Robinson Cano is the biggest prize on the free agent market this year. Spending his career to this point with the New York Yankees, Cano has become a model of consistency. Re-signing with baseball’s richest team wouldn’t seem to be a problem. However, with the Yankees holding back on their spending and Cano looking for a 10-year, $300 million dollar contract, the two could be parting ways.
This does ask the question, how much is Cano worth? New York isn’t unfamiliar with handing out big contracts as Alex Rodriguez got a new 10-year deal back in 2007. Let us compare Cano with others who received big-time deals.
Rodriguez’s deal was worth $275 million, giving him an annual salary of $27.5 million. At the time, Rodriguez was considered by many to be the best player in the game. His first four years with the Yankees gave him averages of 43 home runs, a .303 BA, 128 runs batted in and a 7.45 WAR. Compare that to Cano, who averaged this over the past four years: 29 home runs, 107 runs batted in, .312 BA, and a 7.2 WAR.
While the home runs and RBI are a big difference, Cano had a better average and missed A-Rods WAR by .25. With the numbers not being very different, the Yankees handing out a A-Rod type contract to Cano wouldn’t be crazy. Of course, A-Rod’s contract has also been hampered with injuries and controversy.
Say Cano isn’t worth a 10-year deal. What about an eight-year deal? In the winter of 2008, Mark Teixeira signed an eight-year deal with the Yankees worth $180 million ($22.5 million per year). The four years prior to Teixeira signing the deal, he averaged the following: 35 home runs, 120 RBIs, .299 BA and 5.775 WAR. In this case, Cano has a decent increase in WAR and again a good margin in batting average.
Cano may have more leverage than some people have thought. He stacks up well against A-Rod and surpasses Teixeira. The 10-year contact may scare teams off because of A-Rod and even Albert Pujols, who has underperformed since joining the Los Angeles Angels on his own big-time deal.
However, the stats back up Cano in his argument for money. If he lowers the years on his asking price, he should be back in pinstripes next year.
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