Archive for Robinson Cano
The blows just keep on coming. Yesterday afternoon the Yankees learned Mark Teixeira had strained his wrist while taking batting practice with Team USA in Arizona the day before, an injury that will sideline him for 8-10 weeks. That comes a little more than a week after Curtis Granderson‘s forearm was broken by a J.A. Happ pitch and about two weeks after Phil Hughes was sidelined by back trouble. Things have gotten so bad that Brian Cashman will spend eight weeks on crutches after breaking his leg skydiving for charity. The Yankees haven’t been bit by the injury bug, this is an infestation.
Those injuries, specifically the long-term-ish losses of Granderson and Teixeira, make Robinson Cano the most important position player in baseball. No other team that fancies itself a contender will rely as heavily on one player as the Yankees will rely on Cano early this season. He’s the clear focal point of the offense — the team’s best hitter for both average and power — and the hitter New York will need to plate every runner on-base and start rallies when the bases are empty. Guys like Kevin Youkilis and Travis Hafner will need to step up their game as complementary players, but neither is capable of providing the kind of impact the Yankees will need from Robbie.
The Yankees put themselves in this position, at least to a certain extent. Granderson’s injury was a fluke and Teixeira’s slightly less so, but the club did willfully downgrade in right field and behind home plate this offseason. They knew Derek Jeter was coming off ankle surgery and knew Alex Rodriguez needed hip surgery in early-December, yet their solution(s) was the injury-prone Youkilis and … Dan Johnson? They didn’t bring in any other legitimate depth players for the left side of the infield, possibly because they had a little too much faith in the injury-prone David Adams and error-prone Eduardo Nunez. Now the club is stuck scrambling for a first/third baseman and Jeter has yet to appear in a Spring Training game because of his rehab.
When the season begins in 25 days, there’s a decent chance the around-the-horn infield will be Youkilis, Nunez, Cano, and Johnson. On Opening Day. Think about that. Two-thirds of the outfield will feature slap-hitting speedsters, one of whom hasn’t reached base in more than 31% of his plate appearances since 2010. Things are pretty bad right now. The Yankees can’t afford to have Cano start the season slowly — remember that 90 wRC+ last April? — or worse, consistently bat with the bases empty. They need to protect him by getting runners on-base in front of him, not by sticking a big bat behind him. Trust me, there’s no one in the organization they could bat behind Robbie that will make the other team pitch to him in a big spot. They need to stack their on-base guys in front of him and let him do damage. It’s imperative he does, at least until some of the supporting cast gets healthy.
I honestly can’t remember the last time the Yankees looked this … weak? vulnerable? underwhelming? all of the above? … heading into the season. You’d have to go back to the early-1990s, which I don’t remember all too well. The club does have a strong rotation and bullpen, which is good because they’re really going to need it, but Cano is going to have to carry them on the position player side. They need him more right now than they’ve ever needed him before because there were always those strong supporting players in the lineup to pickup any slack. Now? Nothing. It’s Cano and hope some other guys exceed expectations around him.
As I said in the second base preview this morning, Robinson Cano‘s impending free agency is the cloud that’s going to hang over the Yankees until he signs a new contract, one way or the other. Brian Cashman admitted the team has already made a “significant offer” in an effort to retain their second baseman, but Cano didn’t hire Scott Boras to take the first offer. The two sides will undoubtedly continue to talk right down to the very end.
The Yankees have already broken their policy of not signing a player (or coach or executive) to a new contract until their current one expires once for Cano and they’re obviously willing to do it again. The primary advantage to breaking the policy is avoiding a bidding war, which could escalate quickly thanks to the suddenly free-spending Dodgers. You can be sure Magic Johnson & Co. will make a serious push to sign Robbie after the season if he hits free agency, and that is the kind of bidding war no team wants caught up in.
The other advantage of signing Cano before he hits free agency — and specifically this month before the season starts — has to do with their plan to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold by next season. The Collective Bargaining Agreement is a bore to read and a nightmare to interpret, but Joel Sherman explains contract extensions are added to whatever is left on the the player’s existing contract to create a new total for luxury tax calculation purposes. Rather than giving Cano a new contract after the season with whatever average annual value, signing him right now would include his 2013 salary — a paltry $15M compared to what he will earn in the future — and one more year to the extension, dragging down the annual average value (and luxury tax hit).
Just as an example, let’s say the Yankees sign Cano to Mark Teixeira‘s contract, meaning eight years and $180M. I’m just using that as an example, I’m not advocating it. If they give him that deal after the season, it’s a straight average annual value calculation: $180M divided by eight years equals a $22.5M luxury tax hit. Now, if they were to give him that deal this month before the season begins, the average annual value of the contract would be $195M (new contract plus his 2013 salary) divided by nine years (new contract plus 2013), or $21.7M annually. The difference isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, but $800k is room for that one extra bench player or middle reliever under the luxury tax threshold.
That is just one example and obviously the numbers would change depending on the contract. Things would have been much better had the Yankees managed to sign Cano before last season — his luxury tax hit with that new eight-year, $180M deal would have been $20.9M had he signed it prior to 2012 — but Boras would have never let that happen. He wouldn’t have had much leverage in talks and that’s the name of the game here, creating leverage to get the biggest contract possible. Would have been a nice way to save some room under the luxury tax threshold for 2014 and beyond, but alas.
I don’t expect the Yankees to sign Cano to a new contract this month but I don’t think there is zero chance of it happening. It would surprise me though, you can count the number of big-name Boras clients to skip free agency in favor of an extension on one hand (Carlos Gonzalez, Jered Weaver, and … ?). The club would save a tiny bit of space under the luxury tax threshold by signing Robbie this month, not to mention any money they would save by avoiding a bidding war with the Dodgers. There are several reasons for New York to try to hammer out a deal in the coming weeks, but I don’t expect Boras to make things easy.
Starting this week and continuing through the end of the Spring Training, we’re going to preview the Yankees position-by-position and on a couple of different levels.
Second base is one of the four premium up-the-middle positions, but it is the fourth-most important of those positions. It doesn’t require the athleticism of shortstop or center field or the pure toughness of catcher, nor does it require the arm strength — second baseman have the most time to make the routine play of any infielder. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s a rough position because of the blind double play pivot, but it sorta is the black sheep of the up-the-middle spots. That said, second base is the highlight of the Yankees’ organization for a number of reasons.
Robinson Cano isn’t just the best player on the Yankees, he’s the best second baseman in baseball and one of the very best players in the game period. The 30-year-old has hit .311/.370/.539 (142 wRC+) over the last three seasons and put up career-highs in doubles (48), homers (33), extra-base hits (82), ISO (.238), SLG (.550), walks (61), walk rate (8.8%), wOBA (.394), wRC+ (150), fWAR (7.8), and bWAR (8.2) last summer. It was his third consecutive MVP-caliber season and there’s really no reason to expect his performance to suddenly fall off a cliff in 2013. He might not be as amazingly awesome again, but there’s no obvious reason why he would be anything less that excellent.
In the field, Cano is dynamite gloveman in the eyes of DRS (+17 career), Total Zone (+43) and FRAA (+45.1), but not so much UZR (-30.2). Robbie doesn’t have the greatest range going to his left, but c’mon. That UZR stands out like a sore thumb because it doesn’t jibe with the eye test. He might not be as good as Total Zone and FRAA say, but Cano is clearly above-average defensively in my opinion. His range to his right is very good and his arm is a rocket, and when you add in the fact that he plays pretty much every single game year after year, you’ve got a two-way threat who is among the most dependable players in the world.
Cano’s performance in 2013 will be very important and not just to the Yankees given all the offense they lost over the winter. Robbie will be a free agent after the season and is in line for a mammoth nine-figure contract, and in fact Brian Cashman confirmed the club has already extended a “significant offer.” Scott Boras won’t go down that easily though, so expect contract talks to linger pretty much all season long. It will be the cloud hanging over the team all summer, kinda like CC Sabathia‘s opt-out clause two years ago. The off-field issue doesn’t diminish Cano’s on-field awesomeness or importance, however.
The bench is still a few weeks away from being finalized, but the two obvious candidates are Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix. The 25-year-old Nunez is a defensive nightmare who has been working out at shortstop exclusively since last May, though Cashman did say he would return to a utility role if he makes the team. The speed and contact ability are certainly useful tools, useful tools that are negated (and then some) by the unusable defense.
Nix, 30, was solid in a limited role last year, mainly by hitting lefties (97 wRC+) and playing all over the field. He’s a second baseman by trade and a much better defender than Nunez, but no better than average overall. I don’t think it would be a surprise if either guy made the team as a reserve infielder, and heck, there’s even a scenario in which both make the team. Either way, the step down from Cano to either Nix or Nunez is enormous. Maybe the biggest drop-off from one player to their replacement in all of baseball.
Knocking on the Door
The Yankees are blessed with very good second base depth, including at the Triple-A level. Both 25-year-old David Adams and 24-year-old Corban Joseph are slated to begin the season with Triple-A Scranton and they’re cut from a similar cloth: bat-first players who are below-average defenders at second. Adams, a right-handed hitter, used to be a solid defender at the position but has lost a few steps following the massive ankle injury he suffered in 2010. Joseph, a left-handed hitter, has always been a below-average defender. Both guys can hit and are willing to walk though, making them very good depth pieces (and trade bait). Adams is dealing with a back injury and could miss the start of the season, which I guess makes Joseph first in line for a call-up.
The Top Prospect
One of New York’s best and most exciting prospects is second baseman Angelo Gumbs, who placed ninth on my preseason top 30 list. Still just 20 years old (with an October birthday!), the right-handed hitter signed for $750k as the team’s second round pick in 2010 and hit .268/.317/.428 (102 wRC+) with seven homers and 26 steals (in 29 attempts) in 278 plate appearances for Low-A Charleston last season. His season ended prematurely due to a partially torn elbow ligament, but he’s 100% healthy and even managed to squeeze in a few winter ball games. Gumbs stands out of his electric bat speed — best in the organization and among the best in minor league baseball — and athleticism, so he’s a premium breakout candidate for 2013 if healthy given his age. The Yankees will bump him up to High-A Tampa this year, so he won’t be a big league factor this summer unless he’s traded for an actual big leaguer.
The Deep Sleeper
Gumbs, Adams, and Joseph are exceptions — there just aren’t many true second base prospects throughout baseball. There aren’t as rare as true first base prospects, but most second base prospects are failed shortstops (like Cano). The Yankees don’t have a deep second base sleeper prospect, but they do have 2012 sixth rounder Rob Refsnyder. The 21-year-old followed up his College World Series Most Outstanding Player performance by hitting .247/.324/.370 (95 wRC+) with four homers and 11 steals (in 12 chances) in 182 plate appearances for Charleston last year. Although he played the outfield in his pro debut, the Yankees announced him as a second baseman at the draft and are expected to move him back there going forward. Refsnyder played the position in high school and would raise his long-term profile quite a bit if he shows he can handle second adequately. He’s not as good a prospect as the other three guys but he’s definitely interesting, hence his inclusion in my not top 30 prospects post.
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The Yankees have more quality depth at second base than at any other position, and it starts right at the top with Cano. He’s the team’s best and most important player heading into the 2013 season, after which he will sign a gigantic contract to either remain in pinstripes or leave the only organization he’s ever known. Adams and Joseph give New York legitimate alternatives in Triple-A if needed, and Gumbs boasts breakout potential despite already being one of the team’s better prospects. Second base is a major bright spot for the organization from top to bottom.
Via Dan Barbarisi: Brian Cashman confirmed the Yankees have already made a “significant offer” to impending free agent Robinson Cano. Hal Steinbrenner confirmed the two sides have had a “conversation or two” about a new deal earlier this month, but Cashman confirmed an actual offer was made. Apparently there is a significant difference in valuation during talks, so I’m guessing this recent offer was well off Scott Boras’ mark. I’m sure there are still many offers and counteroffers to come, but this is notable because the team is breaking it’s “no extensions” policy (which they’ve already done once for Robbie, of course).
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been going back and forth with one-time RABer Moshe Mandel about Robinson Cano‘s impending free agency. We’ve debated almost everything, from whether they should re-sign him to how much is too much, and all sorts of stuff in between. I’m guessing we’ll discuss it a few more times between now and November.
Anyway, during one of our recent friendly debates we got into talking about what a potential mega-contract for Cano would mean for the farm system, specifically the need to produce quality big leaguers. Obviously it’s important for every team to have a productive farm system, but factors at the big league level impact just how important it is. For total rebuilders like the Astros and Cubs, the farm system is very important. For clear contenders like the Nationals and Tigers, they aren’t as crucial.
The Yankees are much closer to clear contender than total rebuilder, but the plan to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold by next year means some level of rebuilding is on order. The club will need to develop a few productive players of their own, but how a new contract by Cano impacts that need is up for debate.
The case that re-signing Cano means they’ll need more from the farm system
The exact amount is still far from determined, but it’s safe to say Robbie’s next contract will be worth more than $20M annually. Add in existing commitments to Alex Rodriguez ($27.5M), CC Sabathia ($24.4M), and Mark Teixeira ($22.5M), and the Yankees are going to leave themselves with something like $90M to fill out the rest of the roster. With three starting pitchers, one outfielder, and at least three relievers scheduled to hit free agency next winter, the Yankees will need their farm to plug some holes on the cheap. On the other hand, they won’t be desperate for a homegrown impact hitter because Cano will still be around.
The case that letting Cano walk means they’ll need more from the farm system
If the Yankees are unable to retain their second baseman, they’ll have approximately $110M in wiggle room under the luxury tax threshold going forward. They’ll have those same holes — three starters, three relievers, one outfielder — to fill plus the second base spot, and it’ll be tough to plug all those holes with free agents. The Yankees would need their system to produce an impact middle of the order bat in very near future plus other useful pieces to shore up the roster. They’d have more money to spend, but also a much bigger hole to fill in the lineup.
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As I said before, the Yankees are going to need to farm system to start cranking out capable big leaguers regardless of what happens with Cano. They can thank their self-imposed payroll cap for that. Is the farm system more important with or without Cano? Moshe and I haven’t been able to agree about that, so let’s bust out the ol’ RAB pollin’ machine.
Via George King: Hal Steinbrenner confirmed the team has let Scott Boras know they’re willing to consider a massive contract for free agent-to-be Robinson Cano. “We expressed to Scott what a great Yankee he has been and we hope he continues his career here for a long time to come. We indicated to him on a very preliminary basis that we were willing to consider a significant long-term contract,” said the owner, who acknowledged talks were held before Spring Training and that nothing has happened since.
Last week we heard there was a “significant difference” in valuation during contract talks, which isn’t a huge surprise. We’re going to hear many similar reports between now and November, when negotiations will result in either a new contract or a scary bidding war with the Dodgers (and maybe even others). Click here for last week’s Cano contract poll, in case you missed it.
Via Jon Heyman: There is a “significant difference” in valuation during talks about a new contract between Robinson Cano and the Yankees. The club views their second baseman as a top 10-15 player while Scott Boras is thinking higher than that. “There are few elite players,” said the agent. “That just is a very short list – less than five … Robinson is happy being a Yankee, and both sides recognize that this is one of the elite players in the game.”
Hal Steinbrenner recently confirmed the two sides had a “conversation or two” about a new deal, and Heyman says they have indeed started talks about an extension. A new agreement is not remotely close and there’s at least a chance Cano will become a free agent after the season. So yeah, this report isn’t terribly surprising. Boras always shoots for the moon with his top clients. I’ve written quite a bit about a new contract for Robbie lately, so make sure you check out this post from earlier in the week as well as today’s poll.
Once upon a time, I thought Jose Reyes would tell us something about what it could take to sign Robinson Cano long-term. Both guys were great middle infielders playing for New York teams in their late-20s, so when Reyes hit the open market I figured it would give us a benchmark for Cano. Reyes, as you know, signed a six-year contract worth $106M with the Marlins last year. I was dead wrong. That won’t be nearly enough to keep Cano.
For starters, Robbie is just a flat-out better player than Reyes. Don’t get me wrong, Reyes is no slouch, but Cano has been more productive in the years leading up to his free agency. More importantly, he’s been far more durable. Reyes has a history of hamstring trouble — not exactly ideal for a speed player — including two DL stints in his walk year. Robbie could easily visit the DL this summer, but it would be a surprise given his supreme durability over the last six seasons.
As it stands right now, Cano is going to smash the current second base contract records. His new deal with blow past Chase Utley’s record for total guarantee ($85M) and Ian Kinsler’s record for average annual value ($15M). I mean, those won’t even be close to what Cano will get. He poised to receive a nine-figure deal with Scott Boras running the show, and nine-figure deals tend to have an average value north of $20M annually.
I wrote about Cano’s impending free agency earlier this week, but I want to get an idea of what fans are willing to pay him. For the sake of argument, let’s assume his 2013 production is on par with his 2010-2012 production. Let’s also assume that last year’s struggles against southpaws were a fluke and he gets back to mashing lefties like he had every other year of his career. I picked out four recently signed free agent contracts to serve as reference points.
Seven years, $142 M ($20.3M AAV)
This is the Carl Crawford contract, something that has gone horribly wrong so far. Crawford was only 29 at the time of the signing though, and he’d hit .300+ with 40+ steals in five of the previous six seasons. The lone exception was 2008, when he missed a bunch of time with a wrist problem. He was also an elite defensive player. Crawford was held back by his position, as left field is hardly a premium spot.
Eight years, $160M ($20M AAV)
This one isn’t all that recent, it’s the Manny Ramirez contract. Matt Kemp signed for the exact same amount last winter, but that was an extension. He almost certainly would have gotten more as a free agent. Either way, I wanted something here longer than Crawford’s contract but on par with the annual payout. Manny it is.
Eight years, $180M ($22.5M AAV)
I’m guessing this looks familiar, it’s Mark Teixeira‘s contract. Tex signed his deal at 28 but turned 29 before Opening Day, and like Cano he had been extremely durable and productive leading up to free agency. It’s easy to forget how much of a monster he was back in the day, but Teixeira was a lock for a .290/.370/.550-ish batting line with 30+ homers and 150+ games played every year before joining New York. He’s also an elite defender, but like Crawford an elite defender at a non-premium position.
Nine years, $214M ($23.8 AAV)
Boras managed to land this contract for Prince Fielder last winter, from a team that already had a pretty awesome first baseman no less. Fielder was only 27 at the time of the deal, so three years younger than Robbie will be next winter. He was both insanely productive and durable in the years leading up to free agency, I’m talking 155+ games a year every year. Prince doesn’t get enough credit for playing every day. His offense is needed to offset his defense, which is below-average at a corner spot.
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The only two ten-year contracts given to free agents in recent years were the Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols deals. Cano is great, but he’s not in a class with those two. At least not compared to who they were when they signed those contracts. I feel comfortable saying Fielder’s contract is the likely cap for Robbie next winter, though I suppose the new cash-flush market and free-spending Dodgers could change that.
Robinson Cano‘s impending free agency is going to be the rain cloud hovering over the Yankees’ heads this season. Sorta like CC Sabathia‘s opt-out clause two seasons ago, how it was always looming in the back of everyone’s mind. The club’s situation is much less dire two years ago though. We all knew the Yankees were going to go all-out to re-sign their ace when he did use — or in reality, threatened to use — the opt-out. If Sabathia signed elsewhere, it would not have been due to a lack of effort on the team’s part.
The calculus has changed quite a bit in those two years. The Collective Bargaining Agreement put in place last winter offers (substantial) rewards for staying under the luxury tax and the Yankees are doing all they can to take advantage, even though it harms their ability to contend. Hal Steinbrenner has a knack for saying they will continue to field a championship-caliber team, but actions speak louder than words. The current catching situation is not championship-caliber. The bench is not championship-caliber. Wilfully slashing payroll for the sake of maximizing profit is not something someone committed to fielding a championship-caliber team does.
Anyway, that desire to spend less on the team will impact the Yankees’ ability to retain Cano next offseason. Robbie hired Scott Boras two years ago and players do not hire Boras that close to free agency unless they’re looking for a huge payday. Cano is a star and he will want to be paid like one. It’s only fair. With the free-spending Dodgers looming and other contenders like the Tigers and Cardinals potentially in need of second base help, Boras shouldn’t have much trouble finding suitors for his client.
The Yankees know as well as anyone that long-term contracts to players on the wrong side of 30 have a tendency to go sour in a hurry. All they have to do is look at Alex Rodriguez for the worst case scenario, but Jason Giambi — who was more productive in pinstripes than he gets credit for — is a cautionary tale as well. Just look around the league and you’ll see scary long-term commitments to 30-somethings either going wrong or on the verge of going wrong. Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Alfonso Soriano … those clubs would like a do-over on every one of those contracts.
Cano, who turned 30 in October, is theoretically at even greater risk of sharp decline because of his position. Second baseman take a pounding at the bag due to the blind double play pivot, something that “is even reflected in the number of uniforms their clubs have to buy for them” according to former Dodgers GM Dan Evans. To Cano’s credit, he has been extremely durable, playing in no fewer than 159 games in each of the last six seasons. We have to remember that A-Rod was once just as durable, playing in 154+ games in seven straight years before starting to break down in 2008.
According to bWAR, Robbie has been not only the most valuable position player in baseball over the last three years, but also the most valuable player period, including pitchers. His career 34.8 bWAR is the tenth highest in history among second basemen through their age 29 season. He’s been brilliant these last few years, no doubt about it, but his next contract won’t be paying him for past performance. It’ll be paying him for expected future performance, and that’s where it gets tricky.
There have been a total of 20 non-first base infielders to post between 30-40 bWAR through their age 29 season. There are 13 40+ bWAR guys and they’re all all-time greats (A-Rod, Cal Ripken Jr., Joe Morgan, Mike Schmidt, etc.), but I want to look at players similar to Cano. Two of those 30-40 bWAR guys (Dustin Pedroia and David Wright) are too young to tell us anything, but here are how the others performed before their age 30 season, during their age 30 season, and then after their age 30s season.
|<30 WAR||Age 30 WAR||31+ WAR|
The majority of those guys actually held their value well beyond their age 30 season. There will always been some decline, that’s inevitable, but for the most part they’ve been solid. There are some complete collapses — Nomar, Knoblauch, Chavez, and Petrocelli — in there to serve as the harsh reminder of what could happen as well.
Looking specifically at the second baseman, Carew had begun the transition to first base during his age 29 season and was playing there full-time by 30. Knoblauch was done as a second baseman at 31. Grich, Whitaker, Randolph, and Sandberg all stayed at the position full-time until the end of their careers. Utley, 33, is breaking down but still a full-time second baseman. Roberto Alomar, who was slightly above my arbitrary 40 bWAR cutoff point, was a star up until age 33 before completely cratering. He was a full-time second baseman the entire time.
There is nothing we can to do to predict how Cano will age. We can look at aging curves and compare him to similar players and all sorts of stuff, but there’s just no way to know. He could prosper (Whitaker), he could turn into a pumpkin (Knoblauch), he could do something in the middle (Randolph), or he could do something else entirely. Cano’s durability is reassuring … until you consider all the wear-and-tear could manifest itself in an instant. The uncertainty is what makes a potential long-term deal so scary.
Back in August 2011, I spit-balled the idea of a six-year, $120M-ish contract extension that covered the 2012-2017 seasons, or Robbie’s age 29-34 seasons. I have a hard time seeing Cano and Boras accepting those terms right now. The new CBA changed the marketplace, specifically by limiting spending on amateur players and therefore pumping more money in the big league marketplace. Add in the Dodgers factor and Robbie could be looking at Prince Fielder money (nine years, $214M) with a 2013 season that resembles his 2010-2012 efforts. That is a scary thought.
Cano is an elite player and he will be paid accordingly next winter. That’s not much of a question. The real question is how long will he remain an elite player? How long will he stay at second? One more season? Two? Four? No one knows. The Yankees already have two big albatross contracts on their hands in A-Rod and Mark Teixeira, and it’s likely only a matter of time before Sabathia joins them. Adding a fourth albatross could be crippling, especially if ownership won’t budge from their plan to stay under the luxury tax threshold. I have no reason to believe they will.
As great as Cano is right now, the Yankees need to avoid repeating history and shooting themselves in the foot with another big contract for a declining player on the wrong side of 30. The Cardinals are doing just fine without Pujols, just like the Rays are doing just fine without Carl Crawford. Texas doesn’t miss Teixeira at all. There is a price at which the Yankees should be willing to keep Cano — four years, $100M? five years, $130M? — but in this new age of “fiscal responsibility,” the Yankees can’t act like they used too. Hard and potentially unpopular decisions will have to be made.
Via Wally Matthews: Hal Steinbrenner confirmed the team has had some discussions with Scott Boras about a contract extension for Robinson Cano. “There’s been a conversation or two,” said the team’s principal owner yesterday. “We’ll get into that and we’ll talk about that at a later date. But he’s been a great Yankee and [we] hope he’s here his entire career.”
Cano, 30, will become a free agent for the first time next winter. Team policy has been to wait until a contract expires before negotiating a new one — Hal recently said he is not a fan of extensions — but the Yankees broke their own rule once to sign Cano and could easily do so again. Either way, he’s in line for a massive nine-figure contract. If they intend to keep him long-term, the Yankees would be wise to hammer out a new deal now rather than wait until next winter, when the Dodgers could get involved.