Feb
06

Well…Would You? (The Cano Breakdown)

By

Yeah...I'm going to go ahead and take that number three spot now, um-kay?(AP Photo/John Heller)

Yesterday, I raised a hypothetical scenario in which a straight-up Matt Cain for Robinson Cano swap was offered to Brian Cashman by Giants G.M. Brian Sabean. In doing so, I ducked some flying tomatoes and analyzed Cain’s statistical body of work thus far, which reveals him to be an excellent National League pitcher and a prototypical workhorse – but not an elite hurler. On many Major League teams (I have it at 15), Cain’s an opening day starter. But on a team that boasts Timmy the Freak and two other pitchers with 133 and 136 ERA+, he’s just part of the machine. In a roundabout way, I also mentioned in yesterday’s post why I didn’t present a Cano for Lincecum, Cano for Josh Johnson, or Cano for Felix scenario. Simply put, those pitchers would likely require more than Robbie in exchange for a top-five-in-all-of-baseball ace. Then again, maybe not.

So far, the overwhelming consensus among RAB readers is that the Giants would need to give more to make a Cain for Cano trade even moderately feasible. Far more. Some even went as far as to insist that they wouldn’t trade Cano at this stage of his career for the best pitcher on the planet. Personally, I would trade my all-world 147 WAR mother for King Felix and, being a die-hard, lifelong Yankees fan raised in the Bronx, she would grudgingly approve. With an accumulated 24.2 WAR and outstanding peripherals for his first six seasons, Felix, at age 24, is presumed to be on the cusp of emerging as a once-in-a-generation pitcher. Is this hyperbole? I think so. But his trends portend inevitable greatness and the durability required to ultimately produce a Hall of Fame body of work.

In comparison, Robinson Cano is an elite middle-infielder and possibly the best second baseman in baseball right now. There’s obviously huge value in that. But some of his perceived inconsistencies also preclude him from being included among the collection of modern-era greats like Kent, Biggio, Alomar, Sandberg, Carew, and Morgan – which may or may not be fair. While it’s true that Cano’s already at least as good as Ryno and Biggio were at similar stages of their respective careers, longevity will determine whether or not he belongs in the bling-and-grit-encrusted penthouse of the all-time-all-world second basemen’s club.

Point being? Demanding Felix for Cano isn’t all that crazy after all.

But let’s slog ahead with the Cain-for-Cano proposal anyway and see if it would even remotely make sense from the Yankees’ standpoint. Which means this time, it’s Cano’s turn to go under the microscope.

First, to reiterate: A Matt Cain acquisition would change the entire complexion of the Yankees’ rotation, one that is in dire need of stability. Phil Hughes is coming off his most labor-intensive season to date, Sergio Mitre is replacement-level, Ivan Nova looks depressed about something, and A.J. Burnett is an enigma whom I’d argue could, in fact, be worse in 2011. With Cain, the starting five instantly goes from “C.C. and Phil and where are my pills?” to a rotation that can match blows with Boston, Tampa, Texas, Toronto, and the always annoying L.A. Angels. Again, Matty Cain’s not a shutdown, smackdown, show-pony ace. We know this. But did we know this?

In case you’ve misplaced your magnifying glass, Matt Cain’s purple line of consistent very goodness is not far removed from C.C. Sabathia’s crimson line of utter domination. In fact, take away Cain’s 2006, and you have very similar pitchers (at least in terms of ERA+). Looking at the graph, one could also deduce that the great Tim Lincecum is a spectacularly hot mess of inconsistency. Food for thought.

But, as many of you have already noted, giving up Cano at this stage of his career for a non-elite starting pitcher could very well be the height of insanity. At 27, Robbie posted career highs in wOBA (.389), OPS+ (142) and WAR (6.1), finishing third in the final AL MVP race. In 2010, he additionally posted an increased UZR of -0.6 (up from a Steve Saxian -11.2 in ’08) and an on-base-percentage of .381, further dispelling the schadenfreude brigade, who had seemingly taken perverse joy in his defensive ineptitude and lack of plate discipline. That Robbie also plays a premium defensive position (and elegantly so) that doesn’t historically generate impressive power numbers only adds to his overall value.

Dealing Cano also presents the obvious conundrum of trying to fill a void just created. The Yankees would have no in-house replacement for him, unless you consider replacement level (Ramiro Pena) adequate. Even with his auspicious debut at Double-A Trenton last year in which he posted a .900 OPS in limited time, David Adams won’t be ready for quite a while. And as for free agent second basemen, the best of the remaining crop is the consistently mediocre Willy Aybar, who nonetheless sputtered to an abysmal -.18 “meh” rating last year (82 OPS+ ).

If Cashman did accept the Sabean proposal, he’d be doing so with an eye on the 2012 free agent market, which will include premium second basemen Brandon Phillips and Rickie Weeks. Obviously, neither player would completely fill the void in production left by Cano, but Weeks’ 125 OPS+ and plus-defense would ease the pain and force me to buy his T-shirt.

The ability to acquire Weeks or Phillips for nothing more than big money and a top draft pick who may or may not spiral into a dark abyss in his third year of minor league ball underscores a critical trend: Position players and relievers – even elite ones – are viewed as largely fungible. As great as Robbie is, there will always be another second baseman around the bend who can at least approximate his level of production. In contrast, top-shelf free agent pitchers are going the way of Starry Night mouse pads. Cliff Lee’s mega-deal with the Phillies notwithstanding, the dearth of this past off-season’s starting pitcher options included league average slop-servers Jon Garland, Vincente Padilla, Javy Vazquez and Carl Pavano – any of whom would get chewed to bits in the AL East. Also, if you think you have a strong enough constitution, have a glance at the 2012 free agent list as further evidence of what the future of free agent starting pitching options looks like.

Finally, there’s one more thing to consider: As great a player as Robinson Cano has become, when plotted on a graph, his yearly offensive output in his first six seasons resembles a Charlie Brown T-shirt.

Extraplating from this, there’s a very real chance that Cano regresses to his mean in 2011, which would still provide outstanding output of around 120 OPS+ and 3 WAR. I suppose one could also make the case that his freakish 2011 campaign is merely the beginning of a path to other-worldly dominance, which I find possible and desirable but not bloody likely. Either way, I wouldn’t do the deal. Not for Matt Cain (whom I still find to be criminally undervalued) and perhaps not even for Lincecum. Cano is young, durable, and when in one of his grooves, utterly ferocious. Perhaps a year ago, I make this deal. But now that Robbie’s also mastered the art of plate discipline, he may be poised to seize the torch from both A-Rod and Teixeira as the most dangerous hitter on the team.

Still, if the Yankees plan on seriously competing for the playoffs in 2011, they simply cannot go without another stalwart arm in the rotation. Cashman knows this, which is why such an offering would give him more pause than most of us would like to think.

  • Damian

    That “best pitcher on the planet” link was probably meant to link to Felix Hernandez’s BR page, not that of Felix Rodriguez.

    • RalphieD

      i assumed it was a joke lol

      • NicoW

        haha me too.

        • Brock Cohen

          Uh, yeah…totally a joke.

          Thanks for the heads up, guys. I’ll go fix it.

  • NJYankeeFan

    Great article. The opportunity to grab a top level starter is going to get more and more difficult especially through free agency in the future. Cano is a tremendous player but once you get to the playoff, an elite starter can always impact a game and a series more profoundly than a position player . There are a bunch of starters that i’d trade Cano straight up for but Cain isn’t one of them.
    I think Cashman is going to have a bear of a time securing a number 2 starter type which is what the Yanks need going forward in 2011 and pretty much no one on the team should be untouchable.

    • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig

      Big game starters are beyond invaluable in the playoffs. However, after giving it some thought last night, there is no pitcher in the game today that I would trade Cano for.

      • Ted Nelson

        Not just playoffs: a top starter is going to face more batters over a season than a top hitter is going to have PAs. A really top starter can be 10 WAR in a season.

  • nsalem

    First off great article I really enjoy your stuff. I think the Yankees can easily get into the playoffs with the starting staff they have now. Teams with worse starting pitching have gone gotten into the playoffs.
    With the expectations of a dominant bullpen and offense a fourth starter like Freddy Garcia who delivered 18 quality starts (64% rate) last year despite his 94 ERA+ can win a lot of games. Hughes (who did get extremely lucky with his offensive support) won 18 games with 15 quality starts (48% rate). If the offense continues to rake we have enough options to keep us in the race and we can see what is available in July.

    • Ted Nelson

      Good points. I agree and think people who insist the Yankees definitely NEED another starter to make the playoffs forget that Pettitte was replaced by below replacement starters for 1/3 of last season and Javy was just below replacement last season. Certainly a #2 starter would be great, but it’s not obvious they NEED one to get into the playoffs.

  • Craig

    I’d love to see you write an article on projecting Burnett moving forward. Many think (hope is probably more appropriate) that he will bounce back in a major way from last year but from what I’ve read, I think he’s trending towards staying pretty close to his 2010 level or even deteriorating further over the next 2 years. He’s really our number 5 starter at this point with Nova and Mitre/Garcia/Colon sadly competing for the 3rd and 4th spots.

    • nsalem

      What have you read?

      • Craig

        Go look at his trends over the last 2-3 years on fangraphs. Fastball down 3 MPH since 2007, K/9, HR/9, WHIP, ERA, FIP, xFIP, WAR all moving in the wrong direction since 2008.

        • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

          Yep. Maybe its the ‘School of Halladay’ stuff where he’s trying to pitch more to contact. But given his age and injury history, I’ll assume he’s just getting old.

    • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

      We can hang our hats on what should still be a killer lineup, but I’m very down on this team’s chances this year. I don’t think AJ will be much better, I think he’ll be the same inconsistent pitcher he’s always been but maybe not quite as bad as last year. And yes, his fastball has been declining steadily for 3 years running. Phil Hughes needs to be better to repeat his performance last year from a team standpoint, since his absurd run support is unlikely to repeat itself. God forbid one of these 3 gets hurt, even for a month. Our rotation could be Burnett-Hughes-Nova-Mitre-Colon.

      Yankee teams generally always have good lineups, its the pitching that’s the difference between playing October baseball or not. I’m sorry, but this team is dangerously thin in starting pitching. The bullpen should be great, but you have to get there with a lead.

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/NYY/

      If you want to do an interesting exercise, look through the franchise encyclopedia. Go through the teams of the 1980s-early 90s. Big lineups, mediocre starters, no playoffs. Look all the way back to 1929-1946. There were three 3-year periods where they missed the playoffs, sometimes finishing 3rd or 4th place (8 team league). Those were teams that had Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Dickey, Berra, Keller, Henrich, etc. Look at the years they missed playing in October. Again, in just about every case it was no pitching.

      The Yanks might have enough to get through to October this year, but in terms of health and performance it’s like asking for an inside straight in poker. Odds are against it.

      • Craig

        I agree that this team as currently constructed bears a closer resemblence to those teams in the 80s with Rickey, Donnie and Winfield but weak pitching that won nothing than they do to the teams in the late 90s with a less spectacular offense but with 4 aces in Cone, Pettite, Duque and Wells. I think that will change in the next year as the wealth of pitching in AA and AAA matures however but I ‘m really concerned that 2011 is gonna be an 89-90 win season that either just misses the playoffs or barely get the WC but is eliminated in the 1st round.

        • Brock Cohen

          Interesting comp with the 80’s teams, though I’m pretty bullish on one of the B’s panning out and eventually seizing that #3 spot in a very big way.

          • Craig

            So was I until especially after reading KLaw’s opinion on Banuelos until I read ManBan and Betances will have a max of about 130 innings this year. That kind of eliminates those 2 from helping down the stretch unless it’s out of the pen and pretty much only leaves Brackman.

            • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

              Yeah, if they arrive it’s going to be as relievers, and as things stand right now that’s the last thing we need.

          • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

            I’m taking Brian at his word that they won’t arrive this year. Brackamn is close, but he hasn’t shown me he has an ‘S’ on his back with anything he’s done in the minors. I know some scouts say he has the best stuff of the 3, but it hasn’t fully translated into performance yet. Some guys with great stuff (cough AJ cough) never do.

            • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

              I know some scouts say he has the best stuff of the 3, but it hasn’t fully translated into performance yet. Some guys with great stuff (cough AJ cough) never do.

              Yeah, AJ Burnett’s sucked his entire career.

              • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

                Never said that, just that his stuff and performance haven’t lined up. He’s been described as having ‘one of the best arms/stuff in baseball’. He’s never been one of the best pitchers in baseball.

              • Craig

                If AJ retired tomorrow, with his ability, I think his career would have to go down as a disappointment even if he did have 2 really good and a couple more solid seasons.

                • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

                  That’s based on expectations. If Brackman goes on to have AJ’s career, I won’t particularly be disappointed.

                  • NJYankeeFan

                    Yeah AJ was expected to and more importantlhy has been paid like he was one of the best pitchers in baseball and never really was.

                    Considering Brackman was practically on the scrap heap a few years ago, i’d take AJ’s career from him too.
                    If Banuelos, however doesn’t exceed AJs career I would be disappointed.

                    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

                      If Banuelos, however doesn’t exceed AJs career I would be disappointed.

                      I hate to say it, but that’s a bit silly just because of the whole TINSTAAPP thing.

                    • Craig

                      Forgive me for being ignorant but what is the “TINSTAAPP thing?”

                      Also I think if you polled the readers, most would hope for a Banuelos to have a career better then AJs. Maybe it’s false optimism but I’d hope for better.

                    • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

                      I hate to say it, but that’s a bit silly just because of the whole TINSTAAPP thing.

                      Yeah, Joba Chamberlain was supposed to be a young Roger Clemens right about now. He isn’t.

                      I’ll be thrilled if 2 of the 3 Killer Bs have any sort of MLB career as either relievers or starters.

                    • The Real JobaWockeeZ

                      There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

                    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

                      Forgive me for being ignorant but what is the “TINSTAAPP thing?”

                      There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect.

                      Also I think if you polled the readers, most would hope for a Banuelos to have a career better then AJs.

                      Well, yeah. I certainly hope for that. I hope Banuelos is better than Pedro Martinez in his prime. Do I really think that’ll happen? No.

                    • http://www.teamnerdrage.com dr mrs the yankee

                      It’s foolish but it has nothing to do with TINSTAAPP and everything to do ridiculous expectations + underrating Burnett.

              • The Real JobaWockeeZ

                Strawman =/

        • nsalem

          We actually had some very good starting pitching in the 80’s (Leiter, Drabek, Tewksbury, Rijo, Righetti) we just decided to stupidly trade them for nothing or turn them into closers. Our long drought was caused by an awful front office.

          • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

            Jose Rijo was traded for Ricky Henderson, it’s not like they gave him away. And the rest of that package was Tim Birtsas, Jay Howell, Stan Javier and Eric Plunk.

            • nsalem

              Your right, that is very true. However if you look at the whole body of work and we held onto those arms we would have never sunk to the depths that we did.

            • Brock Cohen

              Don’t you dare forget the immortal Greg Cadaret!

              • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

                I was amazed the A’s took Plunk, despite the fact he had a great arm. There was a story about Ricky when Plunk was closing for the Yanks and Ricky was on the A’s. I may not have the details exact, but this was the general story:

                Some kid on the A’s was coming up to the plate, it was bases loaded, tie game, 9th inning. Plunk pitching for the Yanks. Ricky told the kid before he left the batter’s box “Kid, leave your bat on your shoulder and we’ll win this game right here.” So that’s what he did, and it was ball 1, ball 2, strike 1, ball 3, ball 4. Game over.

                You can’t make the game that easy for the other team. You just can’t. And BTW-Plunk threw the ball around 96-98 MPH. Just had no idea where it was going.

        • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

          Yeah, even thought CC, AJ and Hughes have been healthy in recent years, it just strikes me as a foolish bet to need all three to be both healthy and have good performances. CC yes, the other two I’ll split with one ‘yes’ and one ‘no’ on either performance or health. That’s not enough.

          • nsalem

            Then we need for some one to come out of nowhere or a good mid season acquisition. We are well positioned for that to happen. I am going to keep my optimism until the season starts and it is proven wrong.

            • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

              OK, suit yourself. I like to go in knowing what to expect good or bad, not have optimism I think is unfounded. The Yanks certainly have a shot, but its not the same kind of expectations they’ve had in recent years.

              I will say this, nobody expected the Giants to win it all last year, and they did. If the Yanks pull it off this year it will be one hell of a fun ride. Like it was in 1996.

              • nsalem

                The fact is that we don’t know what will happen. It’s in the realm of possibility we will have a 85 to 90 win team like you think, but it’s also reasonable to believe we will do much better.

                • Ted Nelson

                  This. It is not possible to “go in knowing what to expect good or bad.” And it’s disingenuous to just assume “bad” because you don’t know what to expect.

                  “not have optimism I think is unfounded.”

                  It’s not unfounded. They’re returning what was the best offense in baseball last season even as several key players had down years. They had a bad rotation last season and still won 95 games. It certainly not a given, but it’s just not hard to be as good or better than last season’s rotation.

        • nsalem

          The problem with the 80’s teams was also that we had very little after Donnie,Winfield and Rickey. Other than Randolph at second we were not to strong up the middle with the likes of Wynegar and Cerronne at catcher. Robertson and Meachan at shortstop and Gary Ward and Claudell Washington in centerfield.

          • NJYankeeFan

            The only middle that made a difference on those teams was who was (or wasn’t) standing on the hill in the middle of the diamond. Those teams couldn’t pitch for shit.

            • Ted Nelson

              They also didn’t consistently have the best offense in baseball like the Yankees do now: they’ve been the best in the league 4 of the last 5 seasons, usually by a good margin. They had good offenses in the 80s, but not that good.

      • nsalem

        Recently we made the playoffs in 2004-2007. Is our pitching overall (starters and relievers) any worse off than those years.
        In 2004 we were twice inches away from getting to the WS and probably a ring with no real ace and no real number 2. The Big Red Machine won twice in the 70’s without a formidable starting staff. They depended on a great offense and a great bullpen, hopefully we can mirror their success. There are also historically well thought of teams that had great pitching and a great offense such as the Orioles 1969-1971 and the Oakland A’s 1989-1991 who between them managed to only win two rings in 6 World Series attempts. Would we be more confident with Cliff Lee and/or Andy Pettitte in our rotation of course. Remember when one door closes one door opens and I’m not giving up on the season. The Red Sox have just as many starting question marks we do. Beckett was worse than Burnett last year. Who knows what Dice-K will do and Lackey seems on a downward slope also.
        I know we’ve entered seasons in better shape, but I don’t think (and hope) we are in shambles like many are predicting.

        • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

          In those 04-07 years, you had the Rays and O’s as pushovers for the Yanks playing 19 games each. That’s no longer the case. The rest of the division is either good or improved. You could argue that 4 of the 5 teams (Sox/Yanks/Blue Jays/Rays) will all have winning records, and maybe even the O’s as well. Don’t forget the Os had one of the best records in baseball after Buck took over a very underachieving group last year.

          I’m sorry, but I think the Sox steamroll this division, with the rest of it sitting around 79-90 wins and the Yanks on the high end. I doubt that makes the playoffs.

          • nsalem

            What makes you believe that Beckett, Lackey and Dice K will contribute that much that the Sox will “steamroll”. There ERA+ last year were 75,99 and 93 respectively. Freddy Garcia was better than two of the three. I think your being to negative.

            • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

              All 3 of those guys have more upside than Mitre, Garcia, or Colon can dream of going forward.

              • nsalem

                Don’t worry I doubt you will see Mitre or Colon starting many games.

                • The Real JobaWockeeZ

                  Whoever that is probably won’t be that much better either.

      • Ted Nelson

        “The bullpen should be great, but you have to get there with a lead.”

        Because it’s impossible to win games where you are tied or losing when the starter exits?

        “The Yanks might have enough to get through to October this year, but in terms of health and performance it’s like asking for an inside straight in poker. Odds are against it.”

        Because in-season trades don’t exist? Or because players always universally underperform expectations?
        Also, odds are against the starters matching the 2010 rotation’s 10.3 combined WAR?

    • Brock Cohen

      I don’t know about #5, but I agree that he anything he contributes over league average over the balance of his contract is gravy. Again, I don’t know how people can say definitively that he can’t be worse than last year.

      He can totally be worse.

      • NJYankeeFan

        He had a really good April and May last year. God forbid he picks up in 2011 where he left off last year, he’d probably have to be pulled from the rotation.

        • Brock Cohen

          And I realize it sort of sounds like I’m hoping for him to fail. His trends just scare the hell out of me.

  • NicoW

    I think they should just play the waiting game and see how the year develops. At the trading deadline if pitching is needed then is the time to trade, because teams will be asking for less in return. If the Yankees don’t reach the playoffs it’s not the end of the world.
    What is more worrying is the fact Jeter and A-rod aren’t leaving anytime soon and I don’t see how the yankees will do in three years time with those two in their starting lineup (or even worse on the bench, that’s 45 million bucks wasted)

  • Anthony

    Cano is our star of the future. I realize pitching wins but hes a keeper in my book. His offensive game is gonna only be better in time hes young. You build teams around guys like this.

    • mike c

      cano’s the best player on the team but if the right starter became available (felix) I don’t see him as untouchable

      • The Real JobaWockeeZ

        Uhh yeah he’s pretty damn untouchable. Felix will never ever go on the trade market.

        Not many aces do unless they’re old. Realistically there’s no one worth trading Cano for because the ones who are worth it are going to be locked up long term.

        • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig

          Cano is untouchable unless he’s bringing back a package of players. As ridiculous as this may sound, Seattle would have to trade Felix plus others for Cano. That’s how good our guys is.

        • camilo Gerardo

          agreed, let felix’s arm rot in Seattle.

    • Reggie C.

      Exactly. I’d only trade Cano for a select few … a very select few: Felix, JJ, Wainwright, Halladay, Ubaldo, Lester, D. Price.

      Thats pretty much it. Not Lee bc the contract gets into years that i’d rather not deal with. All of the above have contracts that i’d like to take on today.

  • felixbanuelos

    The only pitchers I would trade cano for would be lincecum, halladay, Felix , or darvish( even though I doubt we would ever make an actual inter league trade)

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      Darvish? At this point? No way would I trade Cano for a completely unproven in the MLB Darvish.

  • Craig Miller

    How about Cano AND a Charlie Brown t-shirt for Lincecum and Cain…….on second thought; Good Grief

  • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

    Brock, I love the term “The Summer of Meat”. I’m stealing it for a (rather gloomy) piece I have going up later this afternoon.

  • Brian Paul

    Brock, terrific stuff! I really enjoyed this series. The humor is much better when integrated into a relevant analytical piece rather than being the center of the article.

    So what is your ultimate recommendation? Do you pull the trigger or no? Honestly, I think I do it. The lack of FA starting pitching is pretty terrifying, and the only consolation for Yankees fans will be an opportunity for the killer b’s to emerge from the farm system and make an impact, even if it is not in 2011.

    Great stuff! Looking forward to reading more from you!

    • Sayid J.

      So what is your ultimate recommendation?

      From the article: Either way, I wouldn’t do the deal.

  • NJYankeeFan

    One guy who I think would be a great fit for the Yanks that I haven’t heard mentioned much is Ryan Dempster. Seems like he’s been around forever but he’s only 33 and he’s produced 12.5 WAR over the last 3 years while pitching over 200 innings in each season and his peripherals look pretty good. I have no idea if the Cubs would make him available should they fall out of the race or if the Yankees have anything the want but he’s someone who could help.

  • SteveD

    Did not read whole ling. But NFW. He is the Yankees best young player. To me thats enough.

    • Sayid J.

      I wouldn’t do the trade either, but this line of reasoning is pretty silly. Cain would become the Yankees best young player, and he’s also younger.

      • SteveD

        Hmmmm? ok lol first that should have been link. But we finally have a home grown player. And I just think we should keep our own.

  • jaremy

    With Jeter on the downswing of his career I think it is hugely important to have a bigtime bat in a typically soft-hitting position in Cano. Pitchers are hard to come by, but with hopefully a nucleus of Canp/Montero/Gardner/Texiera for the future,, the Yanks put themselves in a great position to avoid replacement-level starting pitching in the next few years.

  • OxxStone

    Not worth trading Cano’ for anyone right now, not even King Felix (changed my mind from yesterday).

    • bakekrukow412

      Good man. Have a cookie.

    • NJYankeeFan

      Not ever for the King? Cano is great but if you could slot Felix along side of CC and Hughes, you can start planning another parade. Mitre could be your 4th starter and a righty and 5th starter as a lefty and it wouldn’t make a difference.

      • bakekrukow412

        Would you have traded Derek Jeter for Pedro back in the day?

        • NJYankeeFan

          Of course I would have. Pedro had seasons of 10 and 12 WAR, something Jeter (or most other mortal humans) have never approached.

          • The Real JobaWockeeZ

            The wins you get form Pedro over Jeter will be completely go away when you get a scrub at SS.

            • Total Dominication

              Yeah, they got such a scrub after 2003.

              • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig

                Wouldn’t even trade Cano for the King. Felix and Ackley and we can talk…maybe.

  • Mike Pop

    Brock, you are a fantastic writer in my opinion. Keep up the good work.

    • Brock Cohen

      Totally appreciate it, Mike. Thanks a ton.

  • nsalem

    Pitchers often lose velocity in their early 30’s some of them are able to adjust and some don’t. I think AJ was still around 93 MPH last year
    down from 94 or 95. Plenty of pitchers win in the majors with that kind of velocity. AJ still has the tools to win in the AL East, I wouldn’t write him off so fast.

    • Craig

      Yeah I agree for most, 93 should be enough to get batters out but does AJ strike you as the kind of pitching savvy, mentally tough pitcher who can battle and invent ways of getting batters out like a Cone, Mussina or El Duque without dominating stuff or as a control artist who can paint the corners? To me, I don’t see any of those traits in AJ. In fact quite the opposite, he sometimes struggles when his stuff is just electric.

  • Reggie C.

    Would still rather try to avoid trading Cano and rather offer B.G., Banuelos, Betances, and David Adams.

    Why BG? That’s the hook … We get back Cain + Cody Ross (who we let walk after the 2011 season). Ross makes $6 million and getting his contract off the books might make Sabean consider the hypo.

    I’m NOT advocating for this … just trying to come up with something more tenable than losing the best hitter on the team.

    • Total Dominication

      Pssssst. Cody Ross isn’t very good at baseball.

      • Reggie C.

        Well that’s kinda of the point. Ross’s contract isn’t a good one. His 2010 season wasn’t good, and a corner OF in decline isn’t enjoyable. However, he’s still a ML hitter who could OPS north of .700 and placed at the bottom of the lineup.

        Again … just trying to work out a solution to pull off a trade for a very, very good Cain.

  • Reggie C.

    Just wanted to re-insert my earlier post once more:

    I’d only trade Cano for a select few … a very select few: Felix, JJ, Wainwright, Halladay, Ubaldo, Lester, D. Price. Thats pretty much it. Not Lee bc the contract gets into years that i’d rather not deal with. All of the above have contracts that i’d like to take on today.

    p.s., Enjoying your posts Brock!

    • Total Dominication

      Price??? Really???

      • The Real JobaWockeeZ

        Lefty throwing 97, very young, already as good as CC, cheap. For Cano it’s closer than Matt frickin Cain but there’s an argument for Price.

        • Total Dominication

          David Price isn’t as good as CC. It’s really not even close. He’s had 1 very good year. CC has consistently been throwing more innings than basically anybody.

    • Craig

      How about Verlander, Kershaw, Greinke and Lincecum?
      Personally I’d be wary of Lincecum holding up but I’d do it for the other 3.

      • danimal

        yeah definitely some glaring omissions there… but I wouldn’t put Kershaw on that list, and apparently Cash didn’t want Greinke…

        Wouldn’t do Price. DEFINITELY like Verlander better than some of these guys.

        Also, Chapman and Strasburg have GOT to be included in the discussion. I know Chapman is young and Strasburg got hurt, but you can’t ignore their freak talents.

        • The Real JobaWockeeZ

          Chapman looks like an injury just waiting to happen and Strasburg isn’t looking that good either.

          • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig

            Their are zero pitchers in the game today worth trading Cano for in a straight up trade. Not one single pitcher.

    • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

      Take out Halladay, as he is too old, and I agree 100%. I know a lot of people would do it for Lincecum, but I wouldn’t.

  • Dream of Electric Sheeps

    Cano is coming into ‘big’ money I do it. Cain and Cano have both thus far displayed consistency of being good players heading into their primes.
    IMO, Pitching is a scarce commodity than a 2nd baseball via FA or trade. Especially Young and durable pitcher with a good track record.

    BTW, Brock is pretty awesome name. Brock Cohen would be a great name for a Grind film char or some spaghetti westerns. A fitting name who penned an interesting piece on SB Sunday.

    • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig

      We’re talking about a top-3 middle infielder in baseball. And trading him for Cain? That’d go down as one of Cashman’s worst trades.

  • Sayid J.

    Brock,
    I know a lot of people were giving you shit yesterday for the proposal of Cain for Robbie and despite a lot of people commenting with their Yankees colored glasses, i think this was a realistic 1 for 1 offer. I thought this 2 part series was very well done and started some good discussion. For once, your trade proposal did not suck. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    • Brock Cohen

      Heh. The original title for this post was, The “My Trade Proposal Sucks” Post.

      Thanks for the props, Sayid.

  • Xstar7

    I wouldn’t make this trade. Cano straight up for Cain seems a little too much in the Giants favor.

  • http://danielslifka.wordpress.com Jerome S.

    I might do, it, depending on how the season was going…
    But who would fill in at 2B? You’re not throwing Adams in there.

    • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig

      That’s the problem. It’s a lot more difficult to find a Robinson Cano than a Matt Cain.

      • hogsmog

        I feel like you can’t just sum WARs in this situation- i.e. “We’d gain 4 war with Cain but lose 6 with Cano because they’d both be replacing/being replaced by replacement level players.” I think that pitching WAR’s should be looked at more logarithmically, as in the difference between 6 and 7 war is not as much as the difference between 0 and 1. As in I feel like a team with 5 starting pitchers with WAR 3,3,3,3,3 would produce a better record than a 15,0,0,0,0 (yes, it’s a little extreme, but it’s hypothetical). This is because pitchers don’t play every game.

        I see pitchers as adjusting the level of runs your team needs to produce one win in any given game. So for the sake of argument, say that the Yankee’s great offense produces 3 runs/game. And say this fantasy 15 WAR Pedro Maddux is going to on average require 1 run a game from the yankees to win. Now imagine Pedro Maddux 2, a new pitcher with 12 WAR, who requires 2 runs a game to win. In this case, Pedro Maddux 2 is as good as 15 WAR, but doesn’t need to perform that well for the same outcome.

        Now for position players, the situation is different. Cano is going to increase the number of runs the yanks score every game, making every pitcher slightly more likely to win. But, if we can say that given the amount of run support each pitcher needs to win a game, if the impact of losing Cano on the Yankee’s runs/game is not going to push any pitcher’s “required runs/game to win” over the average offensive runs/game, then it’s ok to trade him for someone who DOES have a “required runs/game to win” underneath the yank’s average runs/game (minus cano’s contribution).

        Basically:
        The yankee’s offense is so good that Cano’s bat is not likely to have a large % impact on the runs/game they score. However, their pitching is so bad that even though Cain is going to contribute less WAR, they would win more games with him instead of whoever #5 would be.

  • The Real JobaWockeeZ

    K rate too low for my liking especially in the NL West and FB rate too high for my liking. For like a Gary Sanchez + Killer B package I would do it but for Robinson Cano? Heeeeeeeeellllllllsssssssssssss no.

    • Total Dominication

      For like a Gary Sanchez + Killer B package I would do it

      Really, you would do that? You’re gonna put that out there? You’re gonna make that bold statement? You’d trade two mid 60-70’s prospects for one of the top 20 pitchers in the game? You would do that? Absolutely shocking.

      • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig

        Sure, saying that you’d trade Sanchez + a Killer B is stating the obvious, but it is no more offensive than the people saying that they would go through with a Cano for Cain trade.

  • BigBlueAL

    Can we please stop with all this should we trade Cano nonsense. NO the Yankees should not trade their best player especially since he is only 28 yo. Yes Cano is the Yankees best player and its not even close anymore. He is the best 2B in baseball and should continue to be for the next few years at least.

    • Total Dominication

      Not even close anymore? I mean yes last season, but A-rod and Teix will easily outslug him and could definitely get on base more if they bounce back, which is basically a garuntee for Tex and likely from the not-that-old A-rod. I mean, he could be the best player, but easily?

    • Brock Cohen

      Yeah, Cano’s great, but I disagree. I think it’s a razor’s edge between A-Rod, Teix, and Cano.

  • http://www.teamnerdrage.com dr mrs the yankee

    Making a trade where you create a new big hole to fill in an existing hole doesn’t get you very far.

    Plus where are you getting 3.0 WAR from Cano for and why is that the number you’re hitting on? That’s not a regression to the mean that would be a steep decline.

    • Brock Cohen

      You’re right. I meant to write 4 WAR. My bad.

  • toad

    The improvement in Cano’s numbers frtom 2009 to 2010 was almost entirely due to a much increased walk rate. He got 57 walks in 696 PA vs. 30 in 674 in 2009. His BA was actually a point lower at .319, and SLG was only 14 points higher at .534.

    Doesn’t that suggest that he will not regress, as his improved performance may have been due to just being a smarter hitter, rather than to having a lucky season?

    Note that in 2006, his previous high OPS+ season, he hit .342 and slugged .525, but got only 18 walks.

  • Kyle

    Now that Michael Young last listed the Yankees as one of 8 teams he would accept a trade to, trading Cano for a SP sounds a little less unrealistic.

  • BJ

    An interesting thought just occurred to me: does the fact that Cano just switched to Boras make it more likely that he’ll be traded sometime before hitting free agency? I know there’s several more years worth of options that the Yanks can pick up before that happens, but when his contract finally expires, he’s going to be cruising for a huge payday if he’s even come close to replicating the success of 2010.