Archive for Robinson Cano
As expected, Robinson Cano, Hiroki Kuroda, and Curtis Granderson all declined the $14.1M qualifying offer prior to this afternoon’s deadline. All 13 players who received qualifying offers turned them down. The Yankees will receive a supplemental first round draft pick as compensation if they sign a Major League contract with one of the other 29 clubs. New York will not get a pick for Kuroda if he retires or signs with a team in Japan.
Sunday: The Yankees are the only team to make Cano a contract offer at this point, reports Martin. It’s possible teams are waiting until tomorrow’s deadline for players to accept or reject qualifying offers before getting serious about pursuing free agents. Joel Sherman says New York’s limit for Robbie appears to be $180-200M across eight years. “The ball’s in his court,” said a source to Martin.
Thursday: Via Dan Martin: There has been “no recent movement” in contract talks between the Yankees and Robinson Cano. A market for the second baseman has yet to develop, which isn’t surprising at this point. Free agency just opened and things usually don’t pick up for the top free agents until the Winter Meetings in early December.
Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal notes Cano’s reported $305M demand was floated at the All-Star break and was his price for foregoing free agency. He and his agent placed a premium on testing the open market and weren’t going be bought out cheap. Rosenthal adds that Robbie’s ultimate price will depend more on the market than his personal salary goal — he could wind up signing for something very close to the seven years and $161M the Yankees already offered.
Robinson Cano was named the AL Silver Slugger Award winner at second base on Wednesday night. It’s his fourth straight Silver Slugger and fifth overall. He also won way back in 2006. No other Yankees won Silver Sluggers, obviously. No one else on the team really hit this year. All of the winners can be seen right here. Congrats to Robbie.
Via Jerry Crasnick: MLB is investigating whether Jay-Z violated the union’s regulations by giving Robinson Cano a watch valued at $33,900 during his recent birthday party in Germany. Cano hired Jay-Z back in April and any gift in excess of $500 must be disclosed in writing. Obviously agents are strictly prohibited from giving a gift to a player (or the family of a player) who is not their client, but that isn’t an issue here. Jay-Z could be subject to some kind of discipline (fine?) if he is found to be in violation of the regulations, but Robbie is in the clear as far as I know.
It’s no secret that the Yankees have a lot of needs this offseason. A lot of needs and not many internal solutions, which is a bit of a problem. They’re going be busy all winter and given their payroll situation, I’m not sure it’s possible to address every single need. I don’t think many teams ever get through the offseason with all of their questions answered anyway.
Like everything else in life, some of the Yankees’ needs are more pressing than others. Finding someone to replace Travis Hafner at DH isn’t nearly as important as say, finding someone to stick in the rotation following Andy Pettitte‘s retirement. Only one of those things can be placed on the back-burner and addressed in the weeks leading up to Spring Training. With that in mind, let’s prioritize New York’s most pressing needs over the next 15 weeks or so.
Priority #1: Re-Sign Robinson Cano
As far as I’m concerned, Cano is the key to the offseason. If the Yankees re-sign him, they have a chance to contend next season as long as they make some smart moves to improve the cast around him. If they don’t re-sign him, they have close to no chance to contend and should seriously consider tearing the whole thing down and rebuilding. I don’t expect that to ever happen though. That’s just what I think should happen if he bolts.
Anyway, getting Cano locked up has to be the team’s number one goal this offseason. Not just locked up either, locked up quickly. That’s going to be close to impossible, obviously. The team should put some pressure on Robbie and his rookie representatives to get a deal done soon so they can move onto other business. He’s going to sign a massive contract, the kind of contract that will determine how much they can spend on their other needs. The sooner they get this wrapped up, the better. The more it drags on, the more the list of available options for their other needs dwindles.
Priority #2: Rebuild The Rotation
With Pettitte retired, Hiroki Kuroda a free agent, and CC Sabathia having an abysmal year for whatever reason, the Yankees do not have a sure thing in their rotation. Even Ivan Nova, who impressed in the second half this past season, has yet to put together a solid year from start to finish. It would be nice if he pitched well without having to be sent to the minors for a wake-up call for once, wouldn’t it?
The Yankees are expected to be all-in on Masahiro Tanaka but even he is an unknown. Everyone expects him to be very good but no one knows how much he can contribute until he actually comes over and starts facing big league hitters. Guys like David Phelps, Adam Warren, and Vidal Nuno are nice depth options but not guys the team should ask to be the numbers three through five starters come Opening Day. Tanaka is (by far) the most luxury tax friendly option but New York could use another veteran starter in addition to him as well.
Priority #3: Find Some Power
The so-called Bronx Bombers set a Major League record by hitting 101 fewer homers in 2013 than they did in 2012, the largest year-to-year drop in history. Alfonso Soriano played only 58 games with the team and managed to hit four more homers than any non-Cano hitter. Just think about that. It’s mind-boggling, especially considering the hitter-friendly nature of Yankee Stadium.
A full season of Soriano and the expected return of Mark Teixeira should help the power output, but that’s not enough. New York needs to find a catcher who is not a total zero at the plate and a designated hitter who can actually hit (!), first and foremost, but adding some punch to the bench and replacing the Ichiro Suzuki/Vernon Wells tag team in right with an actual MLB-caliber hitter should be priorities as well. The Yankees play in a small ballpark and in the AL East. That is a reality, not my opinion. They’re going to have an extremely hard time winning if they can’t hit the ball out of the park.
Priority #4: Replace Mariano Rivera
Okay, there is no replacing Mariano Rivera. The Yankees are likely to give David Robertson the closer’s job and let him sink or swim, but that’s not replacing Rivera. Simply sticking someone in the ninth inning isn’t replacing Rivera. New York is losing an elite reliever this winter — the inning he pitches is relatively irrelevant. They had two elite guys and now they have just one, so the bullpen is weaker even if Robertson turns into another Craig Kimbrel. I don’t know if adding an elite end-game arm is a realistic possibility this winter, but, at the same time, going with Shawn Kelley in the eighth, Robertson in the ninth, and a bunch of kids everywhere else isn’t all that realistic either.
Priority #5: Add Depth
If you read this blog regularly, you’re going to be sick of seeing the word “depth” by time this offseason is over. I’m going to be talking about it all the damn time after this past season. Pitching depth, infield depth, outfield depth … you name it and the Yankees should bring it in whenever possible. Minor league free agents, waivers, whatever. The farm system doesn’t have much immediate help to offer, which, in addition to being a negative, means there are lots of roster openings in Triple-A. Even the smallest of upgrades are worth making. This isn’t so much an item on a list of priorities as it is a blanket statement they should look to address whenever possible.
The Yankees have officially extended qualifying offers to Robinson Cano, Hiroki Kuroda, and Curtis Granderson, the team announced. Qualifying offers are worth $14.1M this offseason. Players have until next Monday to either accept or reject the offer. If they reject and sign with another MLB team, the Yankees will receive a supplemental first round pick as compensation regardless of whether their new team has a protected first rounder. All three guys are likely to reject the offer and test the open market.
As I mentioned this morning, eligible players officially became free agents at 9am ET this morning. They still have to wait five days to sign with new teams, however. The MLBPA released a list of all 147 free agents this afternoon, which you can check out right here. Among those 147 players are 13 Yankees: Robinson Cano, Joba Chamberlain, Curtis Granderson, Travis Hafner, Phil Hughes, Hiroki Kuroda, Boone Logan, Lyle Overbay, Andy Pettitte, Mark Reynolds, Mariano Rivera, Brendan Ryan, and Kevin Youkilis.
There are currently 28 players on the 40-man roster, though Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, Corban Joseph, Jayson Nix, Francisco Cervelli, and CC Sabathia all have to be activated off the 60-day DL by Monday. So, in reality, there are 34 players on the 40-man.
Robinson Cano lost out on this year’s AL Gold Glove Award at second base to Dustin Pedroia. All of the winners are right here. Cano won the award twice before, including last year. He was the team’s only Gold Glove finalist at the various positions. Oh well. Maybe it’ll knock a few dollars off his upcoming contract.
For the second straight year, Robinson Cano is one of three finalists for the AL Gold Glove Award at second base. It’s between him and AL East rivals Dustin Pedroia and Ben Zobrist. Robbie wound up winning the award over Pedroia and Dustin Ackley last season. It was his second Gold Glove after winning his first in 2010.
No other Yankees are finalists for Gold Gloves. All of the finalists are here. Brett Gardner was the team’s only other legitimate Gold Glove candidate and while I thought he was very good in center field this year, I didn’t think he was elite like he was in left field the past few years. The defensive stats back that up but one year of defensive stats yadda yadda yadda. It wouldn’t have been a crime to list among the three finalists though. Oh well. The winners will be announced at 8pm ET on Tuesday as part of some big ESPN2 broadcast.
Depending on how you work the math and whether Alex Rodriguez gets suspended for part or all of next season, the Yankees will have something like $65-90M to work with under that $189M luxury tax threshold this offseason. Derek Jeter‘s player option and various arbitration raises will change things as well. Either way, the Bombers are going to have some money to spend this offseason, and Andrew Marchand reports a massive shopping spree may in the works. To the block text:
[The] front office is devising a plan that could have the team going on a $300 million shopping spree, sources have told ESPNNewYork.com.
The Yankees will begin their organization meetings Monday where they will settle on a strategy that they believe can cut payroll to $189 million while spending big on free agents.
The Yankees’ initial main targets are expected to include their own Robinson Cano, Japanese starter Masahiro Tanaka, Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann and St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran, according to sources.
The Yankees think they can add at least two top free agents this winter and remain under team owner Hal Steinbrenner’s goal of reducing total salaries to less than $189 million. Steinbrenner has said he would like to reduce the team’s luxury tax and revenue sharing numbers so that he can reinvest the money instead of paying out to smaller markets.
Just spitballing some average annual values/luxury tax hits, I think those four will wind up around $23M (Cano), $15M (McCann), $14M (Beltran), and $12M (Tanaka) next year. I think those are in the ballpark. The market is kinda crazy though — teams have a lot of money to spend and nowhere to spend it, so free agents are making huge bucks — meaning all four guys could wind up with more. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that’s what they get.
In that case, those four will combine for $64M next year, taking a huge bite out of that $65-90M pool of leftover cash. There is no doubt in my mind adding Tanaka, Beltran, and McCann to Cano and everyone else under contract/team control improves the team, but the Yankees would still have a lot of holes to fill. They’d need another starting pitcher (unless you’re particularly high on Vidal Nuno, Michael Pineda, and/or Adam Warren), a left-side-of-the-infielder, a DH, at least one and preferably two (ideally three) relievers, and a bench. On top of all of that, the team would need to set some cash aside for midseason additions, both call-ups and help at the trade deadline. They can’t have a $188.9M payroll on Opening Day. It won’t work.
If the Yankees do go on a huge spending spree this winter, I have very little doubt it would be about improving attendance and ratings as much as it would improving the team’s chances of contention. Given their 2013 Pythag. record (79-83) and the players they’re presumably losing this winter (Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera, specifically), the Yankees need to add about 20 wins worth of talent to the roster this offseason even after re-signing Cano. Beltran, McCann, and Tanaka won’t add that themselves — I’d be happy if they got 12 wins out of the trio next year — so the team either needs to blow past the $189M threshold to contend or hope guys like Jeter, CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Mark Teixeira, David Phelps, and Alfonso Soriano improve their performance in 2014.
Handing out $300M worth of contracts this winter would absolutely qualify as a huge splash and almost certainly improve the team, but it’s probably not enough to get the Yankees back in the postseason if the money goes to those four players and those four players alone. The Bombers are not one, two, or even four players away right now. They need a lot of help.