Mystique, aura and Robinson Cano

The difficulty of trading Brett Gardner
2013 Winter Meetings Day One Open Thread
(Mike Ehrmann/Getty)
(Mike Ehrmann/Getty)

A big part of being a Yankee fan is buying, hook, line and sinker, into the concept of mystique and aura, so mocked by Curt Schilling during the 2001 World Series. We expect dramatic victories, World Series titles and every player to thank the good Lord for making him a Yankee. We expect the Yanks to pay what it takes to retain their players, and we expect those players to embrace their time with the Yankees and stay in the Bronx to earn their spots in Monument Park and, for some, a plaque in Cooperstown. So what happens when they leave?

When Robinson Cano jetted for Seattle, of all places, it was more than a little bit of a shock to fans of the Bombers. Here was a player in his prime with multiple All-Star appearances, 1649 hits, 204 home runs, and a .309/.355/.504 slash line, all at the ripe old age of 31. The Yanks offered him seven years and were willing to pay him $25 million a year with an annual salary higher than everyone but A-Rod‘s. But it wasn’t enough, and now Robbie is Seattle’s, and Seattle’s problems are Robbie’s.

As the reactions from Robbie’s departures have come in, we’ve heard about disputes with Joe Girardi over lineup philosophy, and now, CC Sabathia has joined the fray with comments that stick to the heart of the Yankee legend. In comments to this weekend, CC spoke about the power of the pinstripes. “Just a player like that, putting on the pinstripes, and being able to play your whole career in New York means something – to me, obviously. It didn’t mean that much to him,” CC said. “It’s a difficult choice being a free agent. And he made a tough choice. I know he’s happy with his decision, and his family’s happy. So that’s good.”

Over the years, plenty of Yankee legends have had the opportunity to leave, and most didn’t. They earned their dollars because George Steinbrenner was willing to pay and because they wanted to stay. Derek Jeter hasn’t put himself into a bidding war, and Jorge Posada stuck around. Bernie Williams and Mariano Rivera, to differing degrees, both nearly left the Bronx but backed away from Boston at the last minute. Andy Pettitte left only to return while Reggie Jackson left never to return. Some players have walked away to avoid donning another uniform when their tenures were over, by their choice or the Yanks’, but I can’t think of someone else who walked away mid-career for another team who outbid the Yanks.

For Robbie, the choice was purely dominated by dollars, and I won’t begrudge him that. While the Yanks were willing to give him more per year, they didn’t want to give a middle infielder entering his age 31 season a ten-year commitment. Cano, meanwhile, figured that the guaranteed money today — the $65 million difference — is something he wouldn’t make up at the end of the seven-year deal the Yanks offered him. He didn’t want to gamble against his own age-related decline, and in today’s world where baseball teams are flush with cash, that’s certainly his prerogative and a fine choice.

But where it hurts is with that mystique and aura. It’s something fans buy into far more deeply than many players do, and it’s a stark reminder of the business of the game when a fan favorite and pinstripe native leaves. Maybe Cano didn’t think the Yanks during his career would ever be more than Derek’s team. Maybe Cano saw ten years of executive office upheaval, various team-building approaches and just one World Series win and simply decided there was nothing particularly compelling keeping him around that didn’t have a lofty price tag. Maybe we all overrate mystique and aura anyway. It hooks the fans, but what does it mean to the players anyway?

Without Robbie, Yankee life will go on. Brian Cashman says he’s disappointed, but he’s not $65 million worth of disappointed. The post-Robbie era will feature a Yankee team with a new look and a new approach. For nine years, Cano was the next great Yankee bound for Monument Park, and now he’s just another guy on the hapless Mariners. It may not feel good now, but it’s all part of the game, mystique, aura and free agency.

The difficulty of trading Brett Gardner
2013 Winter Meetings Day One Open Thread
  • Need Pitching & Hitting

    Wasn’t the Mystique and Aura thing from the 2001 WS?

    • Benjamin Kabak

      Yes. It’s been corrected. The reference was erroneously changed in the editing process.

      • Rick

        I blame Mike.

  • JC in NC

    There is no way Cano can turn down that kind of money from Seattle. As a fan I will hate to see him wearing a Mariners uniform, but MLB contracts are guaranteed and you just don’t turn down $65 million extra dollars just so you can say you were a “Yankee for life”. Athletes have such a limited window to earn their income that needs to support them for the rest of their lives, he went to the highest bidder because that is the smart move to make.

    • william wipperdink

      are you kidding me with that limited windows for income horse manure.
      most Americans will not make a million dollars in their entire lifetime.
      so how can he possibly need more than $175 million in his lifetime
      does he need a dozen yachts ???????????????

      I call it DISGUSTING GREED


      • qwerty

        I love it when someone else tells you how you to spend your money. When you begin to live a certain lifestyle that extra 65 million could mean the difference. Curt Schilling is bankrupt and he made 106 million dollars throughout his career. God help the multimillionaire who goes from owning mansions, fast cars, expensive women, and yachts to living in a small apartment, driving a honda and nothing in the bank.

        • william wipperdink

          schilling lost a ton of money on his game company
          I love it when people have absurd opinions like yours

          • qwerty

            What difference does it make how he lost it? The point is he lost it, and it didn’t matter how much money he had. I love it when people follow up one absurd opinion with another one, without ever proving their point.

            • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

              They love moving the goalposts, they do.

          • Nick Social

            For realz, Qwerty.

            Cano doesn’t even HAVE a game company.

            No way he needs Seattle’s money.

      • Jarrod

        So if Robbie “settles” for $175m instead of $240m, do you think that the other $65m goes to families on the poverty line to help them live? Not a chance in the world! Wake up dreamer!!

      • Rick

        Wow, this is just silly. Maybe he has plans to take care of his family for generations and all of their lives? Yea, that greedy bastard. How dare he take the most money offered to him.

        And what’s with this live simply so others can simply live bullshit? I didn’t realize that Cano taking an extra $65M that was offered to him will inhibit other people from living.

        Lay off the crazy pills, Wimperdink.

        • Jarrod


      • Sweet Dick Willie

        This is just wrong on so many levels.

        First, most college educated Americans will earn significantly more than a million dollars during their working lifetime.

        Second, what does need have to do with anything? Most Americans have much more than they need.

        Do you really need a smartphone? A computer? Anything more than the most basic automobile? Dinner out? Yankees tickets?

        Our needs are minimal; if we only purchased our needs, most of us would be millionaires by virtue of our savings.

        Third, the money is there. If Cano didn’t take it, it would remain with ownership. Is that better?

      • Stan the Man

        If you are this disgusted by greed than you should stop watching professional sports.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner (the rarely spoken-of sibling)

      It was really going to be hard to scrape by on $25 million for the next seven years. I mean, I don’t know WHAT I’d do. I’d have to lay off about seven manservants.

      • TWTR

        I heard some sports radio guy this weekend compare it to a person who makes 50k jumping at making 80k. No really…

        • Jorge Steinbrenner (the rarely spoken-of sibling)

          25 million dollars = 500 guys making 50 grand a year.

          That is such a sad statement. I hate humanity more for hearing that.

          • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?


          • MannyGeee

            but only 250 guys making 100k. Not that his affects any part of the conversation.

          • OldYanksFan

            It’s really not that much.
            Spreading it out over a 52 week year…
            it’s ONLY $480,000/week.

          • Jarrod

            The 500 guys making 50 grand a year don’t generate millions for their company – in this case MLB. Silly comparisons

            • RetroRob

              Correct. Not only is this entertainment, but the players are the product that drives the revenue. I make a pretty good living, but I am not my company’s product, and I do not make $25M, let alone $240M.

      • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

        Your manservants are well paid.

    • mitch

      I don’t blame him for turning down the money, but there are legitimate reasons why he could have. His non-contract income would have been much greater in NY….probably not $65mil, but definitely significant. He’d also have a lifetime of post playing career NYY “jobs” available. There’s definitely more than symbolic value associated with being a “True Yankee”

      • qwerty

        I think that’s all a bunch of bs. What huge endorsement deals has anyone honestly offered Cano since he’s been a yankee?

        • Stan the Man

          With Jay Z who is in the entertainment business Cano is going to get endorsements. I have seen the point being made that guys like Randy Johnson, Ichiro, AROD, and Jr all did fine on endorsements while playing in Seattle. Matter of fact you could make the argument AROD was better off in the smaller markets, since his endorsements have dried since coming to NY.

      • OldYanksFan

        He may have even made a few Mil on a contract for his last 3 years. It’s a lot of money. But after he’s retired, and when he’s older, looking back, mystique and aura may have more value than he thought.

        • qwerty

          He’ll probably all those things anyway.

      • Rick

        Is it enough to make up for the no income tax in Washington?

        • qwerty

          is there really no income tax in WA? Cano made the right choice.

        • anon_coward

          he still has to pay income tax to every state he plays in. read it in the WSJ years ago. states see athletes as a huge money pot

    • MannyGeee

      “…limited window to earn their income…”

      Yeah, because at the end of his contract, his appendages become sole property of the league. They bronze them and put them in Cooperstown next to the bloody sock and George Brett’s Pine Tar bat.

      HIS POST BASEBALL CAREER EARNINGS will likely trump the peak earnings of anyone here. So thats bullshit

      • Jorge Steinbrenner (the rarely spoken-of sibling)

        I’d have a few bucks leftover. I think.

      • Rick

        How do you know he will have any post baseball career earnings? Allen Iverson is doing real well for himself.

    • pat

      Robinson Cano is literally one of the very best people in the world at his chosen profession. Do we begrudge the top doctors and lawyers for making more money than the average man? Absolutely not.

      • budseligblows

        a most ridiculous analogy if there ever were one.

        • LK

          You know the best way to fight this horrible injustice of highly paid baseball players? Stop spending your time/money on baseball. Until then, you’re part of the “problem” and your complaining is hypocritical.

          • Rick

            Ding, ding ding.

      • william wipperdink

        what an absurd opinion

    • D

      Actually Cano could’ve turned down an extra $65M, it’s called thinking there’s more to life than making top dollar which there is. He could’ve taken the $175M the Yankees offered him (the second biggest contract for a homegrown Yankee years and money wise to Jeter’s contract and only $14M less than what Jeter took for three more years, moreover $22.7M more than what Miguel Cabrera took from Detroit for one more year) then made $65M in endorsements and other business ventures because he’d be a Yankee if he, Jay Z, and Roc Nation truly think he is a Michael Jordan-like, star beyond the game star and BOOM! $240M right there. He isn’t making JACK in endorsement money as a Seattle Mariner because hasbeen Ichiro is STILL a bigger star than he is. If the Yanks traded Ichiro back to Seattle, he’d be The Man besides King Felix, not Cano, no matter what the writers, bloggers, and fanboys on here and Yankees Lohud think.

      Yo Cano take 7 years and $175M then have Jay Z secure you a 7 year $35M endorsement from Nike/Reebok/Adidas/Converse/Puma you’d never get as a Seattle Mariner and boom – that’s $210M total right there. Step outside the box and rack up another $5M a year in endorsements of health foods and drinks and you’ve made $245M total. You have job security (7 years) and are guaranteed to be a 16-year career-long Yankee with a chance to be a 17-20 year career-long Yankee if you play 1-4 more years. Have just five years over the next seven like any year you’ve had save 2008 with another World Series ring or two and you are at least a retired number Yankee if not that and a Hall Of Famer alongside secondbasemen Joe Morgan, Ryne Sandberg, Roberto Alomar Jr., Rod Carew, and Bill Mazerowski.

      But nah, you took the easy money, the easy way out, the desperate fool’s money. A 10 (the Yankees) and a 5 (the Mariners) asked you out and you chose the 5. “10 and 240 yo” might’ve well as been your agent’s email to the Mariners and the Mariners said “bet” in so many words no matter what you said. You acted like guy who thinks he’s a 10 thus coming home with at least a 9, but settles for a 5, only you can’t just dump the 5 for a 6 or better. Simp. No one is trading for your remaining nine or less years if you’re even just good and/or you woke up one day and said “What did I do?!! What did I get myself into?!! Gemmeouttaheah!!!” which I hope happens to you, sucker.

      Cano will look back with regret. He will see himself as a guy who only cared about the money just like he sees himself now, because you don’t take $240M from the shitass save Felix Hernandez and Kyle Seager Seattle Mariners for anything but the money, and who knows if Seager will remain a Mariner when his service time is up after 2017? Will Seager hit as well as he has hit so far 2014-16? He better because he’s Cano’s protection now and if (Seager) doesn’t hit Cano will be a multiple times league and sometimes MLB league leader in intentional walks which will artificially inflate Cano’s BA and OBP provided Cano still hits .300+ a year. Cano may be a perennial top five IBB guy no matter what Seager does. Who the FUCK is in that organization who is anywhere close to being as good as Cano besides Seager? No one. And I got news for Mariners fans: King Felix wanted and got his job security and payday, but that’s no guarantee he will always be as good as he’s been or want to be a Mariner for the entire contract. He’s 32-33 years old in the final two years of his contract, 34 with the team option so he has only four more years of prime age left. He could still be ace-like at age 32-34 of course but he has alot of miles on the odometer (innings pitched) already through age 27 plus. He could be just good next year then worse in 2015 and then what? Did anyone think two-time A.L. Cy Young Award winner Johann Santana would break down like he did to the tune of missing two of his last three seasons after his age 31 season? Did any of us think Sabathia would suddenly look old like he did this year so fast? I didn’t, none of us did. It could happen to Hernandez, too, and it better not for Seattle’s sake. They better pray he never wants out and I doubt they tell him “too bad, you’re not going anywhere”.

      He had a chance to build his legacy with the Yankees and blew it. You all would take $240M over $175M? Well, I wouldn’t have. I’d have taken $175M and consider myself blessed. Blessed to be a sixteen-year career-long Yankee and the successor to The Core Four who could be the only star Yankee to win a World Series with AND without The Core Four, the captain after Jeter. Now he’s a rich big fish in a small shallow pond everyone pisses in (save on days King Felix pitches LOL.) Enjoy that extra $65M you didn’t think yo were good enough to get in endorsements, bitch.

      It doesn’t matter anymore. On paper the Yankees have upgraded at every position save secondbase but that’s fine, you can’t have a great hitter in every slot of the lineup and the 2013 Yankees somehow managed to win 85 games with Lyle Overbay being second in RBI. All those upgrades will make up for the downgrade at 2B. Kelly Johnson is perfectly capable of posting his career slashline, 15-20 HR, and 60-75 RBI and while that’s nowhere close to what Cano has posted in all his years as a Yankee save 2008, that’s just fine, actually great for a 32-year old #8 hitter making only $3M. Gimme his 2013 (16 HR 52 RBI) and I’m happy – he might post only 6 HR and 30 RBI less than what Cano posts for the 2014 Mariners who have a weak 8 through 2 if Cano is the #3 hitter.

      • Rick

        Day off of work to write this masterpiece, I presume?

        BTW, Ken Griffey Jr. was really hurting for endorsements while he was out in Seattle, wasn’t he? If he only he had a video game made after him that I could go play right now….

      • Kiko Jones

        A tad harsh, but I’m with you, D.
        Let’s all move on now.

      • Stan the Man

        There isn’t one person in the core four that would ever turn that contract offer. Derek Jeter has never received a contract offer for more than what he has received from the Yanks, Pettitte literally left the team, so what does that say about him? The Yanks had a great homegrown talent that they rated only slightly higher than Jacoby Ellsbury! Cano is a great player and I wish he would have stayed, but once the Yanks made the commitment to Ellsbury Cano knew the Yanks didn’t really want him and that is on the front office not Cano.

      • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

        Highly entertaining. One thing – I believe he could’ve gotten 8/200 with the. Yanks, making your rant that much more rantful.

    • dalelama

      It is much more than $65M because Washington and Seattle don’t have an income tax which means you can add about another $20M on top of the $65M. $85M buys mucho mystique.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        Go crawl back into your hole.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner (the rarely spoken-of sibling)

    CC’s words warmed my heart. There’s a man who gets the uniform he’s wearing. There’s a man who had the opportunity to squeeze every possible dime out of this team, at what we all still thought was his prime, and settled for an extra guaranteed year. That’s a guy who gets what it means to put on that uniform, whether the farm system is good or not, whether the ticket prices are high or low, and whether Derek Jeter or Luiz Cruz is standing behind him.

    I don’t hold the Yankees completely blameless in Robbie’s leaving, but I think his decision still says a ton about what he values most. Well, he’s got his millions upon millions upon millions now. I hope they’re all he expected them to be.

    The only constant in life is change. It’s time to figure this all out again moving forward. It looks like they’re on their way.

    • SDB

      Agreed on CC. Felt the same way when I saw Beltran left a few million on the table to become a Yankee, instead of going elsewhere. I wish both all the success possible in pinstripes.

    • LK

      CC’s new deal also has a option that vests as long as he doesn’t have a shoulder injury. It’s almost a guaranteed year as he could still collect his money for that year even if he’s out the whole time with Tommy John. So, his new contract was essentially a 5-year extension at the highest salary ever for a pitcher.

      It’s great to hear CC make those comments, but ultimately they don’t mean very much to me. He didn’t seem to be so enamored with the idea of being a Yankee when Cashman offered him the largest pitching contract in history in 2008 and he didn’t immediately accept. If the Mariners had offered a 10-year deal back then I think we all know where CC would be pitching now.

      (None of this is meant as a knock on CC or Robbie; almost every last one of us would’ve done the same thing if we were in their shoes whether we want to admit it ourselves or not.)

      • Mr. Roth

        CC was talking about Cano having the opportunity to be a Yankee for his old career. He wasn’t talking about himself. CC never had that chance.

        • LK

          I understand. CC is implying that it would’ve mattered to him in a way that it wouldn’t have to Robbie. I’m skeptical of that, in part because CC has always seemed content to chase top dollar when he’s been given his chances at FA.

      • Stan the Man

        He also was on the verge on opting out before getting an even bigger pay day and after stealing money from the Yanks last year he should just keep his fat ass shut the rest of the off-season and pitch like the guy who is getting $25+ mill a year.

  • Kiko Jones

    For nine years, Cano was the next great Yankee bound for Monument Park, and now he’s just another guy on the hapless Mariners.

    Cano was my favorite active Yankee after Mo and I appreciate all he did for the team, but that quote encapsulates how I feel. Or rather how I’m willing myself to feel about his departure. He’s gone—he’s not a factor here anymore, in so far as his production or lack thereof, so I don’t want to hear about him anymore. I’d rather do this than go the Red Sox route and throw him under the bus, so…

    Great piece, Ben.

    • Mike HC

      That was definitely a great line.

  • turk

    … the long run, the yanks are better off with him gone…he wants to be paid 1st…if the team contends, that’s cool, but his number #1 priority…is to get paid….that’s fine, but it’s not in the best interests of the yankees…

    • Stan the Man

      So is it in the Yanks best interest to overpay for Ellsbury, Beltran, Kuroda, and McCann? I don’t see these guys taking pay cuts to join the pinstripes. Maybe it isn’t in the Yanks best interest to sign a guy for 10 yrs, but overpaying for players is the norm and not many players are going to take less, so losing your best player is never in a teams best interest.

  • DirtyWater

    Mystique and Aura are currently struggling on set back years in AA with the rest of the Yankee hype

  • TWTR

    That’s why I have to begrudgingly give players like Ortiz and Pedroia credit. They could have tested free agency in their respective primes and likely have made more, but they decided to stay where they were, probably for less.

    I wish Cano did the same, but I understand why he didn’t. His values are different.

    • RobA

      I guarantee neither PEDs or Ortiz would have left $65 million on the table.

      And I imagine Cano would have taken less money as well. $5, maybe $10 million. But not $65 million. No ballplayer in the game would take that much less.

      • TWTR

        The amount isn’t the point. Pedrois just opted against even testing the market when he almost certainly would have made a lot more if he did.

        • RobA

          The amount is precisely the point. Pedroia would not have resigned with Boston if he thought he could get $65 million more on the free market.

          • TWTR

            Do you really think that he didn’t know he would a ton more if he waited?

          • mitch

            Plus waiting for free agency was much riskier for Pedroia considering his injury history. It made more sense for him to take the guaranteed money.

            • TWTR

              Since 2008, he has played at least 140 games in every season but one.

          • Mr. Roth

            He could have made a ton more than he did in free agency. Tens of millions more, easily.

            • Stan the Man

              Is that really a fact? Pedoria is more injury prone, doesn’t hit for power, and ultimately isn’t the same offensive player as Cano. So maybe he would have gotten more but he wasn’t getting into Cano territory.

      • Ed

        I’d bet you Evan Longoria could’ve made far more than $65m extra if he didn’t sign any extensions.

        I understand the first extension – he got a ton of money guaranteed basically at the very start of his career. But with that second extension, he gave up the chance of a mega contract.

        • anon_coward

          he signed it right before his daughter was born
          maybe he wanted some family stability?

          • Rick

            And no income tax in Florida. I also hear it’s nice there.

            • dalelama

              No income tax in Washington either.

            • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

              It’s completely fucking awful there.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner (the rarely spoken-of sibling)

      By all means, give them credit. Ortiz honestly deserves it.

      Fuck the little rat.

    • budseligblows

      as if ortiz has never bitched about his contract status…. lol.

  • william wipperdink

    cano will regret this, he will be in a miserable situation that money can’t heal.
    he will squander away his life and be a useless wannabee

    phillips batted in 103 runs this year, so is he worth $20 million a year ?

    and now I guess Cabrera is worth $50 million a year

    • Rick

      If you go by Fangraphs WAR metrics and multiply the value of a win by how many wins Cabrera was worth, yea he’d probably be worth close to $50M. Amazing when you’re sarcasm comes back to bite you in the ass when someone else uses statistics, isn’t it? Lucky for you, Cabrera was only worth $38M last year. But that Trout fellow, he was worth $52.1 million.

  • RobA

    Isn’t it kind of the height of hypocrisy for Yankees fans to bemoan Robbie’s “disgusting greed”? It is exactly that “disgusting greed” that makes the Yankees what they have been for so long….their willingness to pay top dollar and that players desire to take the most money.

    You can’t be all whiny now because – for once – the Yankees are on the losing end of a players greed.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner (the rarely spoken-of sibling)

      I don’t think it’s hypocritical.

      It’s one thing for the team to flex its financial muscle. It’s another to do it right. The 27 championships show that, whatever they’ve done at any given time, they’ve done it correctly.

      • Steve

        It still requires a bunch of “greedy money grubbers” to jump at the highest offer, which 99.9% of the time comes from the Yankees. If it makes fans feel better to say that the Yankees get whoever they want because of their history or their aura or whatever else, so be it. But it’s bullshit.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner (the rarely spoken-of sibling)

          Someone else must be saying it, then. It’s certainly not me saying that Yankees get whoever they want.

    • Mike HC

      There is definitely a little bit of this going on. But when players leave to join the Yanks, they could say they were just all about winning, not the money. Cano doesn’t even have that bs to fall back on.

      • Steve

        As long as everybody agrees that it’s BS

      • LK

        And if Cano really wants to, he can say that he felt he was jumping off a sinking ship of old players and dead payroll, and that he knew that trying to bring a title to a city that hasn’t had one in decades would be more special than it could ever be where they’ve already won so much.

        You can always come up with BS as to why it wasn’t about the money. But that’s exactly what it is, BS. Just like any Yankee FA who took top dollar and then claimed it was about winning.

      • Stan the Man

        If you know its BS than what does it matter. We all know players come to the Yanks for the money. The fact they can win a championship or two while they are here is nice, but isn’t the driving factor.

  • Eddard

    Cano didn’t give a damn about the pinstripes, he only cared about lining his own pockets. The Yankees are much better off without him and his albatross contract. The power will fade in Seattle and the natural skills will decline with age. The work ethic an maturity is not there, which is what an older player needs without the use of steroids.

    • Scully

      I agree with you about the Yankees being better off down the road and his decline, thanks in part to his maturity and work ethic, which sometimes seemed rightly questioned to begin with.

      We shouldn’t blast a guy for not hustling now and then to the level that we’ve blasted Cano in the past, but the fact that he doesn’t occasionally hustle and that he continues to not occasionally hustle makes me question his work ethic simply because, busting down the line is one of the first things you’re taught.

  • william wipperdink

    I don’t support any greed in sports
    this doesn’t make it any different

    • Rick

      But you support it in other parts of real life? Hey, I’ll give you $65 million more than your current employer is offering you over the next 10 years.

      From your posts, I’m certain you won’t accept.

  • Guns

    Fuck Curt Schilling. Seriously.

    • SDB

      Shame that mocking mystique and aura doesn’t help you run a business.

    •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      + A Million. My personal most hated athlete of all time.

      • Mandy Stankiewicz

        Yup. He’s up there with John Rocker.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner (the rarely spoken-of sibling)

      What happened with Schilling? I would, in general, support this statement, of course.

  • Aims

    I think its a little ridiculous to say he left for greed reasons. We are yankees fans, so for us, wearing pinstripes would be a dream come true, and I would trade anything for that opportunity, but there are 29 other clubs out there, and maybes its possible that Cano was excited about the opportunity to pave his own legacy and resurrect a struggling franchise in a beautiful city like Seattle. Yes, its possible that this decision was purely based on the money, but thats no guarantee, Cano may have been wowed by how badly Seattle wanted him, or may have gotten great vibes from their new coach, or decided that Seattle would be a nicer place to settle down with a family than NY.

    I’m going to miss Cano like crazy, I wore his jersey to every game I went to this year, but I don’t think we can assume that his decision to leave was greed based, or even 100% money based, regardless of Jay Z’s ridiculous demands and the fact that he turned down our best offer.

    • anon_coward


      cano’s jersey was 17th in sales in NYC
      going to seattle he will be the mentor for building their team and the face of it.

      no one can say he should have turned it down for a few more years with the yanks before being traded or ridiculed in the press here

      • gageagainstthemachine

        Cano? A mentor? I’ll see it when I believe it.

        • gageagainstthemachine

          flip that….believe it when I see it…hahaha

  •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

    Nice write-up Ben.

  • hey now

    “Cano was the next great Yankee bound for Monument Park”

    He never once gave off the vibe that sort of thing was important to him.

    The only time I remember watching him play and thinking to myself, “There’s a guy who absolutely loves playing baseball” was during the WBC. Otherwise, he gave the impression of a guy just doing his job.

    He wasn’t a malcontent, just seemingly not inspired.

    • Mike HC

      While I agree he didn’t seem to place a great importance on his legacy, I always got the impression he loved playing baseball. He always had a smile on his face and just always looked upbeat in general. In fact, it seems to me that he enjoyed playing baseball so much, that it didn’t much matter if he played in NY or Sea. He just loves playing the game and could do it anywhere.

      • gageagainstthemachine

        I don’t think he’s going to “love playing baseball” in Seattle. I’m not even sure what they do qualifies as baseball anymore.

        • Mike HC

          If Cano can’t be happy making 240 million dollars over the next 10 years playing in Seattle, there is no hope for the rest of us. The bar for happiness is set so fucking high we all might as well give up now.

  • Marsha

    Do my eyes deceive me? Posts by Ben, Joe, and Mike on the same day. Aahh.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner (the rarely spoken-of sibling)

      Where the fuck is Larry?

  • Enoch55

    Eh, I get that these guys are all wired around the $$, but, realistically, if he’s decent by age 37-38 he could earn back a good chunk of years 8-10 that he’d have forgone by taking the Yankees deal.

    Also, it would have given him small flexibility if he ends up being miserable and irrelevant in Seattle.

  • Short Porch

    Maybe now Robbie can afford to pay child support. I guess money did mean a lot to him.

    • Mr. Roth

      lol I’m surprised this is the first time I’ve heard this comment.

  • vin

    It’s always nice to have Ben and Joe posting here.

    Thanks guys.

  • Stuckey

    Got to hand it to RobA’s 3:55pm post. Exactly right.

    Can ANY one of us defend the A-Rod extension in context of his post?

    We conjecture that Cano will live to regret signing in Seattle. So the Yankees are living to regret the extension?

    And I find it VERY easy for Sabathia and players given HUGE deals to talk about the IDEA of playing for the Yankees. That’s that sort of thing you say after the fact without any equity in the words.

    Now I don’t necessarily think he and others don’t think they mean it at the time they say it, but it costs nothing to say. So let’s not regard it as gospel.

    Further, the Yankees are hardly in traditional position of strength. Yes, they’ll “win” this year, and maybe even make the postseason, but I can’t sit here in good conscious and say McCann and Ellsbury choose the Yankees to “win”? They’re hardly favored to win the last game of the season. I suspect money has something to do with their decisions, perhaps in addition to the “privelage” but certainly not in absence of the money.

    Finally, I still find it fascinating to find adults buying into the trappings of fandom. From experience here and other forums I can say for certain there truly are people who hold down jobs, are lawfully allowed to operate motor vehicles, and have even procreated that TRULY believe (in the weirdest, saddest possible way) that somehow Yankees players and fans are inherently better people than people who say …. live and play in Boston.

    As if most of us wouldn’t be card-carrying members of Red Sox Nation if we happened to have been born in New England.

    Baseball is a GREAT game. And the Yankees have been a credit to the game. But why isn’t that enough? Why do we have a build mythology around what’s mostly a means to earn a living for the people who play it, casting heroes and villains where there really just players who happen to be playing for whomever is paying them to, and as for fans, mostly following the teams they happened to grow up around.

    • Steve


    • WFAN Caller

      This is a great response. It’s very true. It’s a business. That’s all it is. For every player willing to take a cut to play in a place they are comfortable – ie Jered Weaver and David Wright – there are 1,000 others who are in it to make money. As they should be. It’s not like this is a hobby and they go back to being cops and plumbers during the off season.

      • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

        I’d totally go back to being a plumber in the off season.

    • Fin

      Agee $100%. Its fine for people to point out what Cano is missing out on by turning down the Yankees and playing with the M’s as I think it has real value. Things like a legacy, playing for a contender just about every year, monument park, and an after career with the Yankees. However, that value is decided on a personal level, and its hard to believe that value is anywhere near $65m to anybody except those who have a normal job and still have fantasies about playing MLB for the Yankees. Maybe Cano stays a Yankee for a few million less, but I suspect there isn’t a player in the game or a person in the world that turns down an extra $65m.

    • Kiko Jones

      As if most of us wouldn’t be card-carrying members of Red Sox Nation if we happened to have been born in New England.

      And if we’d been born in Saudi Arabia, we’d be Sunni Muslims. Also, if my grandmother had balls she’d be…oh, you know. So, what’s your point?

      Why do we have a build mythology around what’s mostly a means to earn a living for the people who play it, casting heroes and villains where there really just players who happen to be playing for whomever is paying them to, and as for fans, mostly following the teams they happened to grow up around.

      Because otherwise baseball would be as exciting as stamp collecting.

      Listen, people go WAY over the top in their fandom—and the knuckleheads who call into WFAN are living proof—but at the same time I understand how people need a route to escapism. And in this case it’s professional baseball. To want people to react to baseball as just watching folks going about their jobs is either facetious or misses the point completely.

      • stuckey

        That’s all well and good, but when this escapism routes itself into self-denial and hypocrisy to the point we’re accusing others of “greediness” when our entire motivation is seeing the most successful sports franchise of all-time AND the last 19 years win another title for NO other reason than our OWN sastifaction, it becomes a little too much not to be pointed out.

  • Klemy

    Nice write up.

    I was thinking about all this, involuntarily, over the weekend. I was in a store and right up front there was a display of team paraphernalia. One of the items was a Robinson Cano FatHead.

    I couldn’t help thinking about how much less valuable those had just become and I wondered how many parents may have already bought one for their child for Christmas.

  • Tico Rules

    I don’t get it at all. As Yankee fans, we’ve basically feasted on free agents since time immomorial. We lose out one of our guys and now folks are getting pissed off about greed? Seriously.

    99.9% of the time players go to the team that will pay them the most money. That’s usually us. So let’s not get too crazy about players valuing or not valuing the Pinstripes. It’s a business. We didn’t lure players here with Pinstripe Pride. We did it, by in large by outbidding other teams.

    I’m going to miss Robbie for the first half of that deal. The last half not so much.

    • Stuckey

      …not even mentioning.

      I’ve seen too many times Yankees fans embracing and reveling in spending what others teams simply cannot in pursuit of another championship.

      How it that NOT the VERY definition of greed?

      As fans, it’s not an accomplishment for us. We don’t work hard to be the last team standing. We just WANT, periods. What’s the difference if what we want is 101 wins and 28th ring and what Cano wants is $65m guaranteed?

      They’re both objects of lust.

      You can try to make the argument that the Yankees generate the most revenue so they should be allowed to spend it, and that’s a BUSINESS justification. And we rely on that justification because as fans WE’RE GREEDY. We COVET.

      Outspending the world (especially on guys like A-Rod) isn’t a credit to the GAME of baseball. Having 4 times the payroll of teams they’re competing for postseason slots isn’t a credit to the GAME of baseball, and if most of us happened to be born in Kansas City we’d HATE the Yankees and HATE the MLB system.

      But we justify the lack of a salary cap, and we justify our the Yankees pursue winning because WE’RE GREEDY.

      We will gleefully justify the Yankees using whatever means at their disposal to weight their roster in pursuit of what we WANT but Robinson Cano should be held to some higher ideal.

      C’mon fellas.

      • RetroRob

        Salary cap isn’t necessary.

        • Stuckey

          Isn’t necessary for what?

  • Fin

    For those comparing Pedroia to Cano, its not a fair comparison. Cano had made almost $60m in his career, which had him set financially for life and an easy decision to hit FA. Pedroia has made $30m, which is a lot of money but with taxes and agents his decision was not as cut and dry. Taking $100m guaranteed his financial future, while Cano’s had already been guaranteed. Pedroia while playing in a lot of games for most of his career was always seemingly playing injured. Cano never seemed to be playing with any type of injury. While they have shown to be relatively equal value players, the type of player Robbie is, Power/run producer is more valuable to teams. Finally, if Pedroia had seen the contract Cano got before he signed his extension he very well may not have signed it. I don’t think Pedroia left as much money on the table as people think. Because Seattle was desperate, they gave Robbie too much money. I don’t think another deperate team would value Pedroia nearly as much, if at all. I don’t think Pedroia would have even gotten an ELs deal going into his age 32 season.

    • Fin

      That being said, I would much rather have Pedroia for $100m than Cano for $175, let alone $240m.

      • Mike

        Pedroia was wired differently. If he had Boras or JZ for an agent he’d never have signed that contract.

        • Jarrod

          Pedroia LOVES baseball and would probably play for free. The fact that someone was offering him $100m to play for his team was a bonus. He is financially set for life and can continue enjoying his ball.

          Cano clearly looks at this as a job and he wants to get paid his fair share of the revenue.

          I can’t argue with either guys logic.

  • budseligblows

    i dont begrudge a guy for not leaving that amount of cash on the table…not for a minute.

    cano had a chance to step up and be the man in 2013 in the wake of all the injuries and begin the “cano’s yankees” era, instead he was more concerned with where he was hitting in the order.

    so long robbie. while your production will be missed, you won’t.

    • LK

      “while your production will be missed, you won’t.”

      From a fan’s perspective, not sure I see much of a distinction.

      • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

        Makes a huge difference to this fan. There are players whose production *and* personalities/personas I miss. Cano will not be one of them.

  • Mike

    The good thing about our team is that we can spend big on free agents like McCann and Ellsbury and still develop excellent prospects.

    Even if though we lost Cano I’m sure we will develop another talent like him within the next few years.

  • RetroRob

    An extra $65 million got buy your own mystique and aura! Seriously, though, it’s similar to players taking steroids (that’s you, A-Rod) who are hurting their own legacy and chance to make the HOF. Clearly A-Rod doesn’t care about that right now (or when he was taking PEDs), or cared more about the here and now and his bank account. Yet I have no doubt A-Rod will one day be unhappy about not making the Hall.

    Cano is fine, but there will be days and nights where he wishes he never left. Yet that extra $65M will keep him warm and comfortable.

  • Jarrod

    Mystique and Aura are bullshit, these guys ALL play to get paid. This is their job. Maybe they are blessed with natural talent but they all worked crazy hard to get here and they want to get paid their share – good luck to them!

    Do people really think that Jeter would have played all these years in pinstripes if he wasn’t very handsomely rewarded with bucket loads of cash?

  • D

    There are enough players who signed and left money on the table where it’s not 99.9% like this:

    Juan Gonzalez turned down a $140M extension from the Tigers after they traded for him because they sucked.

    Paul O’Neill used to sign year or year for below market.

    Stephen Drew chose a 69-win team over a 95-win team (the Yankees) because he wanted to play every day and I’m sure didn’t want to move to 3B so Darling Jeter could remain at SS and so (Drew’s) value didn’t decrease (SS to 3B.)

    Cliff Lee took less to remain with Philly.

    Turk Wendell once offered to play for the Mets for free.

    Joakin Soria said he’d be a setup man for Mariano Rivera.

    There are many others.

    • The Other Mister D

      But they are still in the minority. It is even more rare for the dollar difference to be as substantial as it was in this case.

    • LiterallyFigurative

      Yes, 6 guys……in like 20 years……in a sport that has 750 guys on ML rosters at all times.

      Plus, Drew knew that being on the Yankees would DEPRESS his market value the next year. By getting the guaranteed playing time, he would get a better contract when he hit FA this offseason, as opposed to being pigeonholed into Utility infielder-ship.

  • Like a college campus

    Mystique and aura and ghosts were exposed as hokum when the Steinbrenners bulldozed the stadium. Why should I believe in those things? The people selling them can’t even pretend to.

    I’ll always love the Yankees. But I wouldn’t buy a used car from them.

  • Deep Thoughts

    “We expect the Yanks to pay what it takes to retain their players…”

    “The Yanks offered him seven years and were willing to pay him $25 million a year with an annual salary higher than everyone but A-Rod‘s. But it wasn’t enough…”

    “While the Yanks were willing to give him more per year, they didn’t want to give a middle infielder entering his age 31 season a ten-year commitment.”

    And there it is. The Yankees didn’t want to pay him what his market value was.

    Was there greed involved? Yes–on the part of the club. Does anyone doubt that the Steinbrenners could have easily afforded, and can afford, to eat Robbie’s decline years? No, because we know they could have and can. They have the money. They just made a business decision not to do so. They are apparently willing to win at high cost, but not at all costs.

    To make this about the player is to miss the point.

    I will never understand fans with no financial interest who only want players on the team if they’re “a good value.” You want to play Armchair GM? Fine. But then you don’t get to huff and puff and “well I never” about mystique and aura when a player makes an obvious financial decision to get paid at market value.

    • Stuckey

      “Was there greed involved? Yes–on the part of the…”

      … fans.

      Let’s not forget.

      Anyone arguing the Yankees should have given Cano any more than they offered is motivated by self-interest … greed. The desire to see the Yankees win by any means necessary.

      Anyone arguing Cano should have factored the mystic and aura any more than he did is motivated by self-interest … or greed. The desire to see other people give up things in order for YOU fan experience to be better.

      Cano, the Yankees, us fans. We’re ALL motivated by self-interest. And don’t tell me any of us are pursuing some higher idea in the best interest of the game of baseball.

      You’re upset about this in any variation and it’s about YOU and what YOU want.


    • Kiko Jones

      Maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve always thought of “market value” as some sort of consensus. In other words, just b/c I alone decide to pay $85K for a Honda, doesn’t make that the car’s “market value”.

      Then again, Jerry Reinsdorf of the White Sox once famously said, “All it takes is one dumb owner to set the market in baseball.”

    • Jarrod

      Let me help you understand then.

      I have no financial interest in who the Yankees buy and sell but I do have an emotional interest in them winning. I primarily want players at the Yankees to be “good value” so that they will not cripple the teams future efforts to build successful rosters.

      The current A-Rod contract (and others) is severely restricting the Yankees efforts to build a roster under $189m (or at any reasonable price). Clearly entering another of those contracts will only make the situation worse in the future.

      My emotional interest is therefore concerned by the Yankees financial interests.

      • Deep Thoughts

        “The current A-Rod contract (and others) is severely restricting the Yankees efforts to build a roster under $189m.”

        To which I would say, so what. That qualification, “under $189m,” is everything. It implies, correctly, that the Yankees could quite easily, if they so chose, build a roster by paying more than $189 million. They would not–and will not–be “crippled” by spending over the luxury tax limit, as we’re now seeing this winter.

        Suppose it cost the Steinbrenners 150% of $189MM or $283 million to sign Cano along with everyone else they’ve signed this offseason, including incremental luxury tax and revenue-sharing penalties. Are you suggesting that after taking in $400-500 million last year from extending YES’s broadcast rights, and another $270 million from News Corp for 49% of YES, that they couldn’t “afford” to do this? And that’s leaving aside revenue from ticket sales, merchandising, licensing, advertising, and concessions. It’s laughable to suggest that this billionaire family would be anything close to crippled if they just accepted the penalties that came along with Bud Selig’s rigged game.

        In short, you don’t need to help me understand the 189MM threshold. My point is that Hal’s desire to stay under that soft limit is his problem’s, not Cano’s, and that taking a hard line against paying Cano 8+ years for $200MM+ was a choice, not a necessity. All this “mystique and aura” is nothing more to Hal than an asset in the “goodwill” row on the balance sheet and a marketing ploy to attract free agents. If you’re pissed about Cano leaving, cast your ire toward Tampa.

        • stuckey

          Whatever type of line is there but a “hard line”. Its a binary equation by definition – you’re either willing or unwilling.

          For some Yankees fans, obviously there is no line. We got Arod, Texeira and perhaps now Sabathia as lessons about the dangers of long-term deals at premium salaries.

          Yet there is never a line. All limits as “soft” meaning there are NO limits.

          That’s fine and good. But AGAIN let’s remember fans too are motivated by greed, by coveting.

          Let’s all stop throwing around Cano and Hal Steinbrenner’s “greed” as a pejorative.

          We’re no better. We’ve had more than our fair share but we want MORE and we want Hall and Cano to leave their money on the table so we can get what WE want.

  • benc

    The Yankees did not want Cano. They offered him a contract that they knew he would refused because of their desires to get under the 189 million threshold. The Met did the same thing with Reyes but I never expected it from the Yankees. It was reported on Steven A. Smith’s show that Cano was willing to stay if the Yankees offered him a eight years contract for 200 million but the Yankees refused to move from 7 years for 175 million. Imagine giving an injury prone former Red Sox who is not as good or as durable as Cano a seven year contract and refusing to offer a home grown Yankee one extra year. The Yankees disappointed me and made me wish George was still running the Yankees because would not let a possible hall of fame player leave without putting up a better effort.

    CC comment was hypocritical because he opted out of his contract to get more years and a better contract

    • Stuckey


      Did you REALLY think through what you just posted?

      In one paragraph you reasoned the Yankees were motivated to let Cano walk because of the $189m limit and in the same breath, argued they offered him 7 at $175 but balked about 8 at $200, as if there was a relationship between those two things.

      Now, think again about those two things for a minute or two…

      Give up?

      The 8th year at another $25 would have NO effect on the $189m 2014 threshhold.

      Your argument, tying the 2 things together, in other words, makes no sense.

      • benc

        Yes, I did. Stop trying to ignore how 25 mil would have affect 2014 Yankees budget and the stated goal to get under 189 million.

        The reason why the Yankees balked at 200 for 8 years was the real possibility that Cano might have accepted it and stayed. If Cano stayed, the stated goal 189 mil budget would have almost impossible to achieve. Making the somewhat representative offer of 175 for 7 years created the public relation appearance that the Yankees really wanted Cano back just like the Mets did with Reyes.

        After how the went after the former Red Sox and paid him a premium, Cano deserved the same respect from the Yankees. This was not about Cano walking away rather it was about achieving the 189 million goal. The Yankees disappointed a lot of Yankess’ fans no matter how the try to spin why Cano left.

        • stuckey

          You don’t dangle $175m you aren’t willing or want to spend.

          This is another case of fans building conspiracy theories based on the premise other fans aren’t as smart as they are.

          You’re arguing that the organization chanced $175m just a a PR move, a PR move that isn’t working on you.

          So you’re real argument is they chanced $175m on a PR move designed to satiate fans not as hep as you.


  • The Other Mister D

    So for once, the Yankee fans feel a bit what fans of almost every other team feels like – we have had one of our own home grown, popular, possibly HoF bound stars walk away from his roots and his fans to chase the money. Of course, we still have 27 rings, 7 of them earned in my living memory. And we still have Jeter and CC and Teix and ARod on the team, now joined by Ellsbury and McCann and Beltran. We had the glorious send off for Mo, and a bevvy of Yankees legends and hall of famers, living and deceased, that no team can match. Oh, and our ex manager just got elected to the Hall of Fame. So I can’t say we quite feel the sting of Seattle losing Junior, Big Unit and ARod in a small window, or the Rays, Royals and Indians losing almost everyone, or the O’s having nothing since Ripkin, but its a start.

  • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

    $65mm. Enough to buy a large plot on Mustique and all the oral you want.