Going long-term with Robinson Cano

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Robinson Cano‘s impending free agency is going to be the rain cloud hovering over the Yankees’ heads this season. Sorta like CC Sabathia‘s opt-out clause two seasons ago, how it was always looming in the back of everyone’s mind. The club’s situation is much less dire two years ago though. We all knew the Yankees were going to go all-out to re-sign their ace when he did use — or in reality, threatened to use — the opt-out. If Sabathia signed elsewhere, it would not have been due to a lack of effort on the team’s part.

The calculus has changed quite a bit in those two years. The Collective Bargaining Agreement put in place last winter offers (substantial) rewards for staying under the luxury tax and the Yankees are doing all they can to take advantage, even though it harms their ability to contend. Hal Steinbrenner has a knack for saying they will continue to field a championship-caliber team, but actions speak louder than words. The current catching situation is not championship-caliber. The bench is not championship-caliber. Wilfully slashing payroll for the sake of maximizing profit is not something someone committed to fielding a championship-caliber team does.

Anyway, that desire to spend less on the team will impact the Yankees’ ability to retain Cano next offseason. Robbie hired Scott Boras two years ago and players do not hire Boras that close to free agency unless they’re looking for a huge payday. Cano is a star and he will want to be paid like one. It’s only fair. With the free-spending Dodgers looming and other contenders like the Tigers and Cardinals potentially in need of second base help, Boras shouldn’t have much trouble finding suitors for his client.

The Yankees know as well as anyone that long-term contracts to players on the wrong side of 30 have a tendency to go sour in a hurry. All they have to do is look at Alex Rodriguez for the worst case scenario, but Jason Giambi — who was more productive in pinstripes than he gets credit for — is a cautionary tale as well. Just look around the league and you’ll see scary long-term commitments to 30-somethings either going wrong or on the verge of going wrong. Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Alfonso Soriano … those clubs would like a do-over on every one of those contracts.

(Al Bello/Getty)

(Al Bello/Getty)

Cano, who turned 30 in October, is theoretically at even greater risk of sharp decline because of his position. Second baseman take a pounding at the bag due to the blind double play pivot, something that “is even reflected in the number of uniforms their clubs have to buy for them” according to former Dodgers GM Dan Evans. To Cano’s credit, he has been extremely durable, playing in no fewer than 159 games in each of the last six seasons. We have to remember that A-Rod was once just as durable, playing in 154+ games in seven straight years before starting to break down in 2008.

According to bWAR, Robbie has been not only the most valuable position player in baseball over the last three years, but also the most valuable player period, including pitchers. His career 34.8 bWAR is the tenth highest in history among second basemen through their age 29 season. He’s been brilliant these last few years, no doubt about it, but his next contract won’t be paying him for past performance. It’ll be paying him for expected future performance, and that’s where it gets tricky.

There have been a total of 20 non-first base infielders to post between 30-40 bWAR through their age 29 season. There are 13 40+ bWAR guys and they’re all all-time greats (A-Rod, Cal Ripken Jr., Joe Morgan, Mike Schmidt, etc.), but I want to look at players similar to Cano. Two of those 30-40 bWAR guys (Dustin Pedroia and David Wright) are too young to tell us anything, but here are how the others performed before their age 30 season, during their age 30 season, and then after their age 30s season.

<30 WAR Age 30 WAR 31+ WAR
Rod Carew 39.8 6.5 30.3
Nomar Garciaparra 39.7 1.1 1.2
Chuck Knoblauch 38.9 3.3 -0.2
Bobby Grich 38.8 5.7 22.8
Derek Jeter 38.7 4.1 26.5
Adrian Beltre 38.4 3.0 19.7
Lou Whitaker 37.3 3.5 30.6
Willie Randolph 37.2 3.8 22.0
Chipper Jones 36.9 5.5 39.1
Ryne Sandberg 36.0 6.9 22.0
Sal Brado 35.6 4.5 17.0
Barry Larkin 33.5 3.8 29.8
Chase Utley 33.0 8.0 12.3
Eric Chavez 32.9 0.1 1.0
Rico Petrocelli 32.6 2.3 0.8
Jimmy Rollins 32.0 1.6 6.7
Robin Ventura 31.4 5.5 15.4

The majority of those guys actually held their value well beyond their age 30 season. There will always been some decline, that’s inevitable, but for the most part they’ve been solid. There are some complete collapses — Nomar, Knoblauch, Chavez, and Petrocelli — in there to serve as the harsh reminder of what could happen as well.

Looking specifically at the second baseman, Carew had begun the transition to first base during his age 29 season and was playing there full-time by 30. Knoblauch was done as a second baseman at 31. Grich, Whitaker, Randolph, and Sandberg all stayed at the position full-time until the end of their careers. Utley, 33, is breaking down but still a full-time second baseman. Roberto Alomar, who was slightly above my arbitrary 40 bWAR cutoff point, was a star up until age 33 before completely cratering. He was a full-time second baseman the entire time.

There is nothing we can to do to predict how Cano will age. We can look at aging curves and compare him to similar players and all sorts of stuff, but there’s just no way to know. He could prosper (Whitaker), he could turn into a pumpkin (Knoblauch), he could do something in the middle (Randolph), or he could do something else entirely. Cano’s durability is reassuring … until you consider all the wear-and-tear could manifest itself in an instant. The uncertainty is what makes a potential long-term deal so scary.

Back in August 2011, I spit-balled the idea of a six-year, $120M-ish contract extension that covered the 2012-2017 seasons, or Robbie’s age 29-34 seasons. I have a hard time seeing Cano and Boras accepting those terms right now. The new CBA changed the marketplace, specifically by limiting spending on amateur players and therefore pumping more money in the big league marketplace. Add in the Dodgers factor and Robbie could be looking at Prince Fielder money (nine years, $214M) with a 2013 season that resembles his 2010-2012 efforts. That is a scary thought.

Cano is an elite player and he will be paid accordingly next winter. That’s not much of a question. The real question is how long will he remain an elite player? How long will he stay at second? One more season? Two? Four? No one knows. The Yankees already have two big albatross contracts on their hands in A-Rod and Mark Teixeira, and it’s likely only a matter of time before Sabathia joins them. Adding a fourth albatross could be crippling, especially if ownership won’t budge from their plan to stay under the luxury tax threshold. I have no reason to believe they will.

As great as Cano is right now, the Yankees need to avoid repeating history and shooting themselves in the foot with another big contract for a declining player on the wrong side of 30. The Cardinals are doing just fine without Pujols, just like the Rays are doing just fine without Carl Crawford. Texas doesn’t miss Teixeira at all. There is a price at which the Yankees should be willing to keep Cano — four years, $100M? five years, $130M? — but in this new age of “fiscal responsibility,” the Yankees can’t act like they used too. Hard and potentially unpopular decisions will have to be made.

Categories : Analysis


  1. John C says:

    Look at Chase Utley. 2 years ago, he was the best 2nd baseman in baseball and looked like a lock to be inplanted in Philly for the next 10 years. Now he could be history and relegated to a DH in the AL soon

    • Ted Nelson says:

      That logic would basically lead you to conclude that you should never sign anyone.

      • aluis says:

        No ding dong it’s just a cautionary statement.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Again… looking at only the cautionary statements would lead you to… what?… never signing anyone. You have to look at a relevant sample, not everyone.

          I could just as easily say, “Look at Chipper Jones. He’s outproduced his pre-30 WAR since.” And that would lead one to conclude that you should always sign everyone.

          So, maybe we should look at the whole sample instead of taking extreme examples.

          Instead of insulting other people, try pulling your head out of your ass.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            “You have to look at a relevant sample, not everyone.”

            Should say not one guy.

          • Tim says:

            It would lead you to taking a reasoned approach toward signing those guys. Not backing up the money truck for Boras. And in this market, someone will definitely back up the truck for over $200 million

            • Ted Nelson says:

              So, a “reasoned approach” is just not to sign anyone to a market rate deal then?

              • Now Batting says:

                I think the logic used in the original post could lead you to conclude you should never sign second basemen to big contracts. Really I think that’s the crux of the whole Robbie contract. If he played literally any other position besides catcher I’d probably do a 180 and be screaming to pay him.

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  I thought that this list did a decent job of questioning that logic, but if you believe it why not move him to 3B in 2014?

                  • GT Yankee says:


                    A major problem with your response (and actually your responses in general) is that you reply with questions rather than statements. You mentioned in one moving Cano to third if they resign him which I think is a good idea too, but 3 of your 4 posts question others (literally ?)rather than making statements exclusive to yourself. It’s because you spend so much time shooting other’s opinions down that you catch so much flack IMO.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      I was asking a question to engage Now Batting in a conversation. Being 100% friendly. Asking rather than telling. It’s because people jump to conclusions that they get the wrong impressions.

                • WhittakerWalt says:

                  I think it’s more like “be extremely cautious/judicious when thinking about signing 30-year old second basemen to long contracts, they don’t tend to age well.” I think everyone here wants to re-sign Robbie, just not for 10 years.

          • Steve says:

            I actually agree with you here. But looking at the history of 2nd Basemen is pretty bleak. Has anybody in history remained an elite or even above average player at 2nd into their mid/late 30s? I can’t think of anybody off the top of my head. You could always move Cano off 2nd, but part of the reason his bat is so valuable is because it’s coming from 2nd base.

            • Preston says:

              Yes that’s why he’s so valuable, but over the last three seasons he’s hit .311/.370/.539 that kind of offense plays anywhere. And right now offensive production at 3B is lower than it used to be. Cano would have been the second best offensive 3B behind only Miguel Cabrera last season. Staying healthy would far outweigh the downward positional adjustment.

          • aluis says:

            Better. Now only if you go first. ;0)

    • Bo Knows says:

      Utley also dove all the time, took too many sliding hits and a whole host of things that Cano doesn’t do, look at the imp in Boston, he plays similar to Utley and his body has taken a similar toll with injuries. Robbie frankly doesn’t take much if any contact when on the field that in and of itself is unique among middle infielders because so many played in the manner of Utley and mighty mouse.

      • GT Yankee says:

        This is a really good post that gets you thinking. While Cano is easily the best 2nd Baseman right now, he’ll never get the moniker of being “gritty” like Pediatric. A slick fielder and amazing hitter yes, but a “gamer” no, which may actually help him long term.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

      He’s also the type of second baseman who got taken out a lot on double plays. Robbie hardly ever gets taken out because of his strong throwing arm.

  2. Blake says:

    I think a big part of whether the Yanks should sign Cano depends on just how attached Hal is to this budget stuff…..if ownership will be flexible in the future when Cano starts to decline then they should go ahead and do what it takes to keep him….but if not then they need to be very careful.

    Cano’s swing is great….he keeps the bat in the zone a long time and he has premium contact ability.

    However what you worry about with him is his approach and how guys that swing a lot tend to age….they can decline quickly when the physical tools start to slip and Cano will be 31 already when he signs his new deal.

    • RetroRob says:

      That’s the general issue. How will he age.

      I’m a little less concerned about his position and what history says about the longevity of players at that position. I am more concerned about his approach at the plate and how that will translate as he ages.

  3. Tom says:

    The Rangers don’t miss Teixeira because they got Andrus, Feliz, Harrison, and Salty. Also, saying Cano is “declining” is not necessarily correct. He hasn’t declined at all yet. Prone to declining might be a better way to say it.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Texas traded him after he turned down an 8/140 contract.

      • JAG says:

        While this is true, one has to wonder if the Ranger’s handling of the Tex situation should have possibly been a mirror for the Yankees’ handling of Cano. This should be a situation where the no-extensions policy goes out the window. Unfortunately, the time to do that was last year when it still would have been possible to consider dealing him and getting a solid return. Now, the best they can do is try to extend him now.

        I agree with the sentiment that’s been expressed here in a few places that the most financially responsible avenue for the Yankees to take is to try to extend Cano now with the understanding with him and Boras that if there is no extension now, no attempt will be made to negotiate one next winter. The Yankees cannot afford to allow themselves to be held captive by Boras while he uses them to drive up Cano’s price for the Dodgers and other parties. The Yankees need to know for certain if they need to replace Cano or not and they need to know it as soon as possible so they can work on their off-season with as few question marks as possible.

        • Ed says:

          the most financially responsible avenue for the Yankees to take is to try to extend Cano now with the understanding with him and Boras that if there is no extension now, no attempt will be made to negotiate one next winter.

          The last time Cashman tried that, Hank gave out the largest contract ever. And that was without any other teams that realistically could have bid anything remotely close to that.

          If they try that stunt now, that’s just taunting Boras to take Cano to free agency.

          • RetroRob says:

            Well if Boras is depending on Hank and Goldman Sachs to step in this time, he will be disappointed.

            That was then. This is now. Very different dynamic.

            I stand by my statement from the other day. If Cano does not sign an extension, the Yankees will let him leave.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        I think that the point was that the Rangers might miss Tex more if they had let him walk as a FA than traded him. Fangraphs had their return as worth 8.5 fWAR last season for just under $6 mill, and 9.8 fWAR in 2011 at about $1.5 mill.

        It’s a bit dubious since he hasn’t been worth the money and we have no idea what they would have done as a franchise if they never make that trade, but it’s possible that from 2009-11 they would have been better off re-signing him than letting him walk in FA.

  4. Sam says:

    “As great as Cano is right now, the Yankees need to avoid repeating history and shooting themselves in the foot with another big contract for a declining player on the wrong side of 30.”

    ^This. I can’t see paying $26 million for a 37 yr old not worth half that much. One player doesn’t make a team and fiscal responsibility includes even Cano.

  5. Vern Sneaker says:

    Mike, thanks for the terrific set-up of the issue. Not re-signing Cano would certainly be unpopular if not downright painful, but I don’t see doing it. Even with a not-too-awful (but inevitable) decline, especially in the last 50%-70% of the contract, he simply won’t be worth the $$. We’re all so used to our team spending its way to the playoffs, but we’re going to have to get over it. Besides, $180 million isn’t chump change. With that payroll level (and the luck that any team needs) it certainly ought to be possible to put together a balanced, championship-calibre roster, but a Cano mega-deal added to current obligations will make that much less likely.

  6. pat says:

    I will cry big, manly, tears if he were to play in a different uniform after next year, but I won’t be mad. At some point you have to put your foot down and break the vicious cycle of giving out these monster contracts. It sucks big time that it’s likely going to be my favorite player, but for the sake of the teams future it needs to be done. We gotta get into the Rays frame of mind where we first develop elite talent then buy out their first few years of free agency and elite production, not the last few years of elite production. Easier said than done obviously, but a firm step needs to be taken.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      “We gotta get into the Rays frame of mind where we first develop elite talent then buy out their first few years of free agency and elite production, not the last few years of elite production. Easier said than done obviously, but a firm step needs to be taken.”

      With the Yankees’ financial resources, I think that they can afford to do some of both. I’m not saying you run around handing out A-Rod contracts, but market rate ones like CC’s, for example. Then the young talent coming up at league minimum makes the $ work.

      It’s contingent on the young talent coming through, but the Rays’ strategy is even more so.

      They should basically be able to do what they’ve always done minus a big contract or two. Of course having so many young studs that you don’t have to sign veterans would be great, but in most realistic cases the stability of being able to sign some veterans to market rate deals to deepen your roster is going to be valuable.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        They’re also not the Tampa Bay Rays. The Tampa Bay Rays do this because it’s the only way they have a prayer of being competitive. Although there’s a segment of the readership here that incorrectly things the Yanks are doing just this, you can’t just ignore the advantages you have in being the New York Yankees and pretend they’re not there.

        “Cut your hair and get a job
        rent a flat above the shpo
        smoke some f*gs and play some pool
        pretend you never went to school
        but still you’ll never get it right
        cause when lay in bed at night
        watching roaches climb the wall
        if you call your day he could stop it all

        You’ll never live like common people.
        You’ll never do whatever common people do.”

  7. Billy says:

    5 years for 150 with incentives for multiple option years. It doesn’t help the luxury tax situation with an AAV of 30 per but it minimizes long term risk while paying Cano extremely well for 5 years. It also adds potential of becoming a 7 year deal if he’s a monster for the first five. I think mostly everyone, even Axisa, would go for this deal. The question is will Cano?

    • JAG says:

      Unfortunately, I don’t know that he would. If the Dodgers are truly going to offer him $200mm, I just don’t see how he can turn that down. Even if it’s less per year, I doubt Cano’s concerned about running out of money if he only gets $23mm instead of $30mm for a couple years when it means he is guaranteed 7 or 8 years of being paid. Given the concerns with Cano breaking down, I would take the longest, most expensive deal I could if I were in his position.

    • Vern Sneaker says:

      Adding $30MM/yr. even for 2014-16, the last years that we can reasonably project he’ll still be superstar productive at bat and in the field, will make it difficult if not impossible to build the overall roster to championship calibre with the rest of the available $$ — unless at least 2-3 of our best current prospects develop into top-notch major league rookies and sophomores. As promising as they look right now, we all know prospects regularly fizzle, fade, and end up as ordinary/marginal major leaguers or AAA termional cases. We probably won’t be able to confidently project their future development by the end of this year for deciding Cano’s future. The more sensible way is to create financial flexibility for known-quality free agents and trade pieces.

  8. Cool Lester Smooth (Formerly YanksFanInBeantown) says:

    With all due respect, Mike: Fuck that. The New York Yankees don’t let potential HoFers walk. Ever.

    • Barry's Gift Basket says:

      But they should… sometimes.

    • Now Batting says:

      And look how screwed they are with the albatross contacts on the roster

      • thenamestsam says:

        The more I think about letting Robbie go the more upset it makes me. From an analytical perspective I understand that if your only goal is maximizing team wins then yeah, it’s probably the right move. But ultimately, to me, rooting for the Yankees is about something beyond just rooting for the laundry. When the Yankees won the world series in 2009, I wasn’t happy just because the people dog-piling are wearing pinstripes, or because they represent (in a totally artificial way) the city that I love.

        I was happy because Derek Jeter and Andy Pettite and Mariano Rivera and yes, Robinson Cano, mean something to me, and seeing them achieve their ultimate goal gives me great catharsis. As much as anything I’m happy for them, and winning it wouldn’t be the same if the guys that I’d spent years and years getting to know every night hadn’t been there.

        Which is all to say that I think I’ll take my chances on an albatross if it means I don’t have to take the chance of watching Robbie Cano go into the Hall of Fame wearing a Dodgers hat. The players on the team are just as important as the team itself to me, and losing a home grown Yankee superstar to free agency in the heart of his prime would be devastating.

        • Cool Lester Smooth (Formerly YanksFanInBeantown) says:

          This. Exactly this.

          And I guess I should have specified “homegrown HoFers”

          • thenamestsam says:

            I just wish all the people imagining how bad things could look in a few years if Robbie’s body betrays him would at least consider the other side of the coin. What if we, as a fanabse, had missed out on the 2nd half of Jeter’s career? Or Marianos? The Yankees doesn’t mean the same thing it means now if those guys had left town at age 30, and Robbie is the same type of player. Doesn’t mean it will work out the same way, but don’t you take a chance with a guy who has a chance to have his face out in monument park some day?

        • Cool Lester Smooth (Formerly YanksFanInBeantown) says:

          This. Exactly this.

          And I guess I should have specified “homegrown” HoFers

        • Now Batting says:

          It’s easy to say this when the team has been incredibly successful for the past 17 years. Ask yourself how much you would care about the individual players if the team stopped making the playoffs every year. I was too young to follow baseball before the strike, but I’d be interested to know what some of the older commenters think.

          With the new CBA and Hal’s commitment to stay under $189, if you hand out big contracts to players on the wrong side of 30 (Who play second base no less) the odds of that success continuing are reduced. The only realistic chance I see of that working is if all our A ball prospects contribute significantly in the next few years. If we’re being honest with ourselves the odds of that are extremely slim.

          • thenamestsam says:

            That’s a very fair counterpoint, and I, like you, am too young to remember any truly unsuccessful Yankee teams.

            All I’d say is look at Don Mattingly as an example of a “True Yankee” who never got the chance to play on very good teams but still meant a ton to the fanbase. I think the players still matter.

            If I told you that the Yankees would win the world series this year GUARANTEED, but they have to entirely switch rosters with the Red Sox, would you do it? Would you be jumping up and down for joy watching Pedroia and Ellsbury celebrate just because they were wearing the pinstripes?

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              I was incredibly sad when Dave Winfield was traded. I also don’t think that had a ton to do with Mike F’ing Witt.

            • Now Batting says:

              First, I think this whole conversation/debate is simply awesome.

              I’ll admit I don’t think I would be jumping for joy in your scenario. That’s pretty extreme though. I was jumping for joy in ’09 when the Yankees won the World Series with newly signed Teixeira, CC, and AJ to go along with Damon.

              As another example, Tino/Bernie/Posada/O’neil/Cone/El Duque were all good to very good players, but I don’t think any of them were ever called super stars (maybe Cone?). Nonetheless they are some of the most beloved Yankees of all time. Winning four world series in five years probably had a lot to do with that.

              • thenamestsam says:

                All very true. I guess I’d say that to me with all of the players you mentioned they were in some way validated because the heart of those teams still had a lot of those Yankee legend type players on it, but I can openly admit that there’s no way to prove or disprove that. It’s just how I feel.

                If CC, Tex and AJ hadn’t had Posada, Derek, Andy and Mo there I do think it would have felt cheaper and it wouldn’t have mattered to me as much.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              Wonderful point on that last paragraph, and one I entirely skimmed over the first time I replied.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            “Ask yourself how much you would care about the individual players if the team stopped making the playoffs every year. I was too young to follow baseball before the strike, but I’d be interested to know what some of the older commenters think.”

            The pre-strike teams looked nothing like this. 89-92 were much more a collection of .500 pitchers brought in and treated as if they were aces along with position players who didn’t have a ton of upside (not even *sniff* Chuck Cary). The one overpay was Tartabull, who just didn’t make a whole lot of sense at the time. He wasn’t going to change things on his own.

            Did I ever sit there and think they should trade Mattingly for pieces because the team was floundering? Fuck no. One of the saddest parts of Yankee history was his not being able to hang on until ’96.

            The mid-80′s, warts and all, are often misrepresented. Many of those teams would have been WC teams under the current rules. Apples and oragnes, in a way.

        • Barry's Gift Basket says:

          I hear you.
          A couple of toughts though.

          I don’t give a S#”t if Cano goes into the HOF wearing a Dodgers cap. The HOF is about to become a joke IMO. Hell, nobody knows if Cano is going to the HOF.

          With that being said, I wouldn’t take my chances on an albatross contract for Robbie because tha Yankees have already one too many of those. And this gets worse with the 189 thing, you know?
          The problem is, IMO, that: for 2014 and beyond, Tex, A-Rod (and Probably CC) will struggle just to be regulars while taking up a good piece of the payroll, payroll that the FO is triying to reduce btw. Were Cano to suck or get injured while earning more than $20 million, a large part of the budget would be dead money. In the old days, it seemed like, this would not be thaat big of a deal, you just sign or trade for somebody else, now it seems like the yankees won’t do that, that’s when a(nother) bad contract really, really hurts the chances of this team making the playoffs on a regular basis.
          For me it comes to this, either they scratch the 189 thing and sign Robbie, or they stick with the 189 plan and cut Cano Loose after this season.
          The middle ground won’t work, i think, unless some of the top prospects become at least adequate regulars, and that’s far from a given.

          • thenamestsam says:

            Even if you think the HOF is a joke I think the larger point stands. Missing out on half of a legendary player’s career is a huge loss. Not that Robbie will necessarily get to that level. But he has a chance. If Jeter ahd left at age 30, maybe seeing him enter the Hall of Fame in a different cap wouldn’t have been the painful part, but it would have been painful, don’t you think?

            I think saying that CC and Tex will struggle to be regulars as soon as next year is a pretty significant exaggeration. Overpaid? Sure, probably, almost certainly in Tex’s case. But you think CC is going to have to fight for his rotation spot next year?

            • Barry's Gift Basket says:

              The yankees, probably, already got the good half of Robbie’s career.

              No, i didn’t mean next year for CC and Tex, but for 2015
              yeah probably.

              • Robinson Tilapia says:

                You believe CC is going to deteriorate to the point that he’ll be fighting to be the 5th starter in two years? Just wow.

                • Barry's Gift Basket says:

                  Sorry had to work,

                  No, but he won’t be worth what he will earn (most likely).

                  And i get that you have to do that to get those players to sign with you, but there has to be a limit regarding how many times the team is gonna do that.

                  And when it comes to FA you “have” to do that, because if you don’t somebody else is gonna do it. When it comes to homegrown players you don’t have to overpay for them, you already had them for the best of their careers at below market prices. If the yankees want to remain competitive with a spending limit they have to do more of the later and less of the former. Sadly it should start with Robbie, sadly, because don’t think i’d enjoy that much a team without him, but IMO they should let him go.

      • Robinsn Tilapia says:

        That’s quite the exagerration. How “screwed” exactly are they? Even the projections posted this morning have them within the margin of error of winning the division.

        Alex’s contract has gone bad. This is, of course, after winning a championship with him.

        There’s plenty of baseball for Mark Teixeira to play before that contract really begins to look bad. It’s way too premature to say the same about Sabathia. Again, these players were part of a team that won you a championship in 2009 and had the team in the ALCS last season.

        Some of these contracts will cycle out by the time the later years of a potential Cano contract roll around.

        If Robbie can produce at a high level for the next 4-5 seasons, I’d be fine with the team paying for the victory lap those last two seasons. Right now, every single one of us is purely guessing as to whether he remains at that level through age 34-35.

        Alex’s contract sucks. Ryan Howard’s sucks. Not all big money contracts are going to go that route.

        • thenamestsam says:

          Also this. They’ve been so screwed by their era of giving out huge contracts that they’re only projected to be in a tight race for the division this year, and currently on a nearly 20 year run of success. So freaking screwed.

          • Now Batting says:

            Screwed is the wrong adjective, but I think you know where I’m coming from. I’ll amend it to the next few years look bleaker than any recent time in Yankees history because of the money committed to guys passed or leaving their peak.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              If you were to ask me what the biggest issue with the roster is, I actually would say it’s the number of mainstays reaching retirement age, not contracts. No matter what, the biggest adjustment this franchise was going to go through was going to occur the middle part of this decade, 189 or not, Alex or not, Cano’s FA status or not.

        • Barry's Gift Basket says:

          09′ has nothing to do with giving Cano a huge Contract.

          “Alex’s contract sucks. Ryan Howard’s sucks. Not all big money contracts are going to go that route.”

          I think you take the bet for seeing how a long contract turns out when yout have the financial muscle to overcome if it goes south, and right now the yankees don’t have that, as funny as that sounds.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            “I think you take the bet for seeing how a long contract turns out when yout have the financial muscle to overcome if it goes south, and right now the yankees don’t have that, as funny as that sounds.”

            That is flat out incorrect.

            The Yankees still have the financial muscle to do whatever the hell they want. They are choosing to keep payroll under $189 million for 2014. That’s it.

    • GT Yankee says:

      Like A-Rod? LOL Although I do think it might be a very long time, I do think he’ll be there some day….perhaps posthumously.

  9. Ed says:

    I think it all comes down to the budget. If they’re willing to roll the way they have been in the past, with a payroll fit for their revenue, it’s worth the gamble. Keep him at 2B until A-Rod gives up 3B, then move him to 3B to hopefully prolong his career.

    If they’re dead set on cutting the payroll while everyone else is spending more, well, we’re going to need a few dirt cheap stars on the roster to justify paying Cano top dollar.

    In a way, I hope Toronto has a good year. I think a lot of the $189M benefits came from taking revenue sharing away from teams like Toronto. If they’re competitive and do enough on their own to wipe out that revenue sharing, the $189M plan becomes a lot less attractive.

  10. Ross says:

    Mike, what a great job! This was a wholly digestible piece addressing all sides of the issue.

    Of course, this begs the questions:
    What would Robbie be worth in trade this year?
    Would something like CC’s 7 years / $161mil be enough to keep him?

    • Travis L. says:

      7 years seems a bit long though. I wouldnt do anything over 5 years. Maybe drive up the value of the contract, but definitely keep it at or under 5 years.

  11. toad says:

    I don’t really see how these guys “held their value.” Only four – Carew, Whitaker, Jones, and Larkin produced as much as 75% of their <30 years in their 31+ years. Add Grich, Jeter, Beltre, Randolph, and Sandberg and you've got everyone who even made it to 50%, about half the group.

    I have thought that the Yankees more or less have to resign Cano, but maybe not. It's interesting that age 30 performance seems to be not a bad indicator of results thereafter. Five of the bottom six at age 30 were busts thereafter.

  12. Travis L. says:

    My two cents? We should trade him. I hate that because I know that we want to make a run now, with Pettitte and Rivera in (possibly) their last years. We will get at least 2-3 talented players in a trade, instead of having a compensation round pick that is more of a gamble than a lock, to become “something”. Like Mike said…unpopular choices will have to be made. This is unpopular and will get me shunned here, as most commenters want the fiscal responsibility thing to end, but its just my opinion…not right or wrong.

    • JAG says:

      I’m concerned that it’s too late. While yes, if we traded him, like, tomorrow, the other team would still get draft-pick comp so we might get a little more for him, but I’m just not sure how much teams will pay for 1 year of even superstar production from 2B. I mean, if we got Profar? Or Machado? Ok, then sure, I’d probably be fine with that. But I doubt that the Yankees would do such a deal, or that whoever their trade partner is would give up what we’d want.

      We also have to consider that trading Cano is a definitely signal to our trade partner and the rest of the league that there’s no hope for even the Yankees to resign Cano, which would really hurt as the trading partner team would have to know they most likely can’t resign him either.

      • Tim says:

        No team is confused about the fact that Cano is going to free agency unless you offer him $250 million.

        You don’t have to trade him to get value from him. An MVP type season is pretty valuable to a team that is in as close a battle as NY will likely be in the division.

    • Now Batting says:

      I think it’s best to wait until the trade deadline. If the Yankees are in it they should hold onto him to try and win a ring. If they’re out of it trade him. There will always be a .500 team that will trade the farm for him to try and put them over the top.

  13. CountryClub says:

    I’m on board with letting him walk. I just can’t see giving him a 7 or 8 yr deal at 20-25 mil per.

    Teams have to learn from their past mistakes. But, I have a feeling that Hal will sign him based on his comments about how surprised he is with how unhappy the fans are supposed to be.

  14. Barry's Gift Basket says:

    I’d say; Play him every day in 2013, contend, watch him win MVP honors, then let him walk away.

    Nothing personal, It’s strictly business.

    • Travis L. says:

      The only hangup with that is that you’d probably get a better established player if you trade him, rather than take the comp pick at the end of the year. Those first round picks (or comp picks between the first and second rounds) can be tricky…Culver, Bichette, Brackman……see? It could be more beneficial to exchange his talent to a team hoping to contend, that has what we would need in the next year or two, than to gamble with the comp pick.

      • Barry's Gift Basket says:

        Well probably, that’d depend of how the yankees are in the standings by july. If they are “in” (wich i think they will) you don’t trade him, if they are 10 games back definetly trade him.

        • Mike Axisa says:

          Ten games out on August 1st is doable. They’re more likely to add players at that point than trade Cano. They would have to be far back to trade Robbie, like 20-25 “everything that could go wrong went wrong” games back.

          • Barry's Gift Basket says:

            Well sure, that’s exactly why i don’t think he will be traded, Cano by himself can mantain the team competitive enough for them not to trade him.

    • thenamestsam says:

      Sure it’s strictly business, but it’s not strictly accurate to say that what the Yankees are in the business of is winning games. If I told you they could trade Jeter, Mo, and Pettite tomorrow and the players they got back would lead to them winning 2 extra games this year, would you do it?

    • Barry says:

      Oh yeah, let the cornerstone of our offense walk away with no proper replacement available. You’re strictly a business moron.

      • Barry's Gift Basket says:

        There is no need for name calling, is Cano your Husband or something?

        I wouldn’t give Cano a big (7yrs+) contract, period. I think it would hurt the team long term, if that makes me a moron this site is going south.

        • Barry says:

          Who knows how long of a contract he’ll get. Just letting him walk without making any offer or attempt to keep him around would be a moronic move by the Yankees. Can you guarantee that he wouldn’t live up to the contract? Nope.

          The Yankees offense without Cano would be disastrous, in 2014 and beyond. You’re not just losing Cano next year you’re losing Granderson. Pick one of the two and I’d take Cano.

          • Barry's Gift Basket says:

            Oh they will make him an offer, no doubt, and probably will give him the money necesary for him to stay. I just wouldn’t do it for the price he’ll comand.

            If i were the yankees i’d put 5 years and 120 million on the table, and he’d walk away with Boras dialing to LA inmediatly.

  15. Tim says:

    Nice piece Mike. I’ve long been in the camp to ride out the season with Robbie and let him walk. What you will get in this trade market will likely not equal the production plus the pick and money from him walking. He may well have 1-2 more excellent years in him but who knows. The Yankees have gotten extreme value from him and I don’t think letting one of their own guys walk would be a bad thing for negotiations with others down the road. Plus I think his contract will be one that like Albert’s will look bad almost the day he signs it even though he’s still good.

    • Tim says:

      It’s also clear by reading these comments that not everyone understands how much the upgrade Cano servers over his replacement is worth to the NY Yankees. There is very little chance that anyone is going to touch that value in a trade.

  16. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    Can someone tell me why Lou Whitaker isn’t in the HOF again?

  17. Jim Is Bored says:

    I think Mike is doing this simply to get a rise out of Ted, at this point.

    Would keeping martin have kept our catching situation “championship caliber”? WTF does championship caliber even mean? Are you using a certain WAR level? What team has a “championship caliber” bench, by whatever definition you’re using? Has every WS champion had “championship caliber” rosters? I doubt it.

    If budget issues weren’t a concern, what move would you have wanted them to make that they haven’t? The only move I can see is re-signing swisher, but there are enough fans fed up with his postseason performances that I didn’t see too much outrage over that.

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      Should say “Has every WS winning team had ‘championship caliber’ rosters as evaluated pre-season”. Obviously if they won the WS it was tautologically championship caliber.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I mean what the hell is a championship-caliber bench? Gregor Blanco (453) and Joaquin Arias (344)?

      Does Mike even know what profits are? They are a function of revenues and costs, not of costs alone. If Hal wants to max profits, losing games is a terrible, terrible way to do that and winning championships is a great way to do that.

      The actions were to go out and spend a TON of money this off-season to improve the team. They probably added more payroll than the Rays will spend this season.

      • Mike Axisa says:

        The actions were to go out and spend a TON of money this off-season to improve the team.

        Nothing was improved this winter. Rotation remained the same, got worse at C, 3B, RF, and on the bench. Only improvement was DH and that is contingent on Hafner actually staying on the field.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Hal can’t make players play better. He can’t make their players younger so that the ZIPs formula likes them better. He just writes the checks. His actions were to maintain one of the highest payrolls in baseball.

          How about we let them play the fucking games to determine how good the team is instead of whining incessantly about how bad they are on paper and taking out some deep depression on the internet?

          • Ted Nelson says:

            I can hardly differentiate between you and the trolls on here.

            How much ink have you spilled this off-season on the upside of their moves? I can’t remember much. I can remember every detail of the downsides drawn out over thousands of words over and over and over again. Did Ichiro make any adjustments to his mechanics or approach that helped spur his resurgence? Why is it that the Rays and Yankees have traded away or passed on offensive Cs for two of the best pitch framers in baseball? Furthermore, since you have spilled gallons of ink gushing over the Rays over the years… how might the Yankees take some pages out of the Rays’ book to compete on a tighter budget? (You know, like using a cheap defense first C.) What young guys might help the team in 2013? These are topics worthy of attention on a Yankee blog. The sky is falling over and over and over is weak sauce.

            • Mike Axisa says:

              Did Ichiro make any adjustments to his mechanics or approach that helped spur his resurgence?

              Maybe. If he has, great, but we haven’t heard about it. I’m not going to assume he fixed himself just for the sake of being positive and pleasing you.

              Furthermore, since you have spilled gallons of ink gushing over the Rays over the years

              I’d love to see some examples of this. Pretty much the only thing I’ve ever said I’d like to see NYY do that TB does is leave their pitching prospects in the minors longer.

              (You know, like using a cheap defense first C.)

              You know what the amazing thing about that is? Teams with cheap defense catchers tend to miss the postseason, like the Rays last year. You can count the number of teams that won the WS with a defense first catcher in the last 25 years on one hand, and about three of them are Girardi.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                I’m saying get some video and examine his swings from Seattle and NY. Not to assume anything. I’m saying to actually analyze the Yankees instead of just trolling your own site all off-season. It’s like Garcia-gate all over again.

                I’m not saying that the Rays aren’t a very well run franchise from a baseball perspective, but you have recommended books on them and I would just generally say praised them as being the best in the business. Again, I’m not questioning that. It’s pretty easy to argue that they have been the best for a number of years now (even if they’re not quite as great as some people make them out to be). I’m questioning why you wouldn’t consider how the new Yankees could learn from them instead of just continuously whining about how little Hal stole your favorite toys.

                That you just lump all “defense first” Cs into one group is precisely the problem. Just saying that any C who can’t hit is equivalent is… maddening. Posey and Molina are as much defensive studs as offensive. Statistical analysis is not some static thing where no learning takes place over time.

                • Mike Axisa says:

                  Nothing qualifies me to look at video of Ichiro and break down his swing. I couldn’t do it and I’ve never tried.

                  The Yankees tend to toot their own horn whenever they make changes like that. They did it with Granderson, they did it with Jeter (both during ST and then again with Denbo), they did it with Teixeira trying to go the other way, they’ve done it multiple times with A-Rod. Long isn’t shy about telling people what adjustments he’s made. We haven’t heard anything about Ichiro.

                  • Ted Nelson says:

                    It’s one of several examples I gave, but it’s not that difficult to see if someone has changed their mechanics. My larger point was to actually analyze his resurgence. Is it sustainable or not? The fundamentals of his swing is one place I’d start, but if you don’t feel comfortable analyzing that you could also do it statistically (and I would try to do both). I’m not saying Ichiro will sustain his performance, I am saying let’s examine it before deciding if they are worse in RF.

                    • Preston says:

                      Then do it Ted. Mike can write whatever he wants. You say Mike has spent thousands of words analyzing the downside. You have spent thousands of words complaining about people complaining about the downside. I’m not meaning to be combative. I’m serious. You’re always frustrated and angry. Instead of spending so much time telling everybody why they are wrong, spend that time talking about these things you’d like to talk about.

            • Claudell Bronzini says:

              Did your mother drop you on your head while you were an infant? Because you sound like a complete idiot.

            • LK says:

              We don’t have CLOSE to enough information to say that Stewart is one of the best pitch framers in baseball.

              • Mike Axisa says:

                The biggest issue I have with all the pitch framing studies is that none of them have adjusted for count. The work Fast and Marchi have done is very good, but it’s far from complete. Same goes for all defensive stats.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                What does the information that we do have say?

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  An MLB GM can’t always sit around waiting for a huge sample size. Sometimes they have to make projections that have a larger margin of error than they’d like. Every indication we as fans have is that Stewart is an excellent P framer.

        • CountryClub says:

          Also got better in LF and defensively. And 3rd could end up being a wash.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          The rotation did not remain the same from what it was last year on opening day, fwiw.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Whether or not it’s the right more, my bet is there’s an 80+% chance Cano is a Yankee in 2014.

        • trr says:

          I really do expect the Yanks to sign him. By almost any standard he is THE top offensive player on the team and likely to remain so for the next several years. I’m not saying he’s one of the all-time greats, but he is at the top for his position currently, and it would be really tough to walk away from a player like that. Having said that, there obviously is a limitation to what you can pay, and if another team offers him the moon and stars, well….

        • Robinson Tilapia says:


          I think he’s a Yankee in 2020.


    • Robinsn Tilapia says:

      All of this.

      There are too many examples of teams at this point who, on paper, in Februrary, or even on Opening Day, didn’t pass the sniff test who were hoisting the trophy in the end. The San Francisco Giants have won two championships in what, the last three years?

      I look forward to the fight, and I look forward to coming out on top at the end.

      • Jim Is Bored says:

        I’d like to reference this thread for anyone in the future who thinks the “main commenters” on this site just parrot what Axisa tells us.

        There’s plenty of room for disagreement.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          I’m grateful to Mike for running this site and know how fucking hard it is to run a site that even gets 1-1000th the traffic this does. I can disagree with him and not be Barbara Booey.

    • WhittakerWalt says:

      Looks like the rise has officially been gotten. Not that it takes much effort.

  18. stuart a says:

    4 years at $25 per is more then fair. if he cannot survive on those paltry wages, adios..

    adios…FA signings almost always suck, look it up. mussina and sabathia and jeter 10 year deal are the acception and talk to me abou CC in 3 years.

    even the dodgers will run out of money sooner versus later….

    4 years max. the guy will be 35……

  19. Chas131 says:

    Blow up the team. This is a classic rebuild opportunity. 2014 is for breaking in youth. Heathcott and Banuelos working out will be a big step.

  20. LK says:

    This all depends on the budget. If Hal is being honest when he says that the payroll plan only applies if they can field a championship-caliber club, then they should go for it even though the last couple years will almost certainly be ugly. If they’re going to hold to the budget no matter what, they have to make sure they don’t overpay him or they’ll be pretty screwed.

  21. stuart a says:

    every spoiled yankee fans says the same year. overpay realizing the last few years will be ugly.

    newsflash when you have too many last few years of contracts you have things like the 2013 yankees. a huge payroll but money wasted all over the place;

    how about this for 2013 wasted millions include; arod(all of it or about $25 mill.), tex at $18 mill, his production is whata $9 mill player, grandy at $14 mill again what is he a $7 mill player, for pitching CC at what $23 mill, what does his productivity = $15 mill., you can go down the roster.. This team as contsituted whousl be a $120 mill team at most…

    but hey let’s throw away the last 3 years of say 8 guys and then you get a mess.

    cano will be 31 and a free agent, enjoy your time in LA Cano. You will be stealing about $12 mill a year from them. Maybe cano and Pujols can laugh at lunch over there robbery… Pujols deal is until he is 40 years old, that is a shrewd agreement….right up there with Grienke and about every FA contract…

  22. mt says:

    I do think Mike is over doing it with picking apart certain parts of the Yankees and seeing if it meets championship caliber test, whatever that is? I know the NL is weaker but I daresay that many parts of the 2010 Giants, 2011 Cardinals and the 2012 Giants were rated championship caliber before or even during the season (maybe the Giant’s starting pitching has always been champiosnhip caliber but certainly not their hitting, was Cardinal’s starting pitching in 2011 “championship caliber”?

    With the names on this Yankee roster, we should be in the championship conversation but our problem this year is that we did have championship caliber depth in the past (former All Stars or playoff performers like Chavez, Ibanez, Garcia as back-ups satrting teh year that helped fill in ) and this year we no longer have that and in addition, all the key regulars (except Gradner and maybe Cano) are already past their prime and a year older. So as I have said before it would be nice if some of our championship caliber pieces performed better especially in key situations since we no longer have the depth cushion to mask the superstar deficiencies – Cano with better RBI performance, Grandy with his OBP, Tex with his lefthanded swing, etc. – say, if Cano did 35 HRs and 130-140 RBIs, Grandy batted 270 and above with 30-35 bombs and Tex improved his lefthanded swing, CC stayed healthy enough to win 19-22 – it could mask a lot of ills in 2013 elsewhere (like Chris Stewart/Cervelli, bad defense from 3b/SS and disppointing Ichiro/Hughes/Nova, for example).

    Of course then there is playoff performance on top of that to navigate.

  23. Greg says:

    assume we are willing to go 6/150. Assume that we believe that the Dodgers are willing to go higher (say 8/200). Assume we believe that we can’t or won’t match. Then the most interesting question is whether we keep him for the entire year and get the draft pick or trade him for more in July.

  24. BigBSArteest says:

    Package him with a prospect for a key piece of the future. Someone like Profar.Only time will tell if Cashman has any huevos.

  25. stuart a says:

    how has that championship caliber roster done the last few years Mike?

    they sure hit with RISP dont they!!!!!

    the days with a star at every position are over…the giants have won 2 titles in 4 years. ryan vogelsong was a bum. lincecum stunk last year. romo was there closer. they had a met retread in center field….that is a world championship level roster……..

    the yanks have been overpaid and underachieving for years…go young.. why not??????????????

  26. your mom says:

    Couldn’t Cano slide over to 1B when Tex leaves? 7 yrs/180, front loaded.

  27. Gonzo says:

    We’ll see how he looks this year. Then we’ll all have a better idea of what’s going on with Robbie. More data should shine a better light on the situation.

    I don’t see Robbie being traded as an option.

    • Mike HC says:

      Definitely. A lot can happen in a year. It will be interesting to see if the Dodgers miss the playoffs. Do they get even crazier with spending, or will they realize handing out all this money does not guarantee success? Probably the former.

  28. trr says:

    tough to put an exact dollar amount to it, but 6 yrs/$150M that Greg mentioned seems right to me.

  29. El Johnny D says:

    I love Cano, but I would absolutely not hand out another massive contract with all the other ones we still have on the books.

    By keeping him for this season, the Yanks are saying either
    A) they’re going to repeat the same mistake and pay another guy 23 M+ per year through age 39


    B) they’re willing to lose him for a draft pick(which might end up being a 2nd rounder if team with top 10 worst record signs him, unlikely).

    I would’ve traded him this past offseason and watch as LAD inevitably signs him to some ridiculous contract.

  30. Mike HC says:

    Nice piece, Mike.

    My thoughts:

    1) I would definitely try to lock up Cano this off season, at least to see what Boras will be asking for and get any clues as to Boras’ plan. Is Boras going to wait until the last minute a la Prince Fielder unless Cano gets like 200 mil right off the bat or will he be willing to sign a very large deal, albeit not as much as maybe he hoped?

    2) I would also be willing to listen to trade offers. If the Yanks get an offer that blows them out of the water and allows them to rebuild with like 3-4 legit prospects, you have to jump on it. If it is a premium prospect and then a bunch of lesser guys, I would rather keep Cano and see what happens in the off season.

    3) As for the end game, I think a fair deal for all sides is something like 7 years 160 mil. Anything in the 8-10 year range or 200 million range is ridiculous and wouldn’t be that upset if the Yanks don’t end up matching that. Although with all the money the Yanks make, keeping Cano should almost be an at any cost type of proposition, which I’m sure Boras is counting on.

  31. parmesan says:

    One thing I think is worth mentioning about Cano is the type of hitter he is. Cano relies so totally on making contact with his ridiculous bat speed that losing even a little of that would scare me. He’s never been able to take a walk, and if he starts needing to cheat a bit in a few years it could get ugly in a hurry.

  32. Gonzo says:

    Can someone define what a troll is for me? I have no clue. I think the Yankees have a worse team than last year and will, in all likelihood, lose more games. Does that make me a troll?

    • Mike HC says:

      I try to stay away from using “troll” basically ever. But I think it is people who comment solely to get a rise out of other commenters. The term has gotten bastardized though to mean anybody who disagrees with you.

    • Manny's BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte's Fibula) says:

      I agree with everything you said.

      Some around here would label you a troll for speaking such blasphemy though I think most would at worst just label you overly pessimistic.

      • Mike HC says:

        I think the vast majority of commenters here think the team will be worse than last year. Just a matter of degrees. Personally, I have them only like 2-4 losses worse. Mike seems to be in the camp that is expecting 5+ more losses. And then there are the extremely pessimistic, possible “trolls” who have them in last and everything going haywire.

        • Manny's BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte's Fibula) says:

          I personally ignore the truly off the wall people since it’s pretty obvious who they are and responding only plays into their hands since the goal is to rile the real Yankees fans up.

          Being pessimistic, even “extremely pessimistic” and being a troll are two entirely different things IMO. Yankees fans are spoiled and that’s a good think because it means the team has been very successful. It’s only reasonable to think since the team finds itself in a precarious position over the next several years that people are going to be concerned and tend to dwell on what needs to be improved.

          • Mike HC says:

            I think calling Mike a “troll” or acting like a troll is ridiculous. He has strong opinions, which I like. He doesn’t need to give a comprehensive analysis of every opinion he has. I disagree with him as much or maybe even more than I agree with him though. No big deal to me.

            And I guess you are right that “extremely pessimistic” is not quite a troll. But I agree with Jim is Bored in that when it gets repeated every thread, ad nauseum, it gets to the point you start to wonder if it is done just to get other commenters riled up rather than them actually trying to get their opinion out there.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          I’m on your team, here. 2-4 sounds about right, and I really don’t think that’s going to put us out of the wild card race.

          I do think the incredibly pessimistic folk tend towards troll-dom, although it’s not absolute. The guys who are never happy and whine no matter what the Yankees do, yeah, I’d call them trolls.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          I’m not putting a win total or differential on them. I’m simply saying it’s going to be a tougher battle for them to match last year’s win total. Does that make sense?

    • Ted Nelson says:

      What do you think, Gonzo? I mean do you really think that is a question worth asking? Do you really think that accurately represents what anyone else thinks?

      In your estimation, is there no difference between, on the one hand, thinking they are worse and, on the other, pointing out every reason they are worse while actively ignoring the reasons they might be as good or better?

      • Gonzo says:

        I’ll put you down for an abstain.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Better than actually considering what is going on. Just create a strawman, and then refuse to engage in any discussion over your point.

          That could basically be considered trolling, by the way: no productive end possible, just making one-off, erroneous comments to get a rise.

          If you cared to actually discuss the issue at hand, what I meant was that Mike is being irrational… acting like a troll in one sense. Nothing to do with whether his views are negative or positive. He decides what he thinks about their moves immediately, and rarely offers any real analysis to question those opinions. Just points out the evidence that supports his position. If he wanted to make the blog stronger, I would suggest questioning his own opinions more. He might only strengthen his arguments in the process. Show why Garcia’s arm is toast, or Ichiro’s resurgence was a fluke, or P framing doesn’t make Stewart good, or actually calculate/estimate what ZIPs projects for the Yankees as a team instead of just mashing together their regulars. Or it might not answer anything, just leave more loose ends (but at least look at the issue from all angles). Or it might change his opinions. I come to this website for the discussion and analytical looks at different angles of the issues (and Mike does do a lot of that), not to hear Mike repeat the moves he doesn’t agree with.

          • Gonzo says:

            I mean, you didn’t answer either of my questions. I’m not sure how I should have responded. I just assumed that you wanted to get into a discussion I didn’t want to have. I avoided it. Is what you did or what I did trolling? I don’t know.

            What’s going on with you and Mike is between you two. I asked two questions that didn’t concern Mike. If you want to discuss Mike, you can do it with people that want to discuss Mike.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              So, just a totally random, off-topic comment?

              • Gonzo says:

                You can infer whatever you like. I asked two questions. You decided not to answer them. You decided to go off in a direction I refused to go.

                I don’t know what else to tell ya.

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  I didn’t infer it in the comment you responded to, I outright asked it. Now it seems you are the one refusing to answer my simple questions.

                  I did answer your second question, by the way, and indirectly answered the first as well.

                  • Gonzo says:

                    No, it was based on you calling Mike a troll. It’s something I’ve always thought about on RAB. What makes someone a troll, that is.

                    Can you clarify your questions to my questions. I would rather have a clear answer than to infer something that wasn’t your intent.

                    • Gonzo says:

                      *Clarify your answers to my questions

                    • Gonzo says:

                      1) Can someone define what a troll is for me?

                      2) I think the Yankees have a worse team than last year and will, in all likelihood, lose more games. Does that make me a troll?

                  • Gonzo says:

                    I guess a guy can’t ask a question around here without getting trolled by Ted Nelson.

                    • Steve says:

                      If you accept the first definition “I think it is people who comment solely to get a rise out of other commenters,” then Ted Nelson is absolutely a troll. He’s obviously a Yankee fan but his sole purpose in the comments is to get in long drawn out arguments.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      No Steve, that is not at all the case. You seem to only come on here to get a rise out of me, though. I have never once seen you comment under any other circumstances.

                      Gonzo, you seem to come on here purely to start fights about semantics. That’s all you do. Never actually discuss baseball.

                    • Gonzo says:

                      I dunno, I mentioned the Yankees record in my OP. I guess you are just impaired by your feelings toward me Ted.

      • Manny's BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte's Fibula) says:

        In your estimation, is there no difference between, on the one hand, thinking they are worse and, on the other, pointing out every reason they are worse while actively ignoring the reasons they might be as good or better?

        Why is there the need to itemize where they are better and where they are worse? The bottom line is that they very likely overall worse than last year. They could surprise and equal the 95 wins of a year ago or they could disappoint and win 86-87 games. Personally, assuming some players exceed expectations while others fall short, I think they’re right around a 90 win team.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          But that’s logical, and I think that’s all Ted is asking, you/gonzo/his previous existing dynamic aside.

          Assuming that literally every player gets worse, gets injured, doesn’t perform, etc, is not logical.

          • Manny's BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte's Fibula) says:

            I don’t think any logical or reasonable person would say “every” player is going to under perform, decline, get injured, etc.

            It is reasonable or logical however to look at the team as a whole and opine that the players who are more likely to decline, however small that decline may be, outnumber those who are likely to exceed expectations.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              All depends on what the expectations are. ZIPs expectations already factor decline in, arguably to an unrealistic extent. ZIPs, for example, projects Kuroda’s ERA to be about a point higher than 2012 and a half point above his career high. It expects Gardner to miss roughly half the season. I believe that the 40 WAR number expects zero contribution from A-Rod or Phelps, despite projecting Youk, Hafner, and Pettitte to miss big chunks of the season.

              • Manny's BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte's Fibula) says:

                I have no problem with ZIPs. I actually have the Yankees a game or 2 better than ZIPs to be honest.

                Good news is that the season is nearly here and we won’t have to speculate, predict, project or anything else like that in the not too distant future.

                As Yankees fans, I think we can all agree with that. Hooray!

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  No, I don’t think that you actually have them a game or two better. I think that because you and Mike are misusing their data you believe that you do.

          • Gonzo says:

            Assuming that literally every player gets worse, gets injured, doesn’t perform, etc, is not logical.

            This is the truth and I wholeheartedly agree. I would think anyone who thought that would be in the Yankees are going to be .500 club though.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          I didn’t say to itemize where they are better and worse. I said to actually analyze whether they are better or worse relative to the division.

          My point was actually to look at both sides of the arguments regarding the pieces on the team, not to ignore possible evidence opposed to ones views. You might just dismiss them after looking at the evidence, but just dismissing them without looking at them is no better than what Mike accused me of above: pretending Ichiro did make a change just to be optimistic. Why is assuming he didn’t any better than assuming he did? They are both equally wrong, in my opinion.

          Whether they are better or worse hasn’t really thoroughly been analyzed, as far as I can tell. I have been saying it over and over, but counting the aggregate 2013 ZIPs projections for regulars is not a way to project team wins. It leads to errors like projecting the Blue Jays Cs for 900 PAs this season or replacement level performance for guys ZIPs expects to miss half a season when ZIPs projects above-replacement fill-ins to exist on the roster. It’s a fun little way for fangraphs to show the rough projections for the main pieces on the team, not an actual team projection.

          Just accepting the ZIPs projections without actually questioning the efficacy of the model isn’t a whole lot better. It could, for example, fit the population as a whole well, but have serious biases that hurt or help its projections for the Yankees.

    • Barry's Gift Basket says:

      I don’t think so.

      And i agree.

    • Now Batting says:

      Trolling is saying things you don’t actually agree with just to get a rise out of people. I.e. ball breaking.

      • Gonzo says:

        Yeah, that’s kinda what I think trolling should be defined as.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          No, if you have an opinion, defend it logically, and only occasionally lash out at people who disagree with you(we’re not perfect…), you’re not a troll.

          95% of the main posters here are not trolls. I think we all know the usual suspects who are the exception to the rule.

      • Manny's BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte's Fibula) says:


        In Internet slang, a troll (pron.: /?tro?l/, /?tr?l/) is someone who posts inflammatory,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[2] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Right. That guy who posted the “POOP” thing is trolling. I don’t think someone posting something I disagree with, or something that’s a bit non-sensical, is trolling.

          Where this gets confusing here is that there’s commenters who walk a very fine like between the two.

          • Manny's BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte's Fibula) says:

            I must have missed the “POOP” thread.

            I can’t really think of too many who walk that line to be honest. The real trolls around here usually are pretty blatantly trollish.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              I think dalelama is purely trolling. I’m pretty sure about that. There’s just zero internal consistency, zero reaction or change according to what others are saying.

              Is stuart overly pessmistic, or is he trolling? There is a logical trani of thought to what he says. it’s just not mine. What about Rainbow COnnection? RISP FTW? I think they’re, um, not very bright, but trolling?

              There’s too many drive-by kind of guys to list here. They’re all trolls. Teddy has always been a superb troll.

    • WhittakerWalt says:

      I consider the real trolls to be idiots like stuart and dalelama, two closet Mets fans who literally never say anything good about the Yanks. They only EVER show up here when bad things happen, so they can gloat.
      That’s trolling.
      Calling Mike Axisa a troll is just Ted being a ridiculous drama queen.

  33. handtius says:

    I love watching Cano play. It will be said to see him go, if he does. Even if he breaks down in 3-4 years, I’ll still miss having him on the Yankees until then. It would be horrible if he becomes the next Jeter, playing elite into his late 30s (minus a few years in between). We’ll only know with the passage of time, which decision is the right one. I’m glad I don’t have to make that choice.

  34. BigBlueAL says:

    So let me get this straight, the majority of the fans here are all up in arms and panicking because the Yankees let Swisher and Martin go w/o replacing them and in general going into this season with a weaker looking team than last season yet they are all for letting Cano leave because he wants too much money?? If you think its a big deal because the Yankees let Martin go and havent replaced him you have no idea how much tougher it will be to replace one of the 5 best players in baseball if he leaves.

  35. s says:

    This is downright sad. Forget the dollars and years for a second and think about the idea that we would be losing a homegrown future HOF-er because we recklessly overspent in the free-agent market the last few offseasons. This philosophy, whether it makes financial sense or not, is not the Yankees that I know and love. Please resign Cano; they only need to be under the cap for one season.

    • s says:

      And I’m sure people will trash on this statement, but I’d rather win a championship with guys like Cano, who are lifelong Yankees, than with a collection of cheaper free-agents.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      “we recklessly overspent in the free-agent market the last few offseasons”

      This is news to all of us.

  36. Preston says:

    If we can’t afford Cano because of the 189 budget than we can’t sign him at all. Signing him to a longer deal would likely lower his AAV making his cap value more palatable not less. So the idea that we can afford to sign him to a 4-5 year deal under the 189 budget but not a 6-7 is flawed. Second the idea that the new fiscally responsible Yankees can’t afford to outspend their mistakes is also wrong. 189 million is a lot of money. And again if we are pointing to all the “albatross” contracts as proof that we can’t sign Cano long term than we can’t sign him at all. We have zero salary commitments after 2017. So the idea that we can’t sign him past 5 years because those last two years he will be just one more albatross weighing us down is flat out wrong, it’s the next five years that their will be a salary crunch (especially the next three). Beyond 2017 we have a clean slate. He would be our only contract commitment if we signed him to a deal that long and like I mentioned before signing him longer will likely bring his AAV down making it easier to manage over the next five years and beyond, not less. The question really becomes is there a better way to spend ~25 million dollars next season, and would it be more valuable to have one elite player or some flexibility over the next five years. I actually think that there is an argument that signing Cano to a 8/180 deal identical to Tex would be better for the Yankees than the 5/130 Mike floated. We would get more surplus value/flexibility in the front end, make sure a home grown star retires as a Yankee, and by 2017 who knows what the cost of a win might be. Maybe the TV deals lead salaries to continue to explode and it’s something extreme like 8-9 million per which would mean Robbie could be a very diminished player and still be worth his salary.

    • bkight13 says:

      This is the best idea so far. If we sign Cano at all, make it more years and less AAV. The idea to go more money in less years actually hurts the Yankees in the short term. If they offer 8 and $180M and he turns it down, then trade him mid-season.

      • Preston says:

        I’m not sure that I’m sold on the idea. I just think that it’s silly to say the Yankees “can’t” afford to sign him longer because they have too much money tied up in other players. Because they’d have no players tied up past the 5 years people seem willing to go.

  37. mick taylor says:

    let him walk, if he wants more than 20 million for 5 years. instead, sign utley, for 2 years to dh / partime 2nd base. or resign granderson for 50 million for 3 years to make up for bat of cano.

  38. Now Batting says:

    On a slight tangent, I think the Yankees got royally screwed with the new CBA. I have to believe the Yankees were kicking and screaming for a grandfather clause.

    • Mike HC says:

      If the harsh luxury tax penalties continue into the next CBA, or get even harsher, they should definitely include an amnesty clause like the NBA, allowing teams to cut players without it affecting their luxury tax calculation.

  39. trr says:

    To me, it really doesn’t matter if a home grown talent spends his entire career with one team (let’s see what happens next year if DJ opt out!) Remember, Petite spent 3 years in Houston, to hear some fans talk it’s like those years never happened…

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I think there’s a uniqueness, at this point, which goes along with spending your entire career in one uniform. It shouldn’t purely dictates anyone’s decision, but I’d rather not remember Jordan in a Wizards uniform or Joe Montana as a Kansas City Chief.

      It doesn’t make me love Andy any less that he was an Astro, but I don’t exactly forget it.

  40. Kevin Ocala, Fl says:

    The Yanks should aggressively, albeit, quietly, shop Cano, NOW, and see what they can get. If not enough, then he should be moved to third if they actually re-sign him, WAR be damned. He has the arm, A-Rod, if he comes back is really only a DH, if they hope to get any value for him. The Truth is, there are no acceptable scenarios. Personally, the season is not going to win a WS, the Yanks need prospects, and they have few ways of putting together a WS-type squad, given the “Hal Mandate”. Or, to quote Branch Rickey, “Better to trade a player a year early, than a year late”. Don’t bother arguing with me, or Mike Axisa, look at the whole picture, and consider “history”.

    • Manny's BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte's Fibula) says:

      I see no good reason to switch Cano to 3B this year while he’s still a very good defensive 2nd baseman. That should be down the road when he loses some range.

      As for trading him now, I think the Yankees should be doing their due diligence on ascertaining his market value and what they could get back in return from a trade.

      If they made him their best offer and he insists on becoming an FA, I wouldn’t have a problem in a trade if they can get a big return since I’d rather not sabotage the next 5-6 years to make a run this year.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

        I think the point is to move him *before* he gets damaged enough to lose the range…he’s not going to lose as much range to being old as from being a 2B.

        I would think if they got better pitching there wouldn’t be so many double plays…

        • Manny's BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte's Fibula) says:

          I watch almost every Yankees game and unless I’m missing something, I don’t see him sustaining a whole lot of “damage” playing 2B.

          He plays the vast majority of his games on grass, never dives for a ball, rarely if ever gets taken out on the DP and doesn’t even really run that hard most of the time. Someone above mentioned this fact and I agree 100% that he’s seemed to protect his body, unintentionally or otherwise.

          • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

            When he gets a broken leg in spring training on a turn you need to be banned from RAB after a week long apology tour…

  41. Manny's BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte's Fibula) says:

    Whether or not to sign Cano is one hell of a tough decision obviously.

    I think the majority of this decision comes down to whether or not the front office is truly going to be willing to significantly exceed the $189 if necessary. I can’t see Cano taking a deal less than 7-8 years so for the last couple of years, he’ll almost certainly be significantly overpaid. You can live with that if you’re willing to go up to $220-230 million payroll if necessary but if you’re firm at $189, the risk becomes much greater.

    In his favor is hit bat would play at 3B or even 1B and he certainly has the arm to play a corner in the infield.

  42. Frank says:

    Move robbie to 3rd right now and for the future or do not resign him. This will be an awful contract either way, but as a second baseman he will decline rapidly. One would hope that the organization realizes this but based off of their recent moves…I doubt it. Wouldn’t want to hurt anyones feelings….b/c that’s important! (barf)

  43. jg233 says:

    You dont let the greatest 2B in the history of the organization walk, you just dont do it.

  44. Austinmac says:

    I feel will get, provided he has a good year, eight years and $200M or more. If they don’t intend to pay that, how can they not see what they could get in a trade when the acquiring team still gets draft right protection? It seems like decision time to me.

  45. Jarrod says:

    Well, well, well, isn’t Robbie a touchy subject.

    Without doubt my favorite player but if the Yanks go more than 5-6 years with Robbie I will be dissapointed (provided the whole $189m thing still exists).

    Nobody is worth $20m+ per year, just ask Tex, let alone a 37,38,39 year old 2B.

    If I am running the Yanks I am doing one of 2 things:

    1. Extending him immediately to nothing more than 5-6yrs $100-150m; or
    2. Trading him (probably should have already done that).

    Good news for anyone who disagrees is that I don’t run the Yanks.

  46. I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

    Regardless of how this plays out, I look forward to the in depth interview Cashman gives wherein he walks us throught the whole process of having navigated 189 (or not) in the face of Cano, Granderson, etc.

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