I’m sure you’ve all heard Randy Levine’s most recent remarks. A couple days ago, he told Mark Feinsand of the Daily News that Robinson Cano was not guaranteed to return next season as a Yankee if the price went too high, and then followed that up with some other remarks. Here are the quotes along with my two cents.
“Robinson Cano is a great player. … We will sit down and talk to him. Hopefully he’s a Yankee. Nobody is a re-sign at all costs, but we want him back and we feel good about negotiating something with him. But nobody is a re-sign at any cost.”
Randy makes an absolutely valid point. No one should be deemed a “re-sign at any cost” type of player (except for maybe Mike Trout at this point), even if they are a player that the team hopes to retain. Personally, I hope Cano returns, but only if the agreement is sensible for the team too. As great as he is, I don’t want to see something outrageous like ten years, $250M. No matter what, Robinson is going to get paid. You don’t have to fret about his future or that of his family.
That said, why is Randy Levine chiming in on this at all? How does this help contract discussions down the road in any way? I’m sure Brian Cashman (and by extension, ownership) has a good idea of how they value Cano relative to the rest of the league. Conversely, I’m sure Roc Nation Sports has an idea of what they’re seeking for their first major client. I don’t see how Levine fits into the mix. Let the conversations happen before publicizing opinions please.
“The fact of the matter is, the reason this season has taken some bumps is because we have had an incredible amount of injuries … When our players are together and they’re playing, which has been very rare, the team has been very successful. Since the All-Star Game, we have had one of the best records in Major League Baseball.”
The injuries are certainly a major factor in this year’s struggles. That said, that’s not the only reason this team has experienced some “bumps.” Many of the woes this team has experienced were self-inflicted after a very underwhelming off season and trade deadline. Also, in the spirit of fact-checking outrageous claims, the Yankees are 26-24 since the All Star Break and decidedly not one of the best teams in Major League Baseball.
“Take a look at this year; payroll has never translated into winning. What translates into winning is great talent … If you look at this year, some great stories; the Oakland A’s, Pittsburgh Pirates, low payroll teams right in there, possible championship caliber teams. We are taking a look at getting down to 189 (million), which has got tremendous financial incentives under the new collective bargaining agreement. But as Hal Steinbrenner has consistently said and as I have said, it has to be consistent with maintaining a championship team.
At 189, I think we would have the second-highest payroll in baseball. That is a lot of money. We will see what happens at the end of the year. The bottom line is the philosophy of this organization is do whatever it can to win the World Series. That’s what the Boss instituted years ago, and nothing has changed.”
See this is where the Yankees go all Billy Beane and try to reinvent the game using pennies on the dollar. Look, if the team wants to maximize profits, that’s absolutely fine. Frankly it’s the franchise’s prerogative. We as fans may not appreciate that line of reasoning, but we can at least comprehend it. Baseball is a business, and the Yankees are looking to increase profit. Don’t feed us crap on top of it though. Make the moves and just call it for what it is.
$189M is still a very respectable payroll, and it definitely should be competitive with the rest of the league. Of course, it would have been ideal if the team had phased out some of their uglier contracts a bit more smoothly and tried to sign players to smarter deals heading forward — in other words, gradually reach that $189M objective. Instead, the team implemented an untimely austerity budget during a period when every other team in baseball seems to be upping its spending.
Also, regarding the Oakland A’s and Pittsburgh Pirates, they are certainly feel good stories (and low budget teams). Of course, I don’t think the folks in Boston, Los Angeles, Texas, or St. Louis are feeling all that lousy about themselves at the moment either.