Usually when a player is in their free agency year, they tend to deliver one of the most productive seasons of their career. This is a walk year for the New York Yankees second-baseman Robinson Cano. This means, in theory, he should be putting up numbers never before seen, and that is what most people believed he would do.
Cano is 30 years old and has been an All-Star the past three years. He is in the prime of his career, and this is his time to carry the Yankees, especially with the extraordinary amount of injuries that have plagued the team. The problem is he’s not living up to his career numbers, and definitely not surpassing them, in order to enhance his upcoming contract.
There are a number of possible reasons why Cano is batting a pedestrian .276 and a measly .230 versus left-handed pitching; usually, it doesn’t matter which hand the pitcher throws with to Cano. He has no one to protect him in the lineup. Pitchers simply do not have to throw quality pitches to him, because if they do walk him, he has players like Vernon Wells batting behind him when there is a left-hander on the mound. For example, Wells is batting .233 and has eight hits in his last 66 at bats. When there is a righty on the mound, manager Joe Girardi has to bat a lefty in the first four to five spots in the lineup because of the lack of right-handed hitting on the current roster. And when it gets late in a close game, the opposing manager just puts in a good lefty specialist and the heart of the lineup is neutralized. It is just a bad situation for Cano.
There might be pressure on Cano to produce this year because of his looming free agency, although previously it was thought that pressure did not get to the smooth second-baseman. But after his dreadful postseason last year when he was supposed to come out of his shell and carry the team to the World Series, it isn’t really a surprise. I’m not saying that Cano caves under pressure, but it is something to consider.
All in all, Cano is still going to start in the All-Star Game for the American League on July 16, and he is going to get a massive contract from someone in the offseason if the Yankees cannot agree on an extension before free agency hits (it is usually Yankees policy not to negotiate contract extensions before free agency). But the Yankees will obviously be reluctant to give a 30-year-old second-baseman a 10-year contract, which is around the number of years Cano is looking for, with another contract lingering from a third-baseman that went horribly wrong.