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Robinson Cano and New York Yankees very far apart on deal

  • David Whitlock

What’s $150M between friends? Well, I guess you’ll find out how close of friends you are.  According to CBS Sports Baseball Insider Jon Heyman, the New York Yankees and prized 2B free agent Robinson Cano are about to find out.

The Yankees and free agent second baseman Robinson Cano have made no progress for weeks in contract talks, as Cano remains at $310 million with the Yankees holding steady at bit more than half that.  The Yankees’ offer of several weeks ago is believed to have been for about $160 million over seven years, perhaps slightly more than that. Cano’s $310 million request is over 10 years.

There’s a lot of moving parts in this deal.  First of all, the Yankees, believe it or not, do not have a limitless budget.  They’ve been trying for a few years (unsuccessfully mind you) to get under the salary at which they (consistently) pay a luxury tax.

Is Robinson Cano biting his nails over the terms of his next deal?  (Credit: AP)

Is Robinson Cano biting his nails over the terms of his next deal?
(Credit: AP)

There is a lot of uncertainty on the Alex Rodriguez situation.  With $86M in committed salary over the next four years (plus home run bonuses), a chunk of their payroll may be already be accounted for.  I say “may” because if Rodriguez is suspended for 211 games, the Yankees are relieved from about 30% of that burden.  With A-Rod’s health and performance deteriorating, it’s the worst kept secret in baseball that the Yankees are tacitly cheering for a guilty verdict.

The Yankees, quite frankly, are more than one player away from a title.  And this is a player they already had last year and didn’t even make the playoffs.  The 2013 World Series champion (and Yankees bitter rival) Boston Red Sox filled half a dozen needs with the type of money Cano might make in one year.  The era of loading up on one or two players seems to be ending.

The Yankees don’t know what they are going to get out of soon-to-be-40-year-old Derek Jeter.  Hampered by injuries, few expect him to perform at his prime level, but at $12M for 2014, there is another salary sucker for their overall payroll.

And who is Robinson Cano’s agent? Oh yes, Jay-Z.  Cano is his first major client and his future as an agent may hinge upon the perceived value (by other players) of this deal.  If he hits a home run, he may own the entire industry.  If he taps a soft one to the pitcher, he may need to head back to the music studio to make a living.

I think Cano is in a pickle.  There are few teams (if any) that can pay what he wants.  Teams are just not willing to commit that much to single players in today’s climate.  The risk versus reward is too much (frankly, the chance of outperforming the deal is like 10%, the chance of underperforming is like 75%).

The Cano saga will likely head into January or February, at which point, Jay-Z will earn his money. And Cano will get his payday.  But for how much?

– David Whitlock

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David Whitlock

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David (a.k.a. Longhorndave or lhd_on_sports) joined the staff late in the 2012 season and moved to Site Manager in early 2013. A lifelong Houston Astros fan (and mini-season ticket holder for 9 years) he attends 20+ games per year. A statistics freak, David still keeps score the "old fashioned way" on occasion (and has kept manual score of World Series games since 1986 and retains the sheets). He was a featured guest weekly on the Phil Naessens Show. He is also a Texas Longhorns alumnus and huge football and baseball fan of his alma mater. When he isn't watching or writing about baseball, he works as a contractor at NASA Johnson Space Center. He lives by the mantra "a bad day at the ballpark is better than a good day anywhere else."

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