Robinson Cano: 5 Potential Landing Spots During Free Agency
Gauging the Robinson Cano Sweepstakes
Heading into the 2013 offseason there is little doubt that Robinson Cano will be the top free agent available and for good reason. During the 2013 season the second baseman hit .314/.383/.516 with 41 doubles, 27 home runs and 107 RBI while playing in 160 games for the New York Yankees. When this offensive output is combined with the fact that Cano is arguably the best defensive second baseman in the game it is easy to see why he earned a 7.6 WAR, which ranked fifth in MLB.
This great 2013 season was by no means an aberration, as over the past five seasons Cano has averaged 160 games per year and a statistical line of .314/.369/.531 with 196 hits, 99 runs scored, 45 doubles, 28 home runs, and 103 RBI while also playing great defense. This annual level of production has won the second baseman three silver sluggers, two Gold Gloves and gained him entrance into four All-Star games -- an impressive outlay for anyone.
After looking at this output over the past five seasons there is no doubt that Cano is going to become a very rich man this winter. Reports have came out in recent months that he is in search of a MLB record 10 year, $310 million contract, leaving no doubt that Jay-Z's first client as a sports agent will be moving on to the highest bidder. Of course he may not hit a record breaking contract, but it is extremely likely that he will become the fifth player in league history to compile a $200 million deal.
When dollar amounts of this proportion are involved there is always a large portion of teams that have no chance of competing in the bidding. In fact there are only ten teams at most that could afford to dole out $200 million to one player, and of those teams even less will be in the market for a second baseman, dwindling down the realistic landing spots for Robinson Cano even further.
With this small marketplace and high dollar amount for Cano's services in mind we have taken the liberty of identifying the five teams that are realistic potential landing spots during free agency. Each of these teams fit the requirements that it will take to get the star second baseman and will likely combine to compete in the most interesting bidding war of the winter.
5. Washington Nationals
With only $81 million currently doled out in salary -- after spending $118.2 million in 2013 -- it is clear that the Washington Nationals will have some money to spend this offseason. After watching their second basemen combine to put up a statline of .252/.293/.377 with 11 home runs and 62 RBI it is also clear that the team could use a reliable source of power from the position. This available money and need for a second baseman makes the Nationals a perfect fit for Robinson Cano, whom they have been rumored to be interested in. This signing makes sense for both sides as the team would acquire a player that would likely help vastly improve an offense that scored the 15th most runs in MLB on the way to a disappointing 86-76 record and the player would gain a huge payday.
4. Detroit Tigers
After scoring the second most runs in MLB and advancing to the ALCS in 2013 some will surely wonder why the Detroit Tigers would even entertain signing Robinson Cano. But with second baseman Omar Infante's contract off the books there will be a void at second base, and team owner Mike Illitch has never been opposed to making a big splash during the offseason. Making this splash would place Torii Hunter, Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Cano in the same lineup, which could very well be the best stable of power hitters in baseball history. When this is combined with the potential pleasure of watching Cano and Jose Iglesias turn double plays for the foreseeable future it makes sense why Detroit could view signing the second baseman as the prelude to a 2014 World Series victory.
3. Texas Rangers
With Jurickson Profar and Ian Kinsler both under team control for the foreseeable future the Texas Rangers attempting to sign Robinson Cano would seem foolish at best. What this ignores is that the team has been shopping Kinsler for the last two years, and that Profar has by no means shown a bat capable of being an everyday player. With this lack of a sure bet at second base in mind it makes sense why the Rangers have been described as a front-runner for Cano's services, although they will have to trade away their current options before making the move.
2. Chicago Cubs
Since taking over as President of the Chicago Cubs in October of 2011 Theo Epstein has brought the organization through a major overhaul by getting rid of bad contracts and stockpiling young talent. Still the team went a disappointing 66-96 in 2013 and has yet to land a star position player via free agency. Making Cano this first big acquisition would both signal Epstein's intent to the world that it is possible to end the Cubs' 105 year run without winning the World Series and stick a thorn in the side of Yankees, his former hated rival. For Cano, signing on with Epstein and the Cubs would be an intent that money is the main object, and rest assured he would be getting a lot of it.
1. New York Yankees
Signing Robinson Cano during the offseason would appear to be a must for the New York Yankees, although they have made it clear a $300 million deal is off the table. It appears as if Cano is willing to play hard ball over this, in turn leaving the Yankees in the precarious position of losing their best player after missing the playoffs for the second time in 19 years. This is not a position the Yankees want to face, but if they wait too long to make a sufficient offer it will surely come back to bite them in a big way.