7 mil the Rangers paid for Yu Darvish's rights two years ago - without paying a dime of tax on that sum. Only the average annual value of the contract they signed him to would go toward their official payroll. Darvish signed for $56 million over six years with Texas, which is considerably less than what the top free agent pitchers on this year's market will get.
Things have changed. With posting fees capped, and with more than one team involved, a much higher percentage of Tanaka's total cost will be taxable by MLB rule. At some point you have to wonder if the Yankees will shift their focus to established MLB pitchers likeMatt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez with Tanaka's tax bill now probably exceeding theirs.
There isn't a lot to go on to predict just how high MLB teams will bid for Tanaka's services. He's just 25 years old, making him considerably younger than anyone else left on a poorly stocked pitching market and he's been flat out otherworldly in Japan. He's managed ERA's of 1.87 or better in each of the past three seasons, including 1.27 in 2013, with a svelte 0.94 WHIP to match. The last NPB free agent of his magnitude was Hideki Matsui, who signed with the Yankees for four years and $32 million - a contract that turned out to be an absolute steal.
Matsui came over eleven years ago, though, and we've seen prices skyrocket all around since then. If Tanaka's overall tag winds up in line with Darvish's that would mean he'll agree to a six-year deal worth roughly $88 million - an AAV of nearly $15 mil per season. That's the low end. In all reality, his cost is likely to climb well beyond that. Depending on how many teams are willing to cough up the posting fee, Tanaka could be looking at a guarantee of more than six years with a value well into nine figure territory.
Even with the system altered, Tanaka should be the Yankees' chief pitching target for the same reasons he should be everyone else's. With Garza or Jimenez, or worst case, Ervin Santana, the Yankees would be committing several years to a pitcher entering his early thirties. Tanaka won't even turn thirty until after the fifth year of the deal he signs. His upside far eclipses that of MLB arms still available, all of whom have considerable warts. Garza doesn't have an elite season on his resume, Jimenez has been wildly inconsistent, and Santana, with his past fly ball tendencies, would be an imperfect fit for Yankee Stadium at best.
For the Yankees' odds of landing Tanaka if they go after him, the impact the new rules will have is unclear. On the one hand there's no longer the risk of being out-dueled in a blind bidding process. On the other, they'll now need to compete with big spenders like the Dodgers and Angels out in the open. They'll also need to convince Tanaka and his people that the Bronx is the best place for him to play, win and grow his brand. With teams outside of New York now adhering to the dump truck full of cash method of bargaining, it's no given that the Yankees' pitch will come out on top.

Yankees have received calls about trading Brett Gardner

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Yankees are now getting calls about Brett Gardner, a completely unexpected turn of events after they signed Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, while still showing interest in Shin-Soo Choo.
Now that Robinson Cano has left the Yankees, they will need to find some way they can fill the void at second base, and trading Gardner could help with that. Obviously, the Yankees could sign Omar Infante of Mark Ellis as free agents and trade Gardner for a pitcher as well. There's lots of potential here, even if it's only for one year of Gardner.
Right now the Yankees say they still want their last remaining Opening Day starter, but things can change quickly if they make another signing or see a potential deal improving their team. New York has previously shown interest in Brandon Phillips in order to find someone who can fill in at second base for a few years. Oh, and don't worry, the Yankees reportedly have no interest in Dan Uggla, who is terrible.
Who would you trade Brett Gardner for? Or would you keep him?

Yankees sign Carlos Beltran: Reacting to the three-year deal

The Yankees sign Carlos Beltran to a three-year deal worth $45 million. What will the Yankees do now that the outfield is jam-packed?
The Yankees reaction to Robinson Cano signing with the Mariners? Sign more outfielders!
The Yankees have reportedly signed outfielder Carlos Beltran to a three-year, $45 million deal. This comes just days after they seemed reluctant to offer him anything more than a two-year deal. Beltran is coming off of a 2013 season with the Cardinals where he hit .296/.339/.491 with 24 homeruns. Beltran will be 39 by the time this contract ends--so much for getting younger guys.
This gives the Yankees an overabundance of outfielders, making it likely that Brett Gardner now has a trade target on his head. On the plus side, Beltran is certainly an upgrade in power over Gardner.
(Side note: I have a hard time stomaching the fact that the Yankees would throw in a third year to Beltran, which they didn't want to give him in the first place, yet remain adamant in their offer to Cano. The Yankees didn't desperately need to sign another outfielder; that money could have all been offered to Cano to at least bring his offer to 8/200).
The Yankees still have major holes to fill, with two spots up for grabs in the rotation (thanks to today's signing of Hiroki Kuroda), and questions marks as to who will play second and third. Kelly Johnson can play one of those, but do the Yankees really want him to be their every day player? More importantly, can the Yankees trade Gardner for anyone of value to fill any of the remaining spots?

Yankees Sign Carlos Beltran: Another old player for too many years

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
The Yankees have already lost Robinson Cano to the Mariners, so they are wasting no time in signing Carlos Beltran. He will certainly add some power to the team now that they have lost both Cano and Curtis Granderson, so while they do have an excessive amount of outfielders now, they do also get around 20 home runs back. Unfortunately, they also get an extra third year of him too.
Just a few days ago the Yankees were pursuing Beltran for a two-year deal, however, when a potential third year was brought into the mix, they backed off. It made sense to avoid signing an injury prone outfielder in his late 30s. Within a matter of hours they had signed Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year-deal and that seemed to make them set on outfielders. It was a lot of money for a long time, but at least he's young.
They rejected Robinson Cano in order to avoid potentially having to pay a massive 10-year deal, which he would end at the age of 41. It was sad to see him go, but at least you could say that the Yankees may have learned something from the Alex Rodriguezcontract. Eight years might have made sense, but 10? If they were taking a stand against signing over-the-hill players, then I guess it's progress from what we've seen before.
If you haven't noticed, the Yankees love signing old players. That's how they feel they can take advantage of the market and come out with value without anyone fighting with them over it. They brought in Hiroki KurodaAlfonso SorianoVernon WellsKevin YoukilisTravis HafnerLyle Overbay in 2013. Only Kuroda, Soriano and maybe Overbay brought any value to the team. They signed Ichiro Suzuki to a two-year deal, through his age-40 season, and they've paid dearly for it. They bring in old players, but it doesn't seem like it's been very successful outside of one year from Bartolo Colon andFreddy Garcia.
The Yankees balked at adding Beltran for three years, but now that they have extra money to spend in place of Cano, they're suddenly ok with it? Just because they have more money doesn't mean Beltran is any less old. This contract will pay him $15 million a year from his age-37 season through his age-39 season, somehow miraculously avoiding his 40-year-old season. They are paying Ichiro only $7 million by comparison, so think about how Beltran's third season could look. Are the Yankees panicking now? Was their reluctance to sign Beltran before just a smokescreen? It kind of doesn't make much sense why they're suddenly ok investing so much in him.
If the Yankees are fine bringing in another player pushing 40, why was bringing back Robinson Cano such an issue? It doesn't make sense to avoid having a player at 40 by signing a player when he is 39. Sure, you'd be paying him more money, but you'd also be getting someone who was actually still in his prime years. Cano is much more durable too and is likelier to be more productive before the eventual downward spiral. Beltran is already in that spiral, and with his injury history, this deal could end up being the real albatross after all. Worse than Ichiro even. They're basically paving over their mistake with him with a contract that could potentially be even worse.
In the end it sounds like the Yankees just wanted a name brand to go along with Derek Jeter and Ichiro, considering they are convinced Cano isn't one. It looks like the Yankees didn't learn anything after all. Are you surprised? You shouldn't be.

Robinson Cano signs with the Mariners: Coping with losing a superstar

Jonathan Daniel
Robinson Cano is no longer a Yankee. Those are words that I never thought I'd have to write. It seemed for a while, and even earlier this offseason, that there would be no way that the Yankees and Cano wouldn't work something out. Cano's preference was New York and he signed with Jay-Z after leaving Scott Boras to seemingly cement that. Yet, he's really gone.
Seeing the figure that the Mariners were willing to give Robbie – ten years and $240 million – is not one that I would have wanted the Yankees to give to him. Cano is on the wrong side of 30 years old and the Yankees have to learn their lesson on these back-breaking deals eventually. I can't blame Cano for taking that kind of money, because he'd be an idiot not to. I also cannot blame the Yankees for not matching or exceeding it. At that price, Cano was as good as gone anyway.
I grew up loving Derek Jeter but somewhere along the line, that turned into loving Cano. His giant bubblegum bubbles and silly dugout faces. That beautiful swing he had to right field at Yankee Stadium. As much as we like to say we root for the laundry, and to some extent we do, we get wrapped up in the guys who win games for our favorite team. Robbie has been among the best at that for the last few years. He's a perennial All-Star, never turned playing in New York into getting into trouble, yearly MVP candidate, and dammit, I'm going to miss him. The Yankees are going to miss him.
So, how do they move on? The Yankees have the roughly $25 million per year that they'd set aside for Cano, which probably means another big free agent signing. Maybe it'sCarlos Beltran, maybe it's Shin-Soo Choo. Maybe they make a huge trade for Matt Kemp and take on some of his contract since they weren't able to give a bad one to Cano. There are a lot of possibilities for them, but it will be very difficult to find a way to replace what Cano brought to the lineup. It may be impossible in just one season.
The easy thing here would be to blame the Jacoby Ellsbury signing for Cano's departure, but I think that the deal he signed with Seattle is much more to blame. Even without Ellsbury, there was no indication that the Yankees were going to go anywhere near ten years. They didn't want another Alex Rodriguez contract on their hands, understandably. The Mariners wanted a star and they outbid the world to get him. For all we criticize the Yankees for, and they make it so easy sometimes, not matching this deal probably can't be one of them.
Today will be sad, seeing Cano in a Mariners uniform will be worse, and spring training will really hit hard when number 24 isn't manning second base. The first time the Yankees play the Mariners with Cano as their second baseman, I'm going to hate it a lot. We all will. Robbie was ours and now he isn't. It was really amazing while it lasted.
There you go again, baseball. You're not supposed to make us sentimental. Why do you always find a way to do it anyway?