Using ZiPS to calculate Robinson Cano’s next contract

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Update: Third opinion confirms Grade I quad strain for A-Rod

Dustin Pedroia just signed a long-term extension with the Red Sox, a contract that really doesn’t impact Robinson Cano for reasons I outlined yesterday. In an Insider-only piece at ESPN, Dan Syzmborski used his ZiPS system to put a dollar amount on Robbie’s future worth using projections. Obviously this shouldn’t be taken as gospel; it’s for fun more than anything.

The good news is that the system doesn’t see Cano dropping below 4 WAR until 2018 and under 2 WAR until 2021, mostly because his skillset is so wide — he hits for average, hits for power, and plays defense. Lots of carrying skills there. ZiPS pegs Robbie for a total of 22 WAR over the next eight years, which is worth $181M in free agent dollars. Eight years and $181M is essentially Mark Teixeira‘s contract and seems completely plausible. I wonder if Cano would want that bumped up $190M to exceed Derek Jeter‘s guarantee back in the day, making it the second richest deal in franchise history.

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Update: Third opinion confirms Grade I quad strain for A-Rod
  • Gonzo

    Would the Dodgers just be dicks about it and go $200-$220mm?

    • stuart a

      hope they do and he jumps ship. this mega deals for over 30 guys do not make sense…

      6 years max, if that is unfair robinson can leave and bring his hustle plays to his new team..

      • LarryM Fl

        I agree 6years max. The money at 25 million per yr.

      • Count Zero

        Agreed. And seeing as that is unlikely, I would be shopping him right now.

  • Dalek Jeter

    I don’t like the 8 years, but I’ll sign up for that AAV at 6 or 7 in a heartbeat.

    • trr


  • EndlessJose

    If Cano was under 30 years old than okay but second basemen don’t age well.

    • Cool Lester Smooth

      Name a 2B with Cano’s build and skillset that didn’t age well.

  • Duh Injuries

    Robinson Cano is not worth $190M let alone $181M, $8M less than what Jeter got from the Yanks for 2001-11. He only looks like he’s worth that because the offense around him is a pile of shit compared to him.

    The Yanks should not re-sign Cano through age 39 – see Alex Rodriguez since 2011, Mark Teixiera since 2010 (solid 2010-11 but declining, and 2013 C.C. Sabathia. Also see Ryan Braun, Manny Ramirez, Carl Crawford, Mike Hampton, Albert Pujols, Kevin Brown, Zach Grienke (active and retired players with disastrous nine-figure contracts in all kinds of ways.) Do not be surprised if Boston rues extending Pedroia.

    Jeter’s freakishly great production has created this false sense of what guys including Cano can do in their later years. Jeter had a fantastic, otherworldly age 35 and 38 seasons, so Cano should have a season or two like that age 35 on right? Not necessarily written in stone and remember Jeter’s 2010. Any other player would’ve went downhill after that, but Jeter is not any other player, he’s special. Cano is not special. He’s very good. He’s Bernie Williams in the infield – very good but not great. He’s even like Bernie in that he can’t steal bases or hit for homerun king contender power. Cano hasn’t even posted at least 30 HR and 100 RBI in a season let alone driven in 100 runs in a season period, and he is periously close to not reaching those numbers considering the offense isn’t getting on base enough for him to drive in 100 or more runs. Bernie on the other hand batted .328 or better four times, drove in 100 or more runs five times, was 3 RBI shy of having 100 RBI one season, had a season of at least 30 HR and 100 RBI (2000) and was a homer shy of posting at least 30 and 100 (1996.) He also has three more World Series rings than Cano and he didn’t even break $100M or get seven years after his age 29 season.

    How long before teams decide to pitch around Cano. Texas should’ve pitched around him last night as no way do you give Cano a chance to drive in a run with firstbase open with this sorry Yankees offense and the neverwas “protecting” Cano in Overbay.

    Look at Cano in the ninth inning last night. He jogged to first base with the team down only 3-1. That’s all you need to know about Cano beyond his numbers. He is not a leader. He is not a player who can or will carry a team. He is second-tier, follower Yankee all the way, and you don’t give a guy like that close to 200M.

    If the Yanks lock up Cano for seven or eight years, they will regret it like they regret locking up Teixiera for eight years and Teixiera was a better all-around player than Cano before he signed with the Yanks.

    Six years and $142,000,004 how I pay it out below would give Cano the second-biggest contract for a homegrown Yankee, security for over a half a decade and through age 37, and highest paid Yankee 2014-17 status. He would be the only current Yankee still a Yankee after 2017 assuming the Yanks keep A-Rod on the payroll through 2017 (unlikely.) If that isn’t “respect” to him he can sign with the Dodgers or whatever NL team as he isn’t signing with Boston since they just extended Pedroia (who at least won an ALMVP award unlike Cano) and no one else in the AL has the money for Cano. If Cano signs elsewhere it’ll be with an NL team – fine. Out of the league, see you in up to six regular season games in two of six years, maybe (doubtfully) the World Series.

    Six years like this:

    2014: $25,000,001 so he’s the highest paid Yankee
    2015: $23,000,001 so he’s the highest paid Yankee
    2016: $23,000,001 so he’s the highest paid Yankee
    2017: $25,000,001 so he’s the highest paid Yankee
    2018: $23M so he’s most likely the highest paid Yankee
    2019: $23M so he’s most likely the highest paid Yankee

    $142,000,004 total

    There could be a clause which stipulates that he is to have the highest salary in 2018-19 by a dollar e.g. the Yanks sign someone at $24M a year beginning 2018, Cano makes $24,000,001 for 2018 and the same for 2019, a $1,000,001 raise each year, so he remains the highest paid Yankee.

    • Guns

      “Robinson Cano is not worth $190M let alone $181M, $8M less than what Jeter got from the Yanks for 2001-11. He only looks like he’s worth that because the offense around him is a pile of shit compared to him.”

      What about his production over the previous four years when the Yankees lineup certainly wasn’t a pile of shit? The lineup this year has nothing to do with the quality of player Cano is. He’s an outstanding player.

      • jjyank

        Yes. Thank you. Though trying to get a point through to DI is like smashing your head into a brick wall.

    • Mr. Roth

      Too long, did not read.

    • Get Phelps Up

      Those extra 4 dollars will make all the difference.

    • jjyank

      What did I tell you? DI post, crazy and unrealistic ideas. It’s a law, like water or dinosaurs.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I have no clue if I agree or not yet, but congratulations on the most coherent thing you’ve ever written on here.

    • Required Name

      “Cano hasn’t even posted at least 30 HR and 100 RBI in a season let alone driven in 100 runs in a season period”

      2010: 109 RBI
      2011: 118 RBI

      so one season removed = never did it?

  • Duh Injuries

    *How long before teams pitch around Cano MORE after seeing him get a hit with firstbase open last night?

  • Steve

    Trade Cano and get quality ball players, let someone else deal with this loafer.

    • jjyank

      Are you implying that Cano is not a quality ball player then? Because if so…you’re insane.

  • Guns

    I’d sign up for at least 4 WAR until 2018 in a heartbeat.

  • jjyank

    I’d sign up for 8/180. I know a lot of people wouldn’t, but I wouldn’t think too hard about it. I hear an awful lot about how the Yankees shouldn’t hand out mega deals anymore from the same people that bitch about the Yankees not spending enough money.

    Spend the money. Retain the homegrown star. It’s fun to think about trading Cano for multiple future superstars, but it doesn’t work like that. Think the Indians are happy with giving up Sabathia for Matt LaPorta? Just the first example that comes to mind for whatever reason, but there are tons of other examples. There’s a pretty slim chance that such a move would end up working out like Texas trading Teixeira.

    • trr

      I’d love 6-7 years of that, but this may be the deal.
      Personally, if he insists on $200 – $220, I’d say adios.

      • jjyank

        We’d all love less than 8 years. But if that’s the price, I pay it.

        Honestly, I can’t imagine Cano would have bothered switching agents if he didn’t prefer New York. Why dump Boras if you’re going to insist on the single highest deal? Don’t get me wrong, Cano already took one hometown discount in his extension. He’s not going to do it again, he’s gonna get PAID. But I do believe that he’d take $180 mil from New York over $200 mil from the Dodgers. I have no basis for this, but that’s my feeling on the situation. $180 mil isn’t a discount, even if another team offers more.

    • Cool Lester Smooth

      I wouldn’t think twice about giving him 8/180.

      Also, another example is the absolute hall the Marlins got for Cabrera, including two Top Ten prospects from the previous season.

      After all, who wouldn’t want Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller?

      They combined to produce 4.2 whole WAR for the Marlins. Cabrera produced 7.8 in the two years the Tigers bought.

  • Greg

    Future Dodger.

  • Bo Knows

    Man oh man, the dumbass is really spreading around here; to all the RAB members who haven’t caught that vile disease……RUN!!

  • Get Phelps Up

    Probably in the minority here, but I would give him that. The Yankees need him, both because he’s a great player and it’s always nice to have a homegrown star anchoring the lineup, and by the time he theoretically will start declining will be when the ARod and Tex contracts have already expired. If his worst season is really 2 WAR at age 37, I can’t really complain about that.

    • jjyank

      Agreed 100%. Cano’s victory lap(s) would likely occur when the other bad contracts are off the books. I’d sign him to 8/180 without thinking twice.

    • Get Phelps Up

      *age 38 in 2021.

  • CONservative governMENt

    Does anyone know how ZIPS projected the Pujols contract? Or the Teixeira contract? Or the Adrian Gonzalez contract?

    An 8-year deal would tell me the Yankees haven’t learned some important lessons.

    • FIPster Doofus

      ZIPs projected Pujols to be worth $203 million over 10 years (36.3 WAR). It predicted 7 WAR last season (he ended up at 3.7) and 6.2 this year (he’s at 0.6 through 97 games). So, yeah…

  • Robinson Tilapia


  • Pasta Stumbling Sojo

    This is both slightly off-topic and kind of ridiculous, but here’s an interesting comparison. If A-rod gets banned for life after this year, his latest contract will have been:

    6 years
    21.3 WAR
    $183 million

  • Cuso

    I’d be fine with 8/$180M. I’d take that in a heartbeat, but it seems clear that Cano will not.

  • Nuke Guy (Knoxvillain)

    Isn’t A-Rod’s contract the richest deal in Yankees history? I’m not sure if I’m reading that right though. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cano get 7-8 years at 23 million a year.

  • Bubba

    Say no to Cano. I think the world of Robbie but I’d rather say goodbye 2 or 3 years too early than 4 or 5 too late. Add in the fact that those early years could be on a declining team and I think you have your answer.

  • Conor in China

    With Cano, I wouldn’t worry to much about the years, but really just the total value of the contract. If you think he’s going to be worth 180 million, fine, but make sure it’s a ten year deal so that you don’t have to negotiate with a Hall of Famer at age 38. A contract structured similar to: 2014: 30 mil, 2015 & 2016: 25 mil, 2017: 20 mil, 2018, 2019, 2020& 2021: 15 mil and 2022&2023: 10 mil would work as well as any of these mega contracts work. Otherwise at 38, the Yankees might be signing Cano to a 60 million gold watch contract they know will fail.

  • ruralbob

    Wasn’t there something posted here a few months ago about how second basemen fall off rather quickly (I think Roberto Alomar was one of the examples)? If I am recalling that correctly and if it is true, isn’t a long term contract for Cano (and Boston’s for Pedroia) a bad idea? (Or am I just imagining that I read that?)

    • Cool Lester Smooth

      Dave Cameron wrote an article on Fangraphs, but it made comparisons based on raw wRC+, not on how that wRC+ was produced, so he was being compared to Joe Morgan, Rod Carew and Dick McAuliffe, who had completely different skill-sets than Cano.

      The issue with projecting Cano is that his body type and skillset are both very atypical for a 2B, Chase Utley is the only guy on Cameron’s list within 25 pounds of Cano, and that he’s got a cannon which could theoretically allow him to slide over to 3B if his range declines.

      Utley is probably the best comparison, and he’s continued to be elite when healthy. As long as Cano doesn’t develop a degenerative knee condition, he should be fine.

  • bkight13

    I think Pedroia’s deal has to set the table. I would go 6-7 years at 18m. Anything more is too much and too long. Without PEDs and amphetamines the game is getting younger.