Robinson Cano must be out of his mind. That is the only way to explain his asking the New York Yankees for $310 million or even $250 million. If this is how Jay-Z’s new agency expects to make their way in this business perhaps they should just stick to rap and hip-hop because there isn’t a ballplayer alive that is worth that kind of money. For that price the Yankees should just let Cano walk.
Cano is already 31-years-old. Middle infielders don’t tend to hold up too well in their mid-thirties. Remember Roberto Alomar? When he turned 34 he went from posting a .336/.415/.541 slash line with 20 homers and 100 RBI to .266/.331/.376 the following year and was traded from the Cleveland Indians to the New York Mets. He would never reach double-digit homers after his age-34 season.
Joe Morgan is considered one of the best second basemen to ever play the game. At age 32, Morgan posted a .320/.444/.576 line with 27 home runs, 111 RBI and 113 runs scored. The next season, at age 33, Morgan was down to .288/.417/.478 with 22 homers, 78 RBI and 113 runs scored. At age 34, Morgan was hitting .236/.347/.385 and his homers dropped to 13 and he scored only 68 runs.
Ryne Sandberg is another example. At age 30, Sandberg led the NL in home runs with 40. He added a .306/.354/.559 slash line. At age 31, Sandberg was down to 26 home runs and a .291/.379/.485 slash line. His age 31 season was still very good, especially for a second baseman. At 32, Sandberg would again hit 26 homers. By 33-years-old, however, Sandberg began to break down and hit only nine home runs and appeared in 117 games. At 34, he appeared in only 57 games and hit only five home runs. He missed his age-35 season. He did come back strong in his age-36 season and clubbed 25 homers but he hit just .244/.316/.444. The next season, his age-37 season, Sandberg hit only 12 homers and .264/.308/.403. He retired after that season.
Cano has been a constant in the Yankees’ lineup since 2005. He is arguably one of the best players in the game. He is, however, 31 and one has to wonder how much Cano really has left to offer the Yankees. Middle infielders tend to turn into pumpkins when they hit their mid-thirties. Is signing Cano to a huge deal really worth only three or four years of production? Can the Yankees live with themselves when they are paying Cano at age 37 and he is producing .250/.320/.400 slash lines? Will he even be healthy enough to play at 37-years-old?
The Yankees are an aging team and there will be oodles of money coming off the books by that time. Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and C.C. Sabathia will be off the books in six years. Depending on who the Yankees sign in free agency this year and over the next couple of years maybe they see Cano’s future albatross of a contract as something they are willing to carry. Maybe they really have no choice.
Without Cano, the Yankees’ lineup is pedestrian at best and probably worse than that given the age and injuries that have piled up. Cano does make the Yankees’ lineup deeper and better but at what cost? Do the Yankees give Cano the largest contract in the history of the game for what could only be three or four, or maybe five years, of above replacement level production? Do they run the risk of him leaving and burden themselves with what could be the worst contract in the history of sports?
If Cano doesn’t budge then neither should the Yankees. Let him walk. He is, in reality, not worth much more than $150 million. He will make more because he is a superstar at a premium position and there is some money to spend among teams. However, that doesn’t mean it has to be the Yankees. Sure, they should make an effort, offer him the most they are willing to offer and then let Cano test the market. If another team wants to go higher say good-bye.