More hot air about Robinson Cano


Who remembers following the hot stove season in the days before MLB Trade Rumors? You could read the New York papers and get tidbits here and there about free agent negotiations and trade speculation, but the information came from a limited number of sources. I remember reading the Star Ledger in my high school years, seeing just a tiny blurb here and there about the Yankees’ plans during the off-season. Only when deals appeared imminent did we get full articles.

When Trade Rumors launched in 2005, it changed the way everyone follows the off-season. Tim Dierkes and his crew (which at points included both Mike and me) have aggregated the notes from the beat writers and columnists of all 30 teams, giving us a fuller view of what’s happening. The writers have seemingly responded to this newfound national attention, working harder to provide even the smallest morsel of information. In the last few years Twitter has given rise to notes, rumors, and speculation like we’ve never before seen.

This is a long way of introducing the latest in the Robinson Cano hoopla. Over the weekend the Seattle Mariners “emerged” as a potential suitor for Cano. They’re desperate to become relevant, and Cano is, by some accounts, desperate to land a mega deal. The saga took a new twist yesterday, when we learned that Cano’s representatives met with the Mariners in Seattle and might have even made an offer. Yet it’s what came next that spurred an uproar.

Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik might have kicked off the fiasco with his comments to the press (as reported by Bob Dutton). “You have to adapt to the market. In some cases, you have to stretch more than you want to, you just have to.” He followed up by saying that he “always have felt there would be a time where we have to augment this club. I think we’re at that time.”

Those comments alone wouldn’t lead to rampant speculation, so Jason Churchill threw gasoline on the fire when he tweeted, “Just got a text from asst GM who think Seattle is about to make a ‘panic’ move…” Dave Cameron of FanGraphs fanned the flames when he said he received a similar text — which noted that the potential move could be “damaging.” Of course, given the reports of the meetings with Cano, people assumed that the Mariners were offering Cano an insane amount of money.

This morning George King took a fire extinguisher to the inferno (emphasis mine): “According to a person with knowledge of the Mariners’ involvement with the free-agent second baseman, the club’s ownership doesn’t have the stomach to pay one player $200 million across eight years even though they are doing the tango with Cano’s camp.” So perhaps the Mariners did make an offer. Chances are that if it topped the Yankees’ offer of around $170 million, it wasn’t by much.

Looking in from the outside, it is impossible to fully understand what’s happening behind the scenes. We can only piece together what we’ve heard. Clearly, it’s curious that Seattle “emerged” as a Cano suitor only after the Yankees met with Cano’s representatives last week. Obviously Cano and his people weren’t happy with the $80 million or so gap between their offers, so it makes sense that they’d try to get another team involved. Sensing desperation in Seattle, Cano’s team made a wise choice.

At this point it appears that Cano’s representatives at CAA are using Seattle in the same way they used the Mets. They’re trying to drum up interest wherever they can, in order to put the screws to the Yankees. Along the way perhaps they do elicit a bid from the Mariners that tops that of the Yankees. From what we’ve seen and heard, though, it does appear that Cano’s strongest option remains the Yankees. Perhaps the final contract will pay Cano a bit more than the roughly $170 million currently on the table ($188 million would mean an AAV $5 million higher than Ellsbury), but whatever the case, despite ridiculous odds reports, the safe bet is for Cano wearing No. 24 and batting in the Yankees’ lineup in 2014.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Fund to Contribute to This Being Financially Lucrative Enough to Joe that He Writes Full Time, Initial Charter Meeting.

    Seriously, this, this, and motherfucking this.

  2. Theo says:

    Haven’t the Mariners done enough damage to us? Do they really need to artificially inflate our FA’s?

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Yanks did about as good a job at that themselves with the Ellsbury contract.

      • Theo says:

        Boras doesn’t even have to play the mystery team game anymore. Cashman just assumes hes will get screwed and saves everyone some time.

        • TheEvilUmpire says:

          I think Cashman and Boras have formed an unholy alliance in “The Quest to Destroy Jay-Z”

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            Brian Cashman’s ringtone? “Ether.”

          • Bart says:

            Finally someone has connected the dots.

            Boras was used to show Brodie and Jay-z how it’s done, and to show Cano how a good agent takes care of his client’s best interest.

            Yankees used Boras and Boras used the Yankees and both thumbed a nose at Cano. I LOVE IT!!!

            Yankees 1 Brodie Zay-z 0

            The Mariners can’t deliver the fame, EXPOSURE, and off field marketing opportunities CANO is seeking, N.Y. can.
            He isn’t a leader, and doesn’t carry a team, people aren’t coming to see him.

  3. Darren says:

    I would be SO fucking pissed if I was a Mets fan, with their eternal bullshit of “courting” free agents and never pulling the trigger. And the Mariners? I mean, if you’re not gonna make a real deal offer ($180mm or higher), what’s the point? Do fans really care if you has “interest” in f or 10 free agents and don’t sign any? Say what you want about Cashman, Hal and the Yankees but at least when they talk about FA, they walk the fucking walk.

    To paraphrase the other Boss — “It’s midnight in New York City. Walk tall, or baby don’t walk at all.”

  4. Havok9120 says:

    Very good piece, Joe.

  5. Mikelf says:

    These “breaking” developments are, for the most part, all heat and no light. They are strategic leaks intended to influence the negotiating process and I put absolutely no credence in any of it. What happens will happen.

    Of course, that doesn’t stop me from checking MLBTR, and various NYY blogs, multiple times a day. :-/

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Oh, I’m refreshing MLBTR during meetings. It’s fun.

      Every offseason, though, you get fans who can’t take everything with a grain of salt. It’s like Groundhog Day.

      • Havok9120 says:

        “It’s fun.”

        That’s the thing for me. The offseason stuff, the leaks and pageantry around the big FAs, the rumors of who’s pursuing who…that’s part of baseball’s entertainment for me.

        This would not be true if I knew the Yanks weren’t shopping. Then I’d get fed up with it very quickly.

  6. LiterallyFigurative says:

    It seems that the blogs and rumor mill have had the opposite effect on free agency than what may have been intended.

    The stuff we hear about is smoke and mirrors. The actual wheeling and dealing still goes on in the backroom. How many of these writers had Jacoby ellsbury on the yanks? Pujold to the angels? The fielder deal? The Fister deal?

    To me, the agents and teams use the writers to get out certain messages and misdirect attention, or at least they try to. The stuff that gets reported is what the people with the most control of thr proceedings WANT you to know, to keep their names in your mouths and minds. It’s almost a form of advertising. And the fans obsess and lap it up.

  7. Kosmo says:

    So Seattle made an offer. I doubt Cano wants to spend the next 7-8 years of his career hanging around Seattle.

    • BeanTooth says:

      Seattle’s a great town. Might be baseball Siberia, but there are much worse places to hang around for 7-8 years.

      • Dropped Third says:

        Seattle might be a good place to live but the marketing opportunities and exposure on a global level are limited compared to the New York market. Cano and Mr. Jay Franking Z seem to be all about the money and fame and even if Seattle offers 25 million more then NY, he’ll make more money and fame in the big apple.

        That being said I love watching Robbie play and don’t really care how much the Yankees spend. The guy can play ball with such easy and fluency that I have never seen before in my 25 year life span. First ballot HOF and a Yankee legend should he resign here.

    • Lukaszek says:

      Seattle is a decent city. If I was a free agent, it’d be eighth on my list of places to play, after NYC, San Francisco, Oakland, LA, Boston, Miami, Chicago, and Philly.

  8. 42isNotMortal says:

    If the Yankees took in over 500 million in revenue (according to Bloomberg News, 2013), despite dropping well below the 300 mil mark in gate receipts, it seems silly to question an Ellsbury signing or even consider it an impediment to re-signing Cano.

    If the Yankees roll out a 230 mil payroll, they’d be shelling out 250 million after the LT, which is still less than half of their revenue and slightly below league average in terms of payroll re-investment.

    Maybe a 300 million+ payroll (360+ w/LT) combined with say 3 WS in 5 years would allow the outside shot of a soft salary cap to gain traction, but outside of that improbable risk, the Yanks owe their fans at least a 50 cent return on the revenue dollar.

    Between international spending limits, teams giving long term extensions before arbitration years, let alone impending free agency, I don’t see how else the Yankees can gain an advantage if not for converting $2500 premium box seats into high WAR ceiling free agents.

  9. Dr. Grenaldine says:

    Why does it seem that Red Sox players always take way less than their market rate while Yankees players always seem to want more?

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I think it’s a good story, but I don’t necessarily think it’s true.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      Yankees have more $$$ than any team in baseball.
      Why would a Yankee take a discount?
      To make the Steinbrenners richer?

      Regardless, it’s only a few Red Sox players that actually do that.
      And most of those are as extensions when they are years away from free agency, which is an activity that the Yankees have generally avoided.

    • Havok9120 says:

      Because they’re teh gritty, obvs.

    • Kvothe says:

      There’s an added premium when you force the players to adopt certain facial hair styles as part of the contract.

    • OldYanksFan says:

      Because for MANY players, playing at Fenway inflates their stats.

      Home: .318 .384 .497 .880
      Away: .286 .356 .411 .767

      The big difference? 233 (Doubles and HRs) at Home compared to 153 Away. Mighty Mouse loves the Green Monster.

      His signing wasn’t altruistic.

    • Holy Ghost says:

      I don’t know about “always” but in the case of Pedroia, the Sox resigned him before he could become a free agent. Pedroia could’ve gotten far more money in free agency.

      • Preston says:

        Right, a lot of this is self inflicted by the Yankees. Players are willing to take a discount for certainty. The Yankees don’t negotiate until the contract is up. If you make a player worry all year about being resigned and going to FA, he might as well check in with other teams and shop around.

    • UncleArgyle says:

      Because its true. The Red Sox have gone to great lengths to sell the idea that the honor of being a Red Sox is more important than an additional 10-20 million bucks. The ownership holds that line with its players and their players have responded. Pedriora gave up free agency to sign for 14 mil a year for 8 years. A huge bargain, especially considering that Cano is asking for TWICE that. Other players like Youklis, Schilling, Bill Mueller, and others all left money on the table as well because playing at Fenway was more important to them than a few extra million bucks. Players sign with Red Sox because they value playing in a big market, on a competitive historic team. Players sign with the Yankees because that’s who’s offering the most money. And honestly, it’s the Yankees own damn fault. Outside of Ichiro, when was the last player to signed with the Yankees even though they had a bigger offer on the table?

  10. OldYanksFan says:

    I don’t believe the M’s will sign Cano, but I do believe they will spend some serious money this year.

    And yes, Cano will be a Yankee…. for reasons:
    1) The Yankee FO is, uncharacteristically, playing this very well.
    2) I think the $310m and $250m-$260m were very poorly played. A turn-off for some GMs.
    3) Cano and his Dad really want Robbie to retire a Yankee.
    4) It’s the Yankees. While it’s not every player’s dream, it’s still The Place to play. And for someone from the organization who has had this much success, I can’t see Robbie really WANTING to play anywhere else.

    If the Yankees DO go higher to sign him, I hope they go 8 years, and bring down the AAV. 8/$172m. is better than 7/$168m.

  11. IBNGoonSquad says:

    incarceratedbob already reported that Cano and the Yankees have a deal in place. This site is LATE

    • TheEvilUmpire says:

      jailbitchjoey reports that Cashman has resurrected Cy Young and is on the verge of signing him to a 20-yr $600m contract. Bud Selig is challenging the legality of this contract on 2 grounds:

      1.) Nowhere in the MLB bylaws does it state that an undead zombie can be signed to a player contract, and;

      2.) It is unprecedented for a player to win an award named after himself.

      Naturally, this case will be incorperated into A-Rod’s PED suspension appeal.

    • Pinkie Pie says:

      You actually believe a word that comes out of his mouth?

  12. Jimmy says:

    Good post, Joe. Not sure if all the recent posting is just a phase or your back for good, but I’ll take it. Mike does a great job generating ideas and writing articles as frequently as he does, but its nice to get a second (and pre-approved) perspective.

  13. The sinner not the saint says:

    If Cano loved his team, he would accept 7 yrs 120 million and leave the team dollars for pitching . Unfortunately he is a spoiled brst no different than the hated Arod.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      He should play for free and think of the little man.

    • Kvothe says:

      Just like Jeter took a discount for the good of the team? Please.

    • Pinkie Pie says:

      If you had the talent that Cano has and had all of that money on the table staring you in the face, you’d be thinking differently.

    • LK says:

      If I loved the company I worked for, I’d do it for free and not check Yankee blogs during business hours. I don’t though.

    • HulkHeyman says:

      In the name of competitive balance, all players will receive a 5 million dollar yearly stipend for their services. – Bud Selig

    • 42isNotMortal says:

      I’m sure Cano is more confident in his long-term health than Pedroia was when accepting the extension. It’s a team friendly deal for sure, but still, a 5’8, 175 lber who swings out of his shoes and fields half of his ground ball chances with his belly in the dirt is inherently risky. Truthfully, I can’t remember the last time Pedroia wasn’t “gutting out” some type of hand, calf or thumb injury.

      Robbie’s smooth and irritating to outsiders style is also quite effective for self-preservation. Which when compared to Pedroia is pretty much at the opposite end of the risk spectrum.

  14. The sinner not the saint says:

    Brat not brst

  15. Adam says:

    Sox just got Mujica

  16. PunkPitch says:

    Do not be surprised to see a team like the SF Giants step in and make a sizable offer. Both the Cano camp AND the Yanks have made this an awkward tango.

  17. King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

    While I defend the idea of market-based salaries for CEO’s, inventors, owners, atheletes, etc, I do often wonder what the difference is…

    For example, if I made an additional $50,000 next year, it would have a telling impact on my family for the long term. My wife wouldn’t notice $5,000.

    If Robbie can earn $180,000,000 with the Yankees if he closed a deal with Cashman today, would his wife notice $20,000,000 more? Would that money push him over the edge to buy his own plane, and fund his children’s college accounts fully? What additional safety or joy would that money bring?

    A step further, I took a pay cut this year to give my employee a bonus. It was sizeable, but didn’t take food out of my kids’ mouths.

    Would Robbie be willing to say ‘Hey, I’ll take a slight knock, and you go sign a proven closer for two years’ or something similar? I think not, but I don’t know him.

    Again, I’m not knocking his goals or his tactics–go get that cash Robbie!–but what marginal value does this extra money bring to his life?

    • HulkHeyman says:

      The ultimate answer to your question is pride. He doesn’t want to look like the one who got shafted by Yankee brass.

      In my opinion, if he really wanted to boost his image he would take a deal with the Yanks an claim he took a deal lower than his demanded 260 million to “benefit” the team. Nothing looks better to marketers than a successful team player.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead says:

      College fund for grand kids and great grand kids. We’re talking current and future family set up for life.

      Why are we putting the burden on Cano? Why can’t the Steinbrenners fork over that extra 20 mil to get a few extra players? Why isn’t the owner the one under the microscope?

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

        Unless they’re having Duggar-level families, he’s already got that.

        Think of something else you can buy…he’s got that too.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead says:

      Even in your example, you made the sacrifice for one of your employees. They didn’t make that sacrifice for you.

  18. mustang says:

    Good job Joe! We have to stop agreeing or all this will no longer be fun. LOL

    “The Yankees came to believe the Mariners were offering eight years to Ellsbury with a willingness to go to a ninth. There had been a feeling that Ellsbury would follow that money because he is from Oregon. But he appeared the latest hitter who wanted nothing to do with that huge ballpark and dubious franchise. The Yankees wouldn’t go eight or nine years, but when they indicated to Boras they would exceed Carl Crawford’s deal – seven years at $142 million – the talks gained traction on Saturday and Sunday. This was the goal, to outdo Crawford.’

    Seems like Cano would be on a very lonely boat if went to Seattle because no one else wants to even for extra money.

    On another note great to see that the new posting system is really not going to affect the Yankees. It actually might help them by having to pay less of posting fee and making Tanaka a de facto free agent. The Yankees are always attractive because they are the Yankees and the Yankees can put up contract $$$ with the best of them.
    In the end the only way they get under 189 is if A-rod gets at le
    On another note great to see that the new posting system is really not going to affect the Yankees. It actually might help them by having to pay less of posting fee and making Tanaka a de facto free agent. The Yankees are always attractive because they are the Yankees and the Yankees can put up contract $$$ with the best of them.
    In the end the only way they get under 189 is if A-rod gets at least a year suspension Tanaka’s contract should affect that if it does then they shouldn’t get him.

  19. hmelawyer says:

    With Jay-Z in the agency picture, I am sure that Cano’s camp has to be considering media and endorsement income in the equation. Being the face of the Yankees (as Cano is likely to become following Jeter’s retirement) is going to bring a considerable difference in that type of income than just being a star player on the Mariners.

    Jeter brings down about $9M a year in endorsement income per Forbes. While Cano may have to work his way up the media ladder for a while, some of that will be offset by inflation, so let’s conservatively assume over the life of the contract he could average $6M in endorsement income (2/3 Jeter’s average). That figure is probably no more than $2-3M in Seattle. That delta of $3-4M/yr. means that over an 8 year contract Seattle would have to beat the Yankees by $24-32M for it to make financial sense for Cano.

    He needs to consider this whole situation and not let ego on his contract dollars hurt his total dollars situation.

    • LK says:

      While that’s true, he’d have to take into account that he’ll be paying higher taxes in NYC than elsewhere as well. I’m sure he’s got someone crunching all the numbers so he knows exactly, but the reality is this will come down to one of two situations – either the offers will be close and he’ll go where he prefers, or they won’t be close and he’ll go where he gets a much higher offer.

  20. Awesome post. Really good summary.

    I cringed when I thought back to the pre-MLBTR days though, Me in my college apartment, drinking a Keystone, reading through shitty message boards looking for links to stories with rumors.

  21. fin says:

    I’ve never been worried about Cano signing with the M’s. Makes no sense for either side. M’s aren’t going to tie up that much payroll in 1 player. Not to mention they have let better home grown players than Cano walk rather than pay (Johnson, Griffey, Arod).

    It makes no sense for Cano to play in that stadium for a perennial worst team in baseball candidate.

    The real fear is someone like the Nats moving in on him like Detroit did with Fielder. They reportedly have the money, just as close for his father to travel as NY and their future very bright.

  22. Anthony says:

    Enrique Rojas is reporting the Mariners have indicated to Cano they are willing to give him a 10 year, $230M-$240M contact.

    I’ve said it all along, there would be a team that would blow away the Yankees offer. He’s not taking a dollar less because it’s Seattle. Wishful thinking.

  23. fezz says:

    Sooooo saying and a miss regarding Robbie wearing number 24 in NY this season? Haha. Good really as Robbie is going on 31. The Yankees have enough guys racing to 40 making a quarter of a billion dollars to be injured, under-produce and go through drastic decline for 30mill a year. Good for Seattle thou being an extreme pitchers park Robbie may be hard pressed to approach 20 HRs playing 82 in the great american north west. Yankees should have traded cano at the deadline. If James shields is worth Wil Myers what would cano have been worth for a contender? The cardinals may have won the series with cano at second and they are deep in the minors

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