Apr
10

Robinson Cano and the Ian Kinsler contract

By

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Robinson Cano‘s contract has been a bit of a hot topic around these parts over the last six months or so, though it would be more accurate to say his next contract has been the hot topic. The Yankees will undoubtedly exercise their 2013 option and keep Cano around next season, but he’ll become a free agent after that. Given his production and his popularity, it’s easy to see how Robbie’s next deal could become quite unwieldy, especially with all this talk about the 2014 budget.

Last summer I spit-balled the idea of a six-year contract worth $120M, covering the 2012 through 2017 seasons. The Joey Votto contract appeared to change the landscape, at least in terms of non-free agent players getting paid like free agents. The Rangers did us and the Yankees a solid yesterday, agreeing an extension with Ian Kinsler that finally gives us a reasonable guideline for Cano’s next deal. The terms: five guaranteed years and $70M with a sixth-year club option ($5M buyout). That’s more than the Braves gave Dan Uggla (five years and $62M) at a similar point of his career and deservedly so.

It might not appear to be the case at first glance, but Cano and Kinsler are very similar players. Rather, they provide similar value while going about it in very different ways…


Source: FanGraphsRobinson Cano, Ian Kinsler

Cano is the high batting average guy who hits for good power and plays solid defense (depending on your choice of metrics). Kinsler hits for a lower average while hitting for more power, stealing more bases, and playing a similar level of defense. His massive home/road split and lengthy injury history — at least one DL trip in each of his first five seasons — are legitimate concerns Cano doesn’t share. Robbie’s actually hit better away from Yankee Stadium in his career and has played at least 159 games in each of the last five years. They were born five months apart, so age is a non-issue.

This isn’t about Cano vs. Kinsler, it’s about the market for elite second basemen. Kinsler’s deal is the largest ever for a player at the position in terms of average annual value at $14M per year, but that will change when the Yankees exercise Cano’s $15M option for next season. Therein lies the problem; Kinsler’s new contract represents a pay cut for Cano. With Scott Boras now calling the shots and the Dodgers’ new ownership group looming, you can be sure Robbie isn’t taking a pay cut barring something completely unforeseen.

If nothing else, this new contract between Kinsler and the Rangers brings us back to reality a bit. Cano’s next contract might be closer to $17-18M per year rather than $20-22M based on similar players, but all bets are off if Boras manages to take Robbie out onto the open market as a free agent after next season. I know the Yankees have their policy of not negotiating new contracts until the current one expires, but they already broke that policy once for Cano and they would be very wise to do it again if they have serious interest in retaining him long-term. For all we know, they might not. Letting Robinson walk after 2013 isn’t the craziest thing in the world.

Categories : Hot Stove League
  • jsbrendog

    Letting Robinson walk after 2013 isn’t the craziest thing in the world because _________________________ will play second base going forward……

    • Mike Myers

      The ghost of Chase Utleys knees?

    • All Praise Be To Mo

      David Adams, I’m calling it right now.

    • Ted Nelson

      Even if you replace him with a sub-replacement level 2B the year after he leaves, that doesn’t necessarily mean letting him go was a bad move.

    • Bryan__from NZ

      Fwiw I just read the Kinsler getting paid article on Fangraphs and it mentions the possibility that the Rangers will shift Kinsler to LF once Prufar makes it, which makes Kinsler’s contract nothing more than a grain of salt.

    • RetroRob

      You don’t replace the player. You take the money and replace the production by elevating elsewhere.

      Robbie’s great, but I’m not expecting great production in his 30s. Let him go.

  • Paul VuvuZuvella

    Not the craziest thing but how do you replace that production?

    • http://livinglarevolucion.tumblr.com/ Ray Fuego

      Corban Joseph, maybe David Adams! They’re really tearing it up.

    • MattG

      Right, exactly. Not only is it not crazy, but with the way second baseman age, it might be prudent. The thing against which the Yankees must guard is making an easy choice because they don’t have another palpable option.

      Which is to say, if it is wise to draw the line, at say 4/70, or let Cano walk, it doesn’t become unwise because there is no comparable alternative.

      Kinsler’s contract seems to be overly team friendly in AAV, and a smidge too long. Good deal for the Rangers, I think. The Yankees should be so lucky.

      • Ted Nelson

        Agreed that not having an immediate replacement isn’t a good reason to give out a huge, long-term deal you don’t want to.

        In terms of 2B aging, the question to me becomes whether it’s a matter of the position aging you or guys who play the position aging? Basically, Cano can be moved to 3B, RF, or DH if his feet slow down but he can still hit on a natural decline through his mid-30s. 2B in general tend towards speedy slap hitters who can no longer produce at an MLB level at another position when they can’t get it down at 2B because they were never offensively productive enough for another position and/or age erodes the offensive skills that made them MLB players as well as the defensive.

        • Save a ‘Stache

          Cano can’t play the outfield. And to sign him to DH would be absurd. 3B would make sense if they didn’t have $150M tied up there.

          Let him walk.

          • Ted Nelson

            How on earth do you know whether Cano can or cannot play the OF? Stop.

            Paying a great hitter to DH is absurd?

            I’m not saying make him a DH tomorrow… I’d saying if that’s an option at the end of his deal.

            • Havok9120

              Not to mention that he’s pretending ARod will be playing 3B through the entirety of his deal. He’s a very good 3Bman, but he won’t be when he’s 42.

              I can easily see Robbie at 3B once ARod can’t do it effectively.

  • Andrew Brotherton

    I wonder if we will put out feelers to see if we could possibly deal him if we find out that he is out of our price range. The Rockies would be my ideal trade partner. They have two ideal stud infielders and a few intriguing outfield prospects.

    • Dave

      I would rather them try to convert Adams to a left fielder, and move Gardner to center and try to sell high on Granderson.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        No such thing as “selling high”. He’ll be in his walk year when traded. There’s only limited value in 1/2 a season of someone, regarless of how good they are.

        • Ted Nelson

          There definitely is such a thing as selling high. Can we please stop with this false narrative?

          People throw the term around way too loosely, I agree, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. There is no perfect information in baseball. If you trade a guy at the right time you can DEFINITELY get more value for him at that moment than at any other time in his career. That is selling high. It exists.

  • Chris

    I can’t believe that there are legitimate feelings for letting Cano walk. On what planet is that ok? How would they replace him? With who would they replace him? Ian Kinsler…oh wait, no.

    • Reggie C.

      Yea. There’s just no replacing that production. I’d let Swisher walk if it meant freeing up sufficient space to sign cano.

      • jjyank

        Agreed. If it comes down to need Swisher’s money to pay Cano, I think that’s an easy call. If the Yankees let Swisher go and refrain themselves from overpaying another reliever after Soriano is gone, then that’s a good chuck of change to put towards Cano’s next contract right there.

        • MattG

          I choose Cano over Swisher, too, but they Yankees can pay both if they do not cross into Crazyland. If the Dodgers want Cano at 7/161, let him walk.

      • thenamestsam

        The whole “you can’t replace his production” line looks at the construction of a baseball team through a far too narrow lens. Sure, you’re not going to find a second baseman who hits like him. But that’s not the only way to make your team better, not by a long shot. If Robbie walks, you can spend that money on a starting pitcher or a power hitting outfielder, or a few slight upgrades at different positions. You don’t have to replace him directly, just replace his value.

        I’m not saying you let him walk necessarily, but you don’t sign him to a bad contract just because there isn’t a direct replacement available. There are a whole bunch of ways to take $150M and make your team better, even if they’re not slugging second basemen.

        • Sayid J.

          Rationality for the win

        • Ted Nelson

          Thank you. I’m amazed at how many people don’t seem to get this.

        • bpdelia

          Except you cant spread the money around on improvements. The value is in getting the production from one player. Ten garret jones’ don’t equal Albert pukols. U can only play 9. Third and first are occupied. Teams are locking up elite players. Looks like free agency may become a more barren landscape driving prices for the few elite player s who do go on the market even higher. If anyone is ok having cano at 17 a year (psing him likr a 3 win player) are you really willing to let him walk over 2 million a year???? Why???? So you can allocate the savings to scrap heap signings?? In order to thrive you need star players. Top sps are almost all getting locked up through their 20s now. Sorry but drawing a line in the ssnf over 2 million a yeat is absurd. Great… Youve won the war/$ they give rings for that right?? What? They dont? He can clearly be a very good 3bman going forward. He will probably average 3.5 to 4 war over the next 5 years. Tear up the contrsct now and pay him what he is worth. 6 100 is a good opening ogfer tough to risk injury and turn down that $. Worry about value on your bench and in the pen dont try to svrimp .5 war of savings with a power hitting middle infielder with literally almost ZERO injury history. 5 war from two players is worth less than from one player. Roster spots are finite.

          • Ted Nelson

            That’s not the point being made at all. No one is advocating signing $2 million bench players. You pulled that out of LF.

            Instead of paying, say, Swisher $12-14 million per for 4 WAR and declining, pay a better RF $16-20+ million for 6-7 WAR. I’m a big Gardner fan, but if he starts to lose a step replace his end-of-arb/free agent salary for, say, $5 million more with a better hitter you don’t expect to age as hard. If your relief prospects don’t do as well as you’re hoping get a proven set-up man or closer for $5-10 million per. You’re just divided Cano’s $ up to upgrade the roster at other spots… and of course some of his money could easily go to 2B as well if a Nunez, Adams, CoJo doesn’t step up.

            Or just sign one Cole Hamels with his money, if you think that’s a better value deal. Turn around and trade a P prospect or package for a 2B. There are tons of things you can do.

          • thenamestsam

            Ted basically covered it, but I wanted to add that you’re looking too much at the near term.

            Yes, in 2014 it will probably be extremely hard to spend that 20M (or whatever it ends up being) as efficiently as spending it on Cano. It’s very hard (not impossible) to make enough marginal improvements in one offseason to equal one big move because there just aren’t enough roster spots, as you say. But we’re not talking about just one year here. The deal is definitely going to be at least five years, more likely six, seven or even eight.

            By 2015, or 2016 you should be able to find a way to spend the money as well as spending it on Cano. I’m not sure what that way will be because I wouldn’t even begin to venture a guess about the 2016 roster makeup, but I’m pretty sure there will be a hole that $20M will help fill. By 2020?

            In the longer term there are hundreds of different ways to spend the money. You shouldn’t spend it foolishly just because you can’t see another way to spend it immediately.

            • Ted Nelson

              Well said.

  • Reggie C.

    No qualms at all if Cano signs a new 6 year, $108 million. Thank you Rangers for not blowing up the 2B market. I just hope Brandon Phillips doesn’t break Kinsler’s mark.

    • Save a ‘Stache

      Even that’s too much for a guy with middling patience. His skills won’t age well.

      Brandon Phillips isn’t very good. He’s below average offensively.

      • FIPster Doofus

        What? Brandon Phillips is excellent. As good as Cano or Kinsler? No. But still one of the top 2B in baseball.

        • http://mrwright212.wordpress.com MrWright212

          Phillips is better than Kinsler, but both are HUGE gaps at 2nd and 3rd best behind Cano.

    • Neil T

      Brandon Phillips just upped for 6 yrs/$72.5.

      So he’s rated being worth a bit less than Kinsler, but not by much. The Reds are swimming in cash of late, it seems.

  • Dave

    So let me get this straight. I pay 28 dollars to sit in the last row of the upper deck and the Yankees are going to let the BEST player at 2nd base in the entire league walk for MONEY REASONS??? Thats total BS. I understand the business aspect of the budget but you stay under by not overpaying for other teams closers. You stay under by paying the best players good money and filling in around them. If they let Cano walk it represents a massive shift from the days of we will do whatever it takes to win. It tells the fans that money is more important than winning.

    • MattG

      This is simplistic nonsense. I am sure the Yankees would be happy to pay Cano $25 million for 2013. I am equally sure that no fan wants to pay to see Cano earn $20 million in 2019. There is quite a bit more to the situation than you intimate.

      • Esteban

        This is the internet. No nuance allowed.

    • jsbrendog

      o a k t a g

    • V
    • pat

      You should move to the $20 grandstand seats then.

      • jsbrendog

        ietc

    • I Live In My Mom’s Basement

      In 2007, the Yankees didn’t let money stop them from resigning one of the best sluggers in the history of the planet. Happy now?

      • David

        I was pretty happy in 2009.

        • Havok9120

          Ah, but will you be in 2017?

          • http://mrwright212.wordpress.com MrWright212

            I’m already not. Chokeriguez is already the Rashard Lewis of MLB.

  • jjyank

    I think the Rangers contract definitely makes it more probable that Cano remains a Yankee. I am most certainly in the Keep Robbie At (almost) Any Cost Camp. He’s my favorite (active) player, and he’s arguable the best hitter on the Yankees right now. With Jeter and A-Rod getting up there in age, Tex struggling (somewhat) with the shift and the uncertainty of Granderson’s ability to repeat his 2011 performance, I don’t see how the Yankees can let Cano walk.

    MAYBE if David Adams stays healthy and has an absolutely huge year. But that is a very large “if”. I hope the Kinsler contract means that Robbie will be a Yankee. What about a 6 year, $110-$115 mil range? He’d be the highest paid second basemen, and that’s more money than the Reyes deal. I’m just spit balling.

    • Save a ‘Stache

      He’s just as valuable as Kinsler. No way he should get 50% more. Even 20% is too much.

      If anything this Kinsler contract shows the Yankees overpaid in Cano’s last contract relative to the market. Looks what little Dusty got in that shithole known as Boston. The Yanks shouldn’t compound that error by doubling down on a borderline 2B with little plate patience.

      Offer $80M for 6 years this off-season. Take it or leave it.

      • Havok9120

        0_o

  • JohnC

    They have to keep Cano and Granderson and build around them. Hopefully, a guy like Almonte emerges by next season or maybe they shift Nunez to the outfield if Swisher is not re-signed

    • Save a ‘Stache

      You don’t build around guys in their 30s. That’s the down slope of their production.

  • Guest

    I’ve given quite a bit of thought to this. It would absolutely make sense for the Yanks to extend Robinson now (with a contract covering the 2013 season), because (1) it means Robinson’s next big contract will cover one more of his peak years and one less of his decline years and (2) the closer in time they can sign Robinson to the (given the current market) shockingly team friendly Kinsler deal, the better.

    BTW, I’m not so sure how much the Kinsler deal will help.

    First, two words: Scott and Boras. You do not switch agents to Boras with a huge pay day approaching with the intent to take a team friendly deal. ESPECIALLY when A-Rod was the big time star who took you under his wing when you were just a young pup with a sweet swing and “potential.” Actually, we might as well expand the list of “role models who successfully procured mind bogglingly large contracts” to everyone else on the Yankee infield. He looks to his left, he sees Tex and his 8 years 180. His DP partner got a 17 mill a year K at a point in his career when such a deal seemed shockingly inappropriate. Like his other (older less productive) infield mates, Cano is looking to get PAID. (Which is absolutely his right.)

    Second, Ian Kinsler is a really good baseball player who is well/known liked amongst big fans and fantasy enthusiasts. Robinson Cano is a genuine star who has played in one of the most star studded infields in the history of baseball for the entirety of his career. Scott Boras will laugh at any comparisons between the two (even if the numbers clearly show that those comparisons are legit).

    And finally, and most importantly, Cano will have suitors. The landscape of baseball has changed drastically recently. The Dodgers will be buyers again. The Nationals are building something down in a major market and will be willing to spend. Arte Moreno is a billionaire in LA who has shown a strong desire for bringing in talented hispanic players. The Miami Marlins are doing the same thing in yet another intriguing market. What if the Mets are in a better financial place next year? Boras will not have to pull one of his houdini “fake markets”, the market for Cano will be obvious to any and all who pay attention. Desire to get paid, plus Boras, plus real market = HUGE contract.

    So the Yanks have three choices: Pay Robinson more than you would like to now, pay the EXORBITANT price it will take to sign Robinson after he hits free agency, or let Robbie walk. None of the choices are pleasant, but I don’t see any other alternative.

    • Guest

      One ammendment, I meant to write “it would absolutely make the most sense to extend Robbie now.”

      Obviously, the Yanks would still need to pay more to extend Robbie now than they would like to. They’d probably have to swallow hard when they saw the terms Cano and Boras would require in exchange for Robbie foregoing free agency.

      It’s just that I think its the best of three less than ideal options (extending now, re-signing after letting him free agency, letting him walk).

    • jsbrendog

      baaaaaaaahahahahahahaha, i’m sorry, the mets…in better…oh boy that’s a good one. hahahaha. phew…hold on…let me catch my breath….

      but yeah, other than that, it isn’t looking good cause there’s always some dumb rich guy out there willing to overpay by a ton

      • Guest

        Yeah, the Mets are probably down and out for a while…

        Then again, that’s what I thought about the Dodgers. Then, boom, Selig steps in, forces out McCourt, and the whole world changes.

        I know its highly unlikely that Selig would do so with the Mets situation, but the Dodgers situation does show us that things can change pretty quickly. Especially for big market teams that the league would like to have sound economic footing.

        • jsbrendog

          difference is wilpons are best buds with bud and there is no messy divorce or anymore negative publicity. they settled, madoff thing is done, and now they just have to pay off their debt. only thing would be if they can’t make payroll, which they shouldn’t have a problem doing if everyone other than johan and bay is making league minimum haha

  • hawkins44

    No way you give Robinson Cano 5 years 100-110M… If the Dodgers want to pay that, go for it. I submit Chase Utley as the example.

    • MattG

      The list of examples among second baseman is endless. This is not a good position in which to invest long term. Two terrific flame outs that come to mind are Robbie Alomar and Carlos Baerga.

      One counter argument would be Jeff Kent…but he’s the exception that proves the rule.

      • MattG

        In Yankee history, two more come to mind immediately: Steve Sax and Chuck Knoblauch. Expecting anything of a second baseman past age 32 is not wise.

        • Save a ‘Stache

          Bingo. Thank god all the Cano-homers have shut the hell up with the evidence. Now if only we could banish the name Brandon Phillips from consideration.

      • Ted Nelson

        This is far from conclusive evidence that 2B age worse than other positions. It’s basically one example, not a rule. I’m not saying you’re necessarily wrong, I’m saying that you’ve done nothing to prove your point.

        Baerga was a flash in the pan with a few good seasons that didn’t start until late in his career (and happened to coincide with the ‘roid era). That happens at every position.

        Biggio is another example of a guy who was a good 2B until 35, then moved positions and continued to succeed.
        Lou Whitaker was going strong at 38.
        Sandberg came back at 36 and had a good year.
        Though Julio Franco was a flash in the pan as a star, he switched positions and played forever.
        Ray Durham played 2B till 36.
        Polanco has moved on 2B and is still going at about his career production.
        Bret Boone played into his mid-30s at a high level.

        Part of it is just that very good 2B are quite rare. So it’s a small sample from which to draw. Most players at every potision (outside the steroid era) age by their mid-30s. It’s really an exception at any position for guys not to, and historically there aren’t as many exceptional offensive 2B as maybe any other position.

        • Ted Nelson

          Typo on Baerga… meant that the guy was done at 27. Not sure how I ended up typing what I did.

        • thenamestsam

          http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs.....utley-age/

          Here’s an article making that exact case essentially. If you believe that Cano is truly elite (depends a lot on how you value his defense) then that puts him in pretty rare company at 2B, and those guys have actually aged okay.

          • Ted Nelson

            Thanks. Very interesting.

            Not surprisingly I’m sort of in-between the “don’t re-sign him because he’ll age” and “re-sign him at any cost camps.” Basically in the “put a value on his expected production going forward and sign him if the deal is a solid value” camp.

            • Bryan__from NZ

              Ted’s also made a good point about the possibility of moving Cano to 3B once Arod can’t handle it. You’d probably be getting him at a slight discount if you’re paying him at 2B rates.

              Hopefully Gumbs is ready by then.

  • Randy Watson

    I know Cashman is very stealth in his dealings, but why haven’t we heard more about the Yankees offering an extension to Cano (or even Granderson for that matter)?
    An earlier article (Sherman?) suggested that the Yankees could reduce the luxury hit of contracts by extending players currently under contract rather than sign them to a new contract. This would effectively reduce the AAV of the overall contract (which is used for tax purposes).
    Canoe’s current contract (with options) is a 6 year/$58 million contract ($9.667 mill AAV) . If they Yankees go high and Robbie signs 6 year $110 contract he’d essentially have a 12 year $168 million contract (AAV $14 million). Signing an extension Vs. signing a new contract for the same amount will save the Yankees over $4 million in AAV. Similar extensions type (not $) extension could be offered to Granderson, and even Swisher/Martin if wanted.

    • Needed Pitching

      that’s not how it works, unfortunately. An extension would replace the existing contract with a new contract, which would be the basis of the AAV for luxury tax purposes. If he signed a 6/110M extension that starter next season, his luxury tax AAV would be 18.33M. Cano’s original 4/30M contract would have no bearing on the luxury tax calculations of an extension, because that contract has already been completed.

      • Randy Watson

        I found the article: http://www.nypost.com/p/sports.....uTfEvFlI/1

        An extension only takes into account the remaining years on the current contract when calculating AAV. Not sure if it counts the current year, but if it does the AAV for Cano would be $17.5. Not quite as spectacular, but “savings is savings”.

  • Monterowasdinero

    Kinsler has the Tex uppercut! That swing really pay$ well. I’d keep Robbie at all costs at 7 years or less.

  • Mike HC

    I think you wait these two years out before signing him long term. And his production the next two years are going to weigh heavily in what he ends up making. So tough to guess as of now.

    • Havok9120

      Even the guys thinking he’ll fall apart don’t think he’ll do so by then. My view is that the quicker you can sign him, the younger he’ll be when the next contract lapses. That’s my goal. I don’t want a 7-10 year contract starting in his age 31/32 season.

  • Chris

    So why does he have to play 2nd and let the wheels fall off at 32? What is it about 2nd base that destroys the player? Can’t they let him DH or even get some time at 3rd if Adams comes up? I understand 2nd is a tough place to play but Cano is not cemented there.

    • MattG

      I can’t answer any of this. Is the list of second baseman that moved to other positions more encouraging? It sort of worked out for Biggio…but not really. It failed miserably for Knoblauch. Is Fonzie a success or a failure…not sure he was ever really a second baseman anyway?

      I would like to know the reason, too, but the truth is there is not much history of second baseman succeeding past 32 either at second base or any other spot on the diamond. Rod Carew, and…well, I’m sure there are others. And a lot of the guys I’m talking about were every bit as good or better than Cano.

      Lou Whitaker is another that played well into his late thirties. Its certainly not a hard and fast rule.

      • Ted Nelson

        You don’t seem to have looked into this at all. There are definitely 2B who succeeded past 32. You are exaggerating to a ridiculous point. Take 2 seconds to look into it. 2B may age faster, but it’s not night-and-day with other positions. Players (outside the steroid era) generally age in their 30s. Guys who don’t are exceptions at every position. Part of it is that strong offensive 2B are rare and have historically been rare.

        Lou Witaker. Bret Boone. Tony Phillips. Willie Randolph. Jeff Kent. Ray Durham. Frank White. Scott Fletcher. The fact that you don’t know half the good 2B in recent history is no one else’s problem.

        Biggio was successful offensively in CF late in his career (a couple of ~.350 wOBA seasons in his late 30s), he just couldn’t field the position. Polanco has moved to 3B without much drop-off. Molitor moved all over the field.

    • jjyank

      I agree with this. Why is everyone assuming Cano has to stay at 2B for the life of the next contract? His bat will play at 3B as well, he has the arm for it, and he even played 3B in the minors.

      I think we can all agree that at least part of the reason the Yankees are opting for the rotating DH thing is because guys like A-Rod will need to DH to stay healthy in a few years. I don’t think anyone here is expect A-Rod to stay at 3rd for the next 6 years, so why not move Robbie to 3rd when A-Rod is moved to DH? That could keep him healthier than staying at 2nd, hopefully extending his career and not making his next contract a total albatross.

      • MattG

        I would be a lot more comfortable with this plan if there was some reason to believe it would work, moreso than “Why not?” Like an example of it having worked in the past. Just because I can’t think of any doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

        • jjyank

          I can’t think of a 2nd baseman off the top of my head, but plenty of short stops do. Cal Ripken, A-Rod, Hanley Ramirez is doing it now. If Cano has the arm (which I believe he does), then I don’t see why not.

          I’d certainly rather see the Yankees sign Cano, then split the contract into 2nd base and 3rd base segments, rather than let Cano walk for fear of him breaking down in the 4th or 5th year of his contract while still playing 2B.

          • MattG

            I am not debating that a second baseman can play third base. That has been studied, and concluded that the two positions are pretty much interchangeable (except for the pivot).

            What I remain skeptical about is that a second baseman can successfully extend his career by moving to third base. You point out it is a common path for shortstops, and Steve points out (below) that shortstops are more athletic than 2B. Taken together, I remain skeptical.

            • jjyank

              That’s true that SS are more athletic. But I would imagine that reason second basemen degrade quicker than third basemen is because second basemen need more range (they move around more) and they have to deal with the double plays. If 3B is less physically demanding, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be able to extend Robbie’s career a couple years if he is away from the wears and tears of middle infield work.

          • jsbrendog

            michael young. wasnt he a 2b, then a ss, then a 3b? now a dh?

    • Steve (different one)

      I believe part of it is the physical wear and tear of turning DPs. Some of it might also be selection bias, ie the more athletic middle infielder stick at SS.

      But the idea that Cano gets moved to 3B and Adams becomes the 2Bman, while way premature, does have merit IMO.

  • CountryClub

    While us fans and probably Cashman thinks this Kinsler deal is a good comparison, I guarantee you that Cano and Boras do not. The major difference is that Cano is going to become a FA. And Boras knows that someone is going to offer a ridiculous contract.

    • Guest

      My earlier sentiments distilled into three concise sentences. Well played, good madam (or sir).

  • Johnny O

    Everytime I (don’t) see Chase Utley on a baseball field the last year or so, I get worried about a lengthy extension for Robbie.

  • Monterowasdinero

    Robbie is a guy who may age well vs a guy like Alomar. Let’s just say-Robbie paces himself.

    Not too many headfirst slides, few steals, plays within himself.

    Jeter is aging well for the moment-surprise surprise-maybe Robbie does too.

    • jjyank

      +1

      Agreed.

  • Tyrone Sharpton

    Yankees should trade Cano before next year for a king’s ransom with a team like St. Louis, LAA, LAD, or a team loaded with young studs

  • Rich in NJ

    If the Yankees are really trying to reduce the budget to the $189m threshold by 2014, maintaining the “policy” is idiotic.

    • MattG

      This is absolutely true. Something has to give.

  • Mike c

    So here’s where the “let cano walk” narrative begins? I’m really looking forward to two years of passive aggressive digs at our best player

    • MattG

      Does the desire to NOT be the craziest man with a checkbook have anything to do with Cano?

    • CountryClub

      About a month ago Joel Sherman suggested that Cano will be looking for 8/200. Let’s cut that down just a bit to 8/176. Would you give that to him at the end of 2013? I wouldn’t. It’s just my opinion, but I don’t see the 2nd half of that deal ending well at all. As a matter of fact, I think it could be ugly.

      So would the first 2 to 4 years of close to elite production justify the anchor that the last 4 to 5 years of that deal would most likely be? Some people say yes. I definitely say no.

    • Guest

      Mike c,

      I don’t think wanting to let Cano walk is synonymous with disrespecting Cano as a player.

      I think Cano is an elite 2B man and I, as a fan, have enjoyed watching him grow and develop…a lot. He’s been everything we could hope for ever since we first heard stories that his swing reminded Torre of Rod Carew.

      That doesn’t mean that it would be wise to sign him to an 8 yr 160 mill deal when he’s entering his age 31 season. And, unfortunately, should he continue to do Robinson Cano things over the next two years of his prime, I think he just might be able to command those numbers.

      You can love Robinson and think that the wise thing for the Yanks to do is let him walk. My guess is that I will probably end up in that boat during the fall/winter of 2013.

    • Ted Nelson

      Saying that you don’t want to drastically overpay someone is not a passive aggressive dig. A-Rod was the Yankees’ best player, but that didn’t make it a good idea to give him the contract that they did.

      I’m sure that every Yankees fan would like to pay Cano what they feel is fair value, and that just about every fan would even overpay him a bit more than they think is fair to keep him. No one is saying don’t pay him. People are saying that if Boras gets another team to pay him ridiculously stupid money, it may be in the Yankees’ best interest to let him walk.

  • jjyank

    I don’t want to see the Yankees saddled with an unnecessarily large contract as much as everyone else, but I think it comes down to a simple point: who replaces him? And I don’t mean at second base, I mean in the lineup. Letting arguable our best hitter walk away, while the rest of the core of the offense gets a year older, may be just as unwise as another bad contract.

    The Yankees are not the Rays, Angels, or Phillies. Meaning, I like our pitching staff, I really do, but I don’t think you can bank on the staff being so good that it makes up for offensive deficiencies. So if Cano leaves, his bat will need to be replaced. Losing a second baseman is one thing, but losing your 3-hole hitter is another matter entirely.

    • MattG

      Not to worry, there will be someone. There is always someone.

      • jjyank

        I’m not so sure you can let Cano walk just because “there will be someone”. Position players are getting locked up before free agency too. The Yankees will never have a shot at guys like Votto, Tulo, Kinsler, Kemp, etc. There’s always the trade market I suppose, but that’s probably even harder to bank on.

    • Ted Nelson

      As is pointed out above, you don’t have to make a one-for-one replacement. You just have to replace his production. You can make more marginal upgrades at a few positions to replace his production. Slight upgrades over Gardner, Swisher, and Nunez, for example. ~$20 million per will buy you a lot of upgrades.

      The pitching staff now and in 2014 are not necessarily the same thing. A lot will change with the perceived value of current Yankees’ Ps between now and then (will Pineda be an ace, never recover from this shoulder trouble, or somewhere between? Is Nova for real? How will the prospects do early in their careers? How will CC age? Etc.) Same goes in the bullpen, where some serious production has to be replaced cheaply. Might happen, might not happen.

      Cano is their best hitter going into 2012… but what about 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020? That’s what’s relevant to giving him a contract. It will almost definitely be a long-term contract. Even if you fail to replace him in 2014, you might still have made the right decision as he declines the last 3, 4, 5, 6 years of his contract and you have a TON of $ to spend elsewhere.

  • Manny’s BanWagon

    6/$120 is about as high as I’d go though looking at the FA market and the farm system, there’s no decent replacement for him so the I think it may be in there best interest to lock him up before he becomes free.

    I know he has Boras but so did Jered Weaver.

    • jjyank

      Right. I think the Yanks need to extend Robbie. If the Yankees really want to get under $189 mil, they’re going to have to start extending a few key players rather than bid against a splash-hungry Dodgers team or other big spenders.

    • Colin

      I feel like thats a ton. If Kinsler got 5/70 theres no reason we cant sign Cano for 5/90 or 6/100 or something like that

      • Guest

        LA Angels
        LA Dodgers
        Miami Marlins
        Chicago Cubs
        Washington Nationals

        Those are 5 pretty good reasons why we might have to Robbie way more than you suggest. Remember, it’s not what’s fair, it’s what the market will bear.

        And I find it hard to believe that Boras won’t be able to find one club that would be willing to pony up far more than 6/100 for the Yankees’ most productive star (which is probably what Robbie will be in the fall of 2013).

      • Chen Meng Wang

        Scott Boras says hi.

    • j6takish

      The difference is, Weaver was a lifelong Boras client. He helped him out in the draft and during arbitration and Weaver determined that he liked LA enough and told Boras to get a deal done. Robbie JUST hired Boras in his age 29 season, one year away from free agency. Robbie wants to get paid

  • Monterowasdinero

    Robbie has played 160, 159, 161, 160 and 159 games the last 5 seasons… more than Kinsler who has a game that invites more injuries (base stealing/violent swing). A little more rest in a long term contract and I think Robbie will age well and is worth the money.

    I am already beginning to think about what we do with Jeter in 3 years if he keeps this up-assuming he wants another contract! 4 for 4 at 37.

  • Chris

    You could move him to SS for a year or 2 after Jeter leaves.

  • Kosmo

    Certainly the next 2 years will go a long way in determining what Cano will earn after the 2013 season. If he continues at his current level of production than 6 years 120 mil is not out of the question.

  • Dan

    I think if the Yankees start with giving him the biggest 2B contract of all time, it will get done pretty quickly. My money is on something like 6/7 years for $110-$130 million. So your original guess still seems pretty accurate.

    • fin

      I dont think the Yankees get him for under 20m per. Someone will give him that, and there is no reason for him to take less as he already has financial security. My guess is about the best deal the Yankees would get from Cano would be 7/140. Anything less and I think he could beat the deal by too much on the open market to take it.
      Short of giving him Votto money, there could be nothing the Yankees could offer to keep him from FA as Cano might be hitting the FA market at the exact right time. Teams are locking up their players, so there is going to be less elite FA, and salaries are rising for elite players.
      It sounds nuts, but in 2yrs Cano might be able to get 200m on the FA market. He could be the best FA by a wide margin and salaries keep on rising. He has the agent to get it for him too.

      • Ted Nelson

        Votto is a corner slugger entering his 28 year old season. Cano will be a 2B entering his 31 year old season. Votto hasn’t put up a wOBA under .400 the last three seasons, Cano has been over .377 once in his career. Cano can have good value at 3B, but if he moves off 2B his value is going to decline.

        • fin

          Votto’s contract doesnt kick in for another 2 or 3 years. He is playing out his current contract first. Essentially, they would be starting their new contract at the same age. While Cano’s offensive numbers certainly arent as good as Votto’s, Cano plays second base.

  • LiterallyFigurative

    I think it makes the most sense to just extend him now, like this offseason.

    6/120.

    The chances of you replacing his production is slim, given that other teams are locking up their stars.

    He doesn’t have to be a 2B forever. He’ll still be great to pretty good defensively for most of that deal. When he slips, move him to 3B. Alex will be the full DH by then anyway.

    True Yankee status almost guarantees that he’ll be resigned. He’s following Jeter as the leader and face of the team. It may not mean much to sabermatricians, but it’ll matter to Hal and the business. Bernie got his, Jeter got his, Cano will get his. The only question is do you do it now, and maybe save some dollars and avoid a later decline year or two, or do you wait until he’s FA and have to bid for him?

    In an odd way, Pineda and Nova will play a role in the resigning of Martin, Cano and Granderson. If they pitch well and build on last season, the Yanks won’t be as inclined to break the bank for Cole Hamels. Hamels will be looking at CC-like AAV. You could resign Granderson and find a solid short-term RF with that cash. You are removing AJ Burnett, Russell Martin, Pedro Feliciano, Rafael Soriano, Hiroki Kuroda, Mariano Rivera and Nick Swisher off the books the next two seasons.

  • Moboy

    Can’t resign Cano for more than $15 millionn a year. Second basemen don’t age well and Cano is not gonna age well.

  • fin

    People are predicting certain teams that could pay Robbie if he hits FA. The truth is we dont know who might significantly overpay for Robbie. Who thought the Reds had 200m for Votto or Detroit had 212m for Fielder. It only takes one team.
    The Yankees have another issue if Cano hits FA. Baseball salaries are on a step rise for elite players right now, with the increase in local TV revenues. The Yankees are reducing payroll. That is a tough combo to try and keep Cano as a FA. I think the only way the Yankees keep Cano is if they sign him before he becomes a FA.
    I personally think there is a much better chance the Yankees loose Cano than keep him. By hiring Boris when he did, it tells me he wants to get the most money possible. He does not have to sign an extension to give himself financially security. He will have made ~60m by time he hits FA and can take the risk for the huge payday. Most players are not in that position and its probably why Votto got paid like a FA, he would have made enough money to just play out his contract and hit FA. Kinsler would have made ~30m when he became a FA, a big difference than the 60m of Cano.

    • Ted Nelson

      “Baseball salaries are on a step rise for elite players right now”

      Are they? Guys are getting longer deals than expected, but these deals are right in line in terms of AAV with what the Yankees paid Tex a few years back. Cain’s deal is no larger in terms of AAV with other aces. I don’t think elite player salaries have gone up much at all in recent years.

      • fin

        I was reffering to the total deal. Not aav. The 200m+ deals for Pulos, Votto and Fielder all tell me that elite players are getting more money. There is more to consider than just AAV as before you could use a higer AAV on a shorter deal, now players seem to be getting max years and max dollars. While I dont think Cano will get much more than $20m per year, I think someone might give him that for 9 or 10yrs if he becomes a FA.

        • Ted Nelson

          Still don’t see a steep rise. Votto, Prince, and Pujols cashed in on a market created by A-Rod years ago. Pujols, like A-Rod, is a very special player who you knew was going to get a ridiculous deal. Prince and Votto aren’t as special, but they’re among the game’s best and had perfect timing to sign entering their theoretical primes. If a 32 year old signs a 6 year deal and a 28 year old signs a 10 year deal, they’re both signed to the same age. Guy like Werth, Bay, Holliday, etc. were signing long-term deals in their 30s, not their late 20s, and weren’t as consistently good anyway.

          Cain got 6-7 years… which isn’t anything ridiculous for a top P entering his 27 year old season.

      • fin

        Come on with the Cain argument. He got a 6yr deal for $126m and didnt get to FA and isnt the ace of his team. You are also comparing a deal for a pitcher to what i was comparing for positional players. Hey if you dont think players salaries are going up thats fine. Go write an article about it and prove the rest of them wrong. I’m not going to link the articles discussing the rising cost of players and how its being driven by local tv revenues. Go do your own google search and come back with one link that discusses the stagnation of salaries or decline.

        • Ted Nelson

          What are you talking about?

          I was not comparing Cain to any position players, but specifically to Ps: “Cain’s deal is no larger in terms of AAV with other aces.” What a joke. Get your facts straight.

          Salaries have stagnated, absolutely. Google “recession.” Salaries exploded, but what Werth got at his age last off-season was comparatively more for his value than what Votto or Fielder got this off-season. Elite players have been getting low-20 millions into their late 30s for a while now.

          “Go write an article about it and prove the rest of them wrong. I’m not going to link the articles discussing the rising cost of players and how its being driven by local tv revenues.”

          Prove who wrong? You have got no proof, but I should prove your non-existent proof wrong with my proof? What are you on?

          • Ted Nelson

            “Salaries exploded, but what Werth got at his age last off-season was comparatively more for his value than what Votto or Fielder got this off-season.”

            Meant to say that salaries exploded in the 90′s and most of the 00′s.

  • DM

    IMO Boras will paint Cano as the best all-around 2nd baseman ever — and a future Yankee immortal (like Jeter) and HofF’er. If Cano stays healthy, Boras will play this to the hilt and shatter Kinsler’s deal. He’ll average over 20 per season with all sorts of bells and whistles (like an opt-out). And Boras won’t negotiate a Yankee $-saving extension now unless Cano got seriously injured. I think Boras will gleefully have a showdown with the Yankee front office over this one.

    • Ted Nelson

      He may want to have a showdown, but if they refuse to negotiate against themselves this time he’ll actually have to find another bidder. Boras is very capable of that, just saying that he might not be able to totally dupe the Yankees into paying far above market value anymore if the $189 million budget is a real goal.

      • DM

        He may not dupe Cashman — but he might make Hal sweat about possibly letting his best player walk. Boras isn’t beyond going over the GM’s head to negotiate directly with ownership. In fact he usually does just that with his prominent free agents. Some of the old guard is still in that front office whispering in Hal’s ear, “What about the fans?” — the same guys that nudged him to sign Soriano.

        • Ted Nelson

          As far as I know the $189 million budget is not Cashman’s decision. It’s a financial matter.

          • Ted Nelson

            And he certainly might dupe them for the umpteenth time, but I just think it’s less likely with the apparently firm budget.

  • Dick M

    Cano and Kinsler provide similar value? They don’t belong in the same sentence.

    Some of these advanced metrics are laughable.

    • Ted Nelson

      Based on what?

  • Ollie490

    5 Year, $95MM. $90MM over 5 years with a club option with $5MM buyout

  • LiterallyFigurative

    Between Kinsler and Brandon Phillips getting extensions, the market for Cano’s services is expanding.

    Earlier I said 6/120…but maybe 6/100 might be more in line when compared to the extensions. You have to pay Cano more due to True Yankee-ness.