Sunday Shorts: Cano vs. Girardi, Yanks’ Spending, Cano’s New Home

Jennings: Yankees shopping Ichiro Suzuki
Heyman: Yankees have checked in on Mike Pelfrey
(Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
(Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Just a few weeks ago, friend of RAB Jack Moore wrote an article at The Score about the potentially boring hot stove, not only this season, but for future seasons. His overall point remains strong:

The shift to buying out multiple free agent years in long-term extensions for young stars has led to fewer and fewer young stars hitting the free agent market in their 20s. The advent of the second wild card has led more and more teams to believe they can contend, leading to fewer fire sales.

Thankfully, the hot stove has remained interesting, at least this off-season, thanks to teams acting early and aggressively. Moore might be correct in the long run; he’ll certainly be right come mid-December, when all those free agents are off the board and teams are pretty set. But for the last few weeks we’ve seen a peak of hot stove activity, and nearly every moment has been enjoyable — which seems a good transition into the first short.

Cano didn’t like Girardi?

The Yankees are clearly sold on Joe Girardi at the helm. They’ve now twice extended his contract after hiring him in 2008, the latest a four-year deal that could bring Girardi’s tenure to a decade. It makes sense, then, that the Yankees wouldn’t aggressively approach a free agent who has a known problem with the manager.

According to a George King report, Robinson Cano was no fan of Girardi.

According to three people who know Cano, he didn’t enjoy playing for manager Joe Girardi and that may have factored into the decision, though the Mariners giving him $60 million more than the Yankees offered ($175 million) likely had more to do with him leaving.

“Robbie didn’t like batting second, he wanted to bat in the middle of the order,” one person said. “The Yankees wanted him second because that was best for the team. He wanted to hit in the middle of the order to drive in runs [to increase his value].”

This could just be sour grapes; we do see that kind of behavior frequently from Boston writers when players leave the Red Sox. After all, if Cano batted lower in the order he might not have driven in any more runs. It’s not as though the Yanks were awash in players who could get on base for Cano.

(For what it’s worth, Cano did hit .308/.396/.560 in 182 PA batting second.)

Money won the day, no doubt. But perhaps Cano’s displeasure with Girardi was one among many reasons the Yankees declined to increase their offer beyond seven years and $175 million.

Spending spree

Despite losing Cano, the Yankees have spent lavishly so far this off-season. To be exact: $299 million on Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Hiroki Kuroda, and Carlos Beltran. I’ve seen fans and media alike questioning how the Yankees spent so much on these players, particularly Ellsbury, and didn’t go the extra mile of five for Cano. There is certainly some sense to their spending, as wunderkind Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish notes:

In other words, the Yankees eschewed re-signing their star in order to spread money among many different positions of need. That number will look a lot different by the end of December, since the Yankees have plenty of remaining needs. But their overall strategy remains clear: don’t get caught up in too-long contracts and spread the wealth. You can disagree about its effectiveness, but it’s nice to see that they have a plan, because…

Dysfunctional Seattle

This article by Geoff Baker has made its rounds, so perhaps you’ve seen it. If not, it’s an eye-opening look into the Seattle front office. They’re painted as arrogant fools who surround themselves with yes-men, rather than people whose dissenting opinions could help the team make stronger, more informed decisions. Given Seattle’s woes in the last few years, including their lack of success with young players, it comes as little surprise that the front office has its issues.

(The article actually goes well with the book I’m currently reading.)

Baker talks to only former employees, so the story would probably look better if the other side told its half. Still, that Baker got two former employees to talk on the record is pretty remarkable in today’s environment of anonymous hatchet jobs. The Seattle organization seems to be the polar opposite of the Cardinals, which you can read about in this Q&A at FanGraphs.

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Jennings: Yankees shopping Ichiro Suzuki
Heyman: Yankees have checked in on Mike Pelfrey
  • Pseudoyanks

    I think there’s a big difference between “Cano didn’t like playing for Girardi” and “Cano didn’t like batting second” and I wonder which statement is more accurate.

    • RetroRob

      Probably both.

      Girardi no doubt would have regular talks with him about his less-than-100% approach on ground balls and running the bases. We didn’t see it, but I’m sure it was a regular chat. I remember Jim Leyrtiz had issues with Buck Showalter, who didn’t like Leyritz’s act. This is very different, but players and managers not seeing eye to eye is as old as the game. This one seems pretty minor.

      Yet perhaps Cano thinks things will be better elsewhere. If so, that article might have sent a shiver up his spine. I’m sure Mariners will be quite kind when their $240M million player runs 3/4 speed to first.

      • MD

        I think Torre had issues with Leyritz. Is this Cano stuff a surprise? He’d been called out publicly for lack of hustle here and there over the years. He thought he was underpaid with that extension. He wanted some $uper$tar “love” from the Yankees. He didn’t get it. So keep the plaque, the legacy and bottle service in the VIP area of his favorite Manhattan clubs, he’ll take the biggest bucks and create his own scene in Seattle. And he’ll approve a trade in late July to the Yankees 4 years from now with the Mariners eating more than half the money. Oh my goodness gracious — Robbie is in pinstripes again!

        • RetroRob

          I think you are right that it was Torre.

          I am sure Cano is very happy right now as he got his money, yet if he really did want to remain a Yankee, then once he settles into the day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year, with the realization that he is a Mariner for the next decade and there is no going back to his Yankee life, then he may wonder if there was someway to bridge the gap. I saw a quote from CC congratulating Cano and wishing him luck, but also expressing a bit of surprise, noting that he played for a team (the Indians) that were losers and after a while it really wears on you. If the Mariners build a winning team and tradition around Cano, then he might be fine with it all. I wouldn’t count on it, though.

          We should all be lucky enough to be faced with such decisions!

          • MD

            He’s got the money either way. He’ll ask to be traded to a contender or something down the road.

            And I think the CC mentality isn’t widespread. He’s also the guy that pitched on 3 days for a number of turns down the stretch to help the Brewers get in the playoffs — and barked at his own agent for complaining to mgmt about doing so in his walk yr. But then again he still left for bigger bucks.

            I think the reaction to Cano’s departure would’ve been different if he went to a team like LAD for 8/200.

  • crawdaddy

    Did the Yankees supply the Cano friends that made those anti-Girardi comments? So how did this come from the Yankees as sour grapes.

    “According to three people who know Cano, he didn’t enjoy playing for manager Joe Girardi and that may have factored into the decision, though the Mariners giving him $60 million more than the Yankees offered ($175 million) likely had more to do with him leaving.”

    • BFDeal

      I read it as sour grapes on behalf of George King; not the Yankees.

      • Steve D Fl

        i did also

      • Havok9120

        Yup.

      • Cano Cango

        OK so if George King has 3 sources who know Cano confirm he didn’t like like Girardi, why is it sour grapes on King’s part?

        • BFDeal

          I didn’t make the sour grapes accusation. I stated how I interpreted the remark in the article.

  • http://rab.com Michael Cutler

    Gardner, Bencentes,phelps and romine for Chase Headley and a reliever!
    JOE P what ya think about it?

    • http://rab.com Michael Cutler

      i meant Betances

    • Dalek Jeter

      Joe thinks your trade proposal sucks, because by rule all fan trade proposals suck. Yours specifically though because why would Betances or Romine have any trade value at all? Betances has had 1 decent year out of the pen in the minors and Romine spent last season looking lost at the plate and not great behind it in the majors. Any trade for a Headley style player, 1 year control or not probably starts with Gardner and Sanchez.

      • Pseudoyanks

        We should start using YTPS (not sure if that’s original.)

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski
          • Havok9120

            Good times.

          • Darren

            What were the reasons given by the Royals executive? Maybe it’s the 15 year old girl in me, but I always assume that there are tons of random trades that happen (or don’t happen) because of personality problems, conflicts and other non-baseball reasons that we’ll NEVER know about.

            Like, I assume the Yankees didn’t re-sign Russel Martin because he had an affair with another’s player wife (Note: Pure specuclation!) or because he cuts the worst smelling farts imaginable and Mariano complained. You know, not because his batting average sucked.

          • MD

            http://riveraveblues.com/2013/.....ano-97340/

            Should add a line about the merit of blogger analysis in the RAB Guide. More hot air was right along with some whistling past the graveyard.

          • Pseudoyanks

            Haha, I remember that post very well (and the amount of discussion that post generated.)

            Thanks for reposting Joe, as it was fun to read it again and it is in my all time Top 5 RAB posts.

            (My question to Dalek was if the abbreviation YTPS had been original or not.)

      • http://rab.com Michael Cutler

        ya no dice on Dirty Sanchez. . im not even in love with Headley he’s not worth our best prospect plus

      • Jorge Steinbrenner (the rarely spoken-of sibling)

        His proposals especially suck because he’s been making them all day and hasn’t bothered to correct “Betances” once.

      • Cano Cango

        I’d love to know why Headley has trade value?

      • Ed

        A Headley trade doesn’t include Gardner at all. San Diego’s only going to trade him because he’s only got one year of control left and they’re not going to be in the playoff hunt this year. They’re taking guys with at least several years of team control left.

    • mustang

      I don’t think it sucks at all maybe drop Bencentes for Nunez. They would get MLB ready CF, 3B, C and SP for a guy on this walk year.

      • mustang

        And Yes Gardner is also in his walk year and the rest of the package is not great talent wise, but they are young and play high demand positions.

        • Alkaline

          Yeah, still too much, IMO.

        • Albearrrr

          5 OF aside, Gardner has much more value than Headley does. In fact, other than some speculation that his swing would translate into a top bat at Yankee stadium, I have yet to see any proof that Headley is anything better than average.

  • TWTR

    No baseball manager brings enough value to be worth more than a star player, but imo, Cano left because of money, and only about money. If the Yankees gave him the biggest contract, he would have found a way to tolerate anything he disliked about Girardi (e.g., the stupid nicknames, the sniveling, whatever…)

  • TWTR

    I would hope that the Yankees have learned that it in the future, the smarter play is to trade a star, reaching free agency, who there is a decent chance they may not be able to re-sign.

    • Alkaline

      Even in hindsight, you don’t trade Cano midseason this past year. Ever.

    • WhittakerWalt

      They thought they could re-sign him. It seemed like a foregone conclusion, right up until it wasn’t.
      Under your proposal the Yankees would have traded Jeter, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte and Rivera long before they became legends. Because, hey, they might sign somewhere else.

  • dkidd

    that cardinals q and a is awesome

    jack z and jay z can have each other

  • David Brown

    Billy Martin once said “I do not care if I have a pitching rotation of Hitler, Mussolini & Stalin if they could win 20 Games apiece.” Same thing applies here: Cano would have had no issues playing for Girardi for the next Decade (if necessary), provided they paid him to do so. How do I know this? Simple, otherwise he would have told (or at least strongly hinted) to the Yankees “If Girardi returns, I am not.”

    • Nutty Squirrel

      The media would have his head if he said that today.

  • DR

    I know it’s widely being interpreted that Cano’s friends are talking about him batting 2nd this past season, but does anyone think it’s possible they may have been referring to future seasons (or both)? That perhaps during negotiations, the Yankees said they wanted Cano to hit higher up to get on base, and he wanted to hit in the middle? However, I suppose the Yankees don’t have a complete enough lineup to start guaranteeing who bats where. Just a thought.

  • Batsman

    “SPREAD THE WEALTH” is exactly what I have been preaching to Yankee fans on Messageboards.

  • Joe P

    Hey Mike C, I like Headly but we need pitching and with his of year in 2013 he’s less valuable than for players even with a river thrown in.

    • http://rab.com Michael Cutler

      ya he was hurt a lot, you’re right pitching is more of a need

  • Joe P

    Hey Mike C, I like Headly but we need pitching and with his off year in 2013 he’s less valuable than four players even with a reliever thrown in. Dalek Jeter should speak for himself because I certainly disagree with his opinion that Betances and Romine have no value. Btances looked good out of the pen last year and Romine clearly has value at a prime position. Though the Rays aren’t likely to do a trade with The Yankees, I would like to see the Yankees at least try to get Price in a trade. I love both players but put together a package involving Gardner and Gary Sanchez and they may have enough to grab Price. It’s a long, long, long shot but there’s no harm in trying! Otherwise, Jeff Samardjzida may be a available from the Cubs.

    • http://rab.com Michael Cutler

      ya if you are gonna start talking Sanchez. . misewell go for someone upper tier. . anything worth doing is wirth doing right!

  • http://aol Amanda

    Burned my Cano jersey :)

    • RetroRob

      Throw in a few Jay Z records, too, if anyone actually owns such things today.

    • Alkaline

      Figuratively or literally?

  • Jack

    I am not a big fan of Girardi, however Cano appears to be a selfish baseball player just like a lot of these prima donna’s. Let’s stop talking about Cano as he is no longer a Yankee . I have been saying that the Yankees should try to put a package together for Headley for months . I would include Gardner, Nunez and minor leagers that San Diego tells us they would be interested in. San Diego has tried to extend Headley to no avail so I believe that they are looking to move him. I hope Cashman can get it done

    • your mom

      I agree with this completely, too bad we don’t have the players to get Headley in a trade. Fuck Cano.

  • Iron Horse

    WTG, Amanda…why does anyone care about what George King writes, or whether Cano liked Girardi? Cano is gone, he is a great talent, but….I can see great talent at the circus. There seem to be a few things no one looks at here: the Yankee offer to Cano was more than fair, if he wanted to re-sign with the Yankees; the offer is certainly comparable to what they offered Ellsbury, comparable to what the Mets gave David Wright; Lyle Overbay got more big hits last year than Dontcha Know; most importantly, the Yankees will received two relatively high draft picks from Mariners, and Mets for poaching Cgrand (what are they thinking? It’s 2007?).
    The organization needs young talent, now, go out and get some…and so help me, nobody better start drooling over getting Lester as a free agent in 2015! It will shock me if either Lester doesn’t sign an extension in 2014, or goes the FA route and takes less to stay put. He has practically already said as much in the wake of Ellsbury’s departure…here’s a really weird idea: why don’t the Yankees scout a young lefty, or a young righty, and DRAFT him. Then hire some coaches and instructors who know how to nurture young arms, then be patient, and bring these guys up slowly and surely. Gee do teams do that? Boston did it with Lester and Buchholz…in other words, no more Andrew Brackmans…

    • Alkaline

      Yes, the Yankees currently draft players who weren’t scouted then don’t have coaches and instructors to help train said players. Their intention to tick people off like you by doing this.

    • BFDeal

      Most importantly, those two relatively high draft picks have been turned into Ellsbury and Beltran.

    • Get Phelps Up (looking for a new name)

      The draft picks from the Mariners and Mets were supplemental picks because both of those teams actual first round picks were protected.

  • The Thumb

    What’s the chance that Tanaka doesn’t get posted? It’s seeming more and more likely now. How long do you suppose Garza, Ubaldo (not that I want him) etc. stay on the market?

    • Now Batting

      From MLBTR today:

      The Mainichi report adds the new posting system is expected to go into effect as early as next week and will pave the way for Tanaka to be posted.

  • Mike

    Do we take a chance on Roy Holliday ??? What would it take to get Cliff Lee out of Philly

    • The Thumb

      Minor League deal sure but I rather let Nuno or Marshall start than see him in the Bronx. He’s done. As for Lee, probably too much to make it worthwhile.

  • Barry

    I’m interested to see how Robinson Cano responds to being the one who’s solely liable for the success and struggles of the line-up. Maybe he can become a leader away from all the other stars of the Yankees. Maybe he can have a positive influence on Montero.

    I like when there is a lot of good competition in baseball so hopefully Seattle can turn it around. They should of added Granderson as well because the Mets got a good deal for him. See if they get Price now, but they’ll need another hitter or two as well.

    • The Thumb

      I honestly think Cano does really bad in Seattle really quickly. Like sub 20 homers/.280 avg bad. Unless Seattle pulls off some major trades for lineup depth (i.e. Kemp), I see Cano pressing far too hard to be “that guy”, resulting in way too many chased out side pitches (we’ve all seen this from him) once the M’s start to fade out of the playoff race in early July.

  • toad

    Interesting tweet from Cotillo. That’s $18.7 million/yr for the guys the Yankees have signed. Compare to Cano at $24 million/yr.

  • D

    Cano is such a little classless bitch for running his mouth about Girardi after he signed with Seattle.

    He got his fat contract – ten years and $240M – thus should shut the fuck up and move on. He didn’t get a decade from the Yankees because Derek Jeter got that after 2000 and (Cano) was not as young or great as Jeter was through then, and he should accept it. He should also get over the Yankees not thinking he was worth the same amount of years and $35M less than what they foolishly gave A-Rod, or wanting to give eight or more years or a penny more than $175M to a 31-year secondbaseman who has never won an MVP award or batting title, never posted 30 HR and 100 RBI in a single season or had a signature moment, and drove in 100+ runs only a third of the time.

    I hope Cano gets roundly booed at Yankee Stadium 4/29-5/1 the only time he will play there in 2014, thankfully.

    BTW if the Mariners don’t re-sign Ibanez, Morales, Morse, Bay, or Gutierrez, or play Franklin anymore now that he’s been displaced at 2B by Cano, that’s a loss of 98 homeruns plus the loss of 17 homeruns from Ryan, Shoppach, Blanco, Montero, Quinetro, Pequero, Almonte, and Chavez not coming back = 117 of their 188 HR for 2013 lost.

    I DEFY Cano to equal or better 2013 Kendry Morales with that PATHETIC lineup he’s in.

    • Alkaline

      Did Cano sleep with your mom or something?

    • BFDeal

      What I find amazing is how your dinky little brain translates “According to three people who know Cano…” into “Cano is such a little classless bitch for running his mouth about Girardi after he signed with Seattle”.

      • RetroRob

        True, and we don’t know where those quotes from coming from. Maybe the Yankees are leaking it to make Cano look bad. Probably not, but it’s an unknown.

  • D

    Cano is such a little bitch to talk shit about Girardi after he signed with Seattle. You got your fat contract, Cano, now shut the fuck up.

    I will go on record as saying I think Kelly Johnson is perfectly capable of posting his career slashline or better with 20 HR and 70 RBI in 2014 and while that’s not 2013 Cano of course – not even close – that’s fantastic for Johnson’s $3M cost and for a #8 hitter. He’d need to hit only 4 more HR and drive in 18 more RBI than he did in 2013 to post 20 HR and 70 RBI – not impossible. I’d be thrilled with just his 2013. He’s the only downgrade in the Yankees starting nine but he’s a good player with a reputation for busting it unlike Cano.

    • BFDeal

      I’d rather have the player that puts up better numbers whether he’s “busting it” or not.

  • http://calgaryinsuranceagent.com/ Ted Yan

    totally love the NY Yankees, go team

  • cashjr

    Wouldn’t surprise me at all if the “lazy ass” part of Cano wasn’t thrilled with the “hard ass” part of Girardi (and vice a versa). However I don’t believe for a second they would not have happily “put up with each other” for however long they needed to as long as the yanks were winning. Now it could be both Cano and the yanks each have one more very minor reason to rationalize why they are both better off in their respective new worlds.

  • Mick taylor

    Cano was a non prospect with crappy minor league stats. He then suddenly becomes arguably the beat hitter in the American league. He runs with melky, big popiand encarcion, all steroid users. Cano’s secretary hasrelationship with boesch. Cano should be outed as a peds user

  • Pistol Pete

    It always ticked me off where Girardi batted Cano. Should have been third the last 3 years. Jerked him everywhere to placate Tex, Arod etc. That said 240 for 10 is absurd. As a fan I couldn’t care less how much the Yankees pay in luxury tax but that contract is a joke.

  • csonk

    Hate to see Robbie go…loved watching him hit & that arm was incredible. Gotta move on – not liking it but it is what it is – no turnin’ back now. I hate the Ellsbury deal – wreaks of CASHman’s desperation and will be very A-Batross/Texiera like in the tail year’s. McCann & Beltran – OK, both overpaid but OK. Need pitching…no Ace, no shut-down game/series changer come playoff time, no losing streak sure stopper, means they lose in the playoffs to Boston, Detroit, the A’s, Texas, Tampa, Anahiem…good pitching STOPS good hitting, period. We don’t have it – good enough to get there not good enough to win it all.
    Shouldv’e hired the Cardinals Scouting staff for $20mil. – half laughing…