Robinson Cano is in the final year of his contract with the New York Yankees, and will surely be testing the waters of free agency this offseason. On Thursday, it was reported that Cano is seeking a 10-year-deal worth $305 million. With that news, it seems to me that it is not a forgone conclusion he will remain a Yankee, and will probably go to the highest bidder.
Cano is obviously one of the premier talents in MLB, and would fit well on every single team in the game. In a big market like the Windy City and with a relatively inexpensive team currently on the field, I wonder whether the Chicago Cubs should make a strong offer to Cano.
First of all, Cano is not going to get $300 million from anybody. That deal would make him the highest-paid player in the history of professional sports. While Cano is certainly an incredible player, he is simply not worth that much. There are two teams that I currently see as the front-runners for Cano. The Yankees are one of course, and the other are the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers are going to be a serious player for Cano. Nothing against Mark Ellis, but they do have a hole at 2B, and money does not seem to be an issue with their new ownership group. I would not be surprised to see Cano in Dodger blue next season.
When it comes to the Cubs, I think Cano does make some sense. While the team has certainly struggled the past few seasons, there is some nice talent in the organization. Starlin Castro had a down year in 2013, but he is still very young and the talent is certainly there. Anthony Rizzo, Travis Wood and Jeff Samardzija are also nice pieces for the Cubs, and they have one of the best farm systems in all of baseball.
Add an elite talent like Cano, and if top prospect Javier Baez reaches the majors next season and performs well, I wonder if this team could compete for a playoff spot. Even if they do not immediately become contenders, the future seems to be bright for the Cubs and Cano would be a perfect piece to put them over the top. You have to spend on the players when they are free agents, because a guy like this is not available very often.
Because they are a big market team and the major league salary is lower in the past, you would assume that the Cubs would have enough money to sign Cano if they wish. However, many people wonder whether the Cubs are in a position to be spending like that. They are getting ready to start an extremely expensive renovation to Wrigley Field, and there are rumors that the Ricketts family wants to cut back on spending to help pay off the loans used to buy the team.
Regardless if the money is there or not, I do not think signing Cano is in the best interest of the Cubs. He turns 31 in October, so he probably only has one or two seasons left in his prime. While I obviously like Cano’s talent, I also wonder how his power will translate outside of Yankee Stadium, where the extremely short right field porch plays perfectly in to his left-handed power swing.
The Cubs are in the middle of completely rebuilding this team from the ground up. Giving Cano a monster contract like he will demand could completely ruin the rebuild if he does not perform. Cubs president Theo Epstein has been burned before by big contracts when he was with the Boston Red Sox. I am sure he will be thinking twice before giving hundreds of millions of dollars to anybody.
It is nice to think about, but in the end, I do not think the Cubs will be serious player for Cano, nor should they be. He will certainly command a huge contract from the Yankees, Dodgers or whoever else gets in the mix. The Cubs need to continue to patiently rebuild this team. With a few solid young pieces at the major league level and an absolutely loaded minor league system. The future is bright for the Cubs, and there’s no need to risk that with a monster signing like this just yet.