Archive for Robinson Cano
Four questions and four answers this week. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send us anything throughout the week, mailbag questions or otherwise.
Travis asks: Do you think a trade with San Diego for Chris Denorfia could work? Denorfia had a .337/.390/.500 slash line with 15 walks and 16 strikeouts in 178 at bats against lefties in 2012.
Denorfia, 32, has very quietly emerged as one of the best right-handed platoon outfielders in baseball over the last few seasons. Since joining the Padres in 2010, he’s hit .281/.339/.423 (115 wRC+) overall and .323/.388/.468 (142 wRC+) against southpaws. He rarely strikes out (9.9 K%) against left-handers, can steal the occasional base, and grades out as average or better defensively in the corners. Denorfia would be a fantastic target for that righty outfield platoon bat role, but the Padres just signed him to a two-year extension and I doubt they’re looking to trade him.
Now, Denorfia is not San Diego’s only right-handed platoon bat. They also have 28-year-old Jesus Guzman, who’s hit .276/.339/.439 (118 wRC+) overall as a big leaguer and .311/.387/.509 (150 wRC+) against lefties. He doesn’t make as much contact as Denorfia (16.0 K%) and he won’t steal as many bases, but he draws walks (10.4 BB%) and can play all four corner positions while also filling in at second in a pinch. Guzman was a bit of a late-bloomer who didn’t stick in the show until 2011.
While Denorfia just received his new contract, there was actually some talk the Padres might non-tender Guzman a few weeks ago. I was planning to write a Scouting The Market post the very next day had they cut him loose. Instead, they’re going to bring him to camp and see how the bench shakes out. If there’s no room — San Diego has a ton of bench players to sort through in Spring Training — they could trade him or just option him down to Triple-A for depth. Denorfia would be nice, but I think there’s a much better chance of Guzman actually being available at some point. Needless to say, the Yankees should have interest in both.
A few people asked: What about Domonic Brown?
It’s that time of year again, huh? The Phillies continue to show no interest in giving the 25-year-old Brown a legitimate chance, this time signing Delmon Young (!) to play right field everyday. Not only are they not giving him a chance, but now they’re slapping him in the face in the process.
Anyway, I’m pretty much over Brown at this point. He didn’t look so hot during his 212 plate appearance cameo last summer (.235/.316/.396, 91 wRC+), plus he played awful defense. Like, maybe he should be a first baseman defense. Brown is out of options, meaning he’ll have to go through waivers to go back to Triple-A, plus the Yankees don’t really have a need for another left-handed hitting outfielder. I suppose there’s the DH spot, but meh. The Phillies did Brown no favors by jerking him around these last few years, but at some point we have to assign some blame to the player as well. I’m at that point and wouldn’t give up much of anything for him.
Justin asks: With the Diamondbacks loaded on young pitching, should the Yankees try and pry away Pat Corbin from them?
Corbin, 23, was part of the trade that sent Dan Haren to the Angels a few years ago. He made his big league debut last season and pitched to a 4.54 ERA (4.00 FIP) in 107 innings spread across 17 starts and five relief appearances. The strikeout (7.23 K/9 and 18.9 K%), walk (2.10 BB/9 and 5.5 BB%), and ground ball (45.7%) rates were all pretty strong. Certainly a solid showing for a rookie.
The Diamondbacks added yet another young arm yesterday, getting Randall Delgado in the Justin Upton trade. Delgado, Corbin, and Tyler Skaggs (another part of the Haren trade and one of the best pitching prospects in baseball) will compete for the team’s fifth rotation spot in Spring Training. The two losers will go to Triple-A and serve as depth. Kevin Towers is a pitching guy and will stockpile arms until the cows come home.
Baseball America (subs. req’d) said Corbin “projects as a No. 4 starter” before last season because he doesn’t light up the radar gun and none of his offspeed pitches is a true swing-and-miss offering. He’s almost like a left-handed (and slightly younger) David Phelps. That’s someone who is nice to have, but not someone you go all out to acquire. Corbin would be nice to have in stock come 2014 after Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, and Phil Hughes all hit free agency, but I think the Yankees should use their trade chips to acquire a bat first. That’s a much more pressing need.
Tucker asks: Back in the 2010-11 offseason, there was speculation of a Robinson Cano-for-Matt Kemp trade. In hindsight, would you have made the move?
I’m pretty sure that was much earlier than 2010-2011, no? I thought it was during the 2008-2009 offseason, after Robbie had his awful year. That’s usually when fans conjure up trade scenarios for players, after their down seasons. Anyway, I remember the idea was to trade Cano for Kemp and sign Orlando Hudson to take over at second base.
I was all for that trade at the time (not so much signing Hudson, but I digress) because I thought Kemp would turn into a star (he has!) and Cano would settle in a solid second baseman (he’s been much, much better than that). That was back when the Yankees were looking at replacing both Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui in the near future, and before they acquired Nick Swisher or had seen what Brett Gardner could do in a full season. There was a need for an outfielder and I was all for such a trade.
Now, looking at this in hindsight is another matter. Cano’s been the better hitter (138 vs. 135 wRC+), the better defender (by a mile), and the healthier player (again by a mile) over the last four seasons. Kemp has the advantage in base-running (by a mile) and in terms of contracts ($21M vs. $39M). Despite the significant difference in salary, I would have not done that trade in hindsight. I valuable durability and Cano never ever misses a game. But, as I said, I was all for it at the time and it’s not like Kemp is chopped liver either.
Via Dan Martin: The Yankees have rejected a request for Robinson Cano to play in the Dominican Winter League playoffs. The more big league service time a player has, the more control their team has over their winter ball usage. Robbie is well beyond the point where the Yankees can prevent him from playing.
Cano, 30, is going to be counted on quite a bit offensively next season given the expected production hit the team will take in right field and behind the plate. Robbie has also played in at least 159 games in six straight years, the third most in MLB, so the extra rest and decreased wear-and-tear won’t be a bad thing. I have no problem with the team holding him out of winter ball to reduce the risk of injury (among other things) prior to 2013. It’s not like he’s a young prospect in need of extra reps.
Travis asks: If the Cardinals were to attempt a trade for Robinson Cano, taking into account he is a one-year rental, what would the Yankees get? Trevor Rosenthal, Jon Jay, and Lance Lynn?
Cano’s future with the Yankees has been a pretty hot topic in recent weeks given his impending free agency and the team’s intent to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold by 2014. I fully expect them to re-sign him to a long-term contract, but let’s entertain the idea of trading him this winter just for fun. Remember, thanks to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Robbie would have to be traded in the offseason for his new team to be eligible for draft pick compensation next winter. That’s a pretty big deal.
Anyway, the Cardinals looked into acquiring Cano prior to the 2009 season but backed away when the Yankees asked for Adam Wainwright. Their middle infield is a disaster right now and top second base prospect Kolten Wong is at least half-a-season away, if not a full season. Adding a big left-handed bat to switch-hitter Carlos Beltran and righties Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, Allen Craig, and David Freese would really balance their middle of the lineup and make the NL’s best offense even better.
The Cardinals have a loaded farm system that includes arguably the best hitter in the minor leagues in Oscar Taveras. The left-handed hitting outfielder mashed in Double-A this year (.321/.380/.572, 159 wRC+ as a 20-year-old) and will be ranked among the top five prospects in baseball after the season. They also have a ton of pitching in Rosenthal, Lynn, Joe Kelly, Carlos Martinez, Tyrell Jenkins, and Shelby Miller. Martinez and Jenkins are a few years out while the other guys all pitched in the bigs in 2012. Obviously the Rays deserve a lot of credit, but I think the Cardinals are the best player development organization in baseball.
The Adrian Gonzalez trade (Padres to Red Sox, not Red Sox to Dodgers) is a pretty great trade comparison since it also featured one year of a superstar player. It netted the San Diego two of Baseball America’s top 100 prospects in Casey Kelly (#31) and Anthony Rizzo (#75) in addition to the previous year’s first rounder in Reymond Fuentes. Taveras is better than any of those guys and that’s obviously who the Yankees should ask for first. I think 27-year-old rookie and left-handed hitting utility man Matt Carpenter (125 wRC+ in 340 PA while playing first, second, third, left, and right this year) would be a great target as the third piece in a package.
The Yankees should start talks by asking for Taveras or Craig (who could play right, backup first, fake third if needed), Miller or Lynn or Rosenthal, plus Carpenter to round out the three-player package. St. Louis would say no and you negotiate down a bit from there, though I suppose the Bombers could add a player/prospect(s) to sweeten the pot on their end. Cano would have to net you a third high-end piece in addition to one of those arms and Carpenter though, he is the best second baseman in baseball with a below-market salary for 2013. I don’t think the Yankees will find a better trade partner for Cano than the Cardinals given their middle infield needs and prospect depth, but moving him would put a big dent in their attempt to contend in 2013.
This is not terribly surprising, but Mark Feinsand and Christian Red are reporting that Robinson Cano will not give the Yankees a hometown discount with his next contract. In fact, one source indicated he may seek an Alex Rodriguez-type contract. “He knows he’s the best player on the Yankees,” said the source. “There’s no reason for him not to be paid that way.”
Cano, 30, hit .313/.379/.550 (150 wRC+) this season and set career-highs in a number of offensive categories. He finished in the top six of the MVP voting for the third straight year and played at least 159 games for the sixth straight year. The current records for second base contracts are $15M annually (Cano and Ian Kinsler) and $85M total (Chase Utley), but Robbie is probably going to double that latter number. There’s no way he’ll get an A-Rod contract since all of baseball is looking at that albatross and laughing at the Yankees, but Cano didn’t hire Scott Boras last year to take any kind of discount.
Scott Boras took over the hotel lobby earlier this evening to discuss a number of topics with the media, and during the scrum he confirmed that he has not had any talks with the Yankees about a contract extension for Robinson Cano. That’s not terribly surprising, but it’s an update straight from the horse’s mouth. Given the market inflation we’ve seen so far this winter, it seems all but certain that Robbie will be able to fetch $200M+ on the open market next year.
MLB confirmed Robinson Cano will play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic next spring. Here’s the list of 23 players who are confirmed for the tournament so far. With Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, and Mariano Rivera all coming off surgery and Hiroki Kuroda already pulling out of the event, there’s a chance Cano will be the team’s only big league WBC representative. I suppose David Robertson could crack the Team USA bullpen, but that’s really it.
Unsurprisingly, Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera was named the MVP of the AL tonight and it wasn’t all that close. He received 22 of 28 first place votes (362 pts) and Mike Trout (281 pts) finished a distant second. For shame. Robinson Cano (149 pts) finished fourth behind Miggy, Trout, and Adrian Beltre (210 pts). Derek Jeter (73 pts) finished seventh, which does not trigger the $2M escalator for his 2014 player option. There are still enough bonuses available for him to max that thing out at $17M, though. Rafael Soriano (one eighth and one ninth place vote) and Raul Ibanez (one tenth place vote!) also received votes while Hiroki Kuroda got shutout. I was hoping he’s grab a vote or ten, but oh well.
On the NL side of things, Buster Posey (422 pts) beat out the trio of Ryan Braun (285 pts), Andrew McCutchen (245 pts), and Yadier Molina (241 pts) pretty handily. There were like, six guys who could have legitimately won that award, but no one noticed because of the Trout-Miggy stuff. The full ballots are here (AL, NL), and the awards season is mercifully over. On to the hot stove.
On his Twitter feed this morning, Robinson Cano announced that he officially became a U.S. citizen today. He even posted some photos of himself being sworn in, which are pretty neat. I can only assume this means he’ll now start over Dustin Pedroia at second base for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic next spring. In all seriousness, congrats to Robbie. That’s a pretty big deal.
Here is your open thread for the evening. Both the Knicks and Nets are playing tonight, so talk about those games or anything else here. Enjoy.
At the GM Meetings this week, Scott Boras told Dan Barbarisi and Joel Sherman that he speaks to Randy Levine and Brian Cashman several times a week and that the two sides will continue to discuss a contract extension for Robinson Cano. He expects Cano to play out the final year of his contract in 2013 before signing a new deal, however.
Cano, 30, is reportedly seeking ten years at “top-of-the-market dollars” with his next contract. Sherman hears that Robbie won’t take any kind of hometown discount after taking one with the four-year, $30M deal he signed prior to 2008. That contract has since swelled to six years and $57M thanks to the two club options that have since been exercised. Given the 2014 payroll plan, I find this whole situation to be both fascinating and terrifying.
Both Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano took him the Silver Slugger Awards for being the top offensive players at their respective positions, the league announced tonight. It’s Jeter’s fifth (2006-2009) and Cano’s fourth (2006, 2010-2011) Silver Slugger, and both were obviously well-deserving. No shenanigans here. The full list of winners can be found here.
For Jeter, the award triggers an escalator clause in his contract that raises the value of his 2014 player option by $1.5M. That sucker started out at $8M and is now worth $9.5M, and there are still enough escalators in play that would allow him to max it out at $17M.