So, this is what it feels like for other teams’ fans when the New York Yankees throw truck loads of money at their best players and sign them away from their original teams.
Robinson Cano has agreed to a 10 year, $240 million contract with the Seattle Mariners. A home grown star for New York, he spent the first nine years of a (so-far) phenomenal career in pinstripes. He is a five-time All-Star, five-time Silver Slugger, two-time Gold Glove winner, finished in the top six in MVP voting in each of the past four seasons, and won a World Series in 2009. And now, he’s a Mariner. This sucks.
Still, the Yankees can’t really complain about a player leaving his original team for a bigger pay day. They invented the “big free agent acquisition” when they made Catfish Hunter the highest-paid player in baseball in 1974. Three years later, they brought in Reggie Jackson and have continued the strategy of signing the best payers available ever since (e.g. Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury). Free agency is a huge part of the modern game – so much so that there’s wide spread support for inducting Marvin Miller into the Hall of Fame – and the Yankees have utilized it more than any other organization. You hate to see Cano go, but that’s the business side of baseball.
This is why Yankees fans need to stop calling Cano “selfish” and a “traitor” and whatever other names you can think of that convey he’s done anything wrong. Those that continue to do so ought to ask the Steinbrenners to build a new stadium made entirely of glass where they can throw stones at the second baseman when the Mariners come to town.
I honestly thought Cano was going to remain a Yankee, and I imagine he would have preferred to stay in New York, but baseball is Cano’s profession, and like basically every other human being, he wants to make as much money as possible in his line of work. Who can blame him for that? He didn’t stab the Yankees in the back by signing with Seattle. He’s simply taking advantage of a system that allows him to make ridiculous sums of cash for playing a game – the same system that has helped the Yankees become the most successful franchise in sports.
You want to chastise him for his lack of hustle? Fine. I agree with you. You want to criticize him for signing with a mediocre team that plays in a pitcher’s park? Terrific. Curtis Granderson may very well be making the same mistake. But don’t vilify Cano because a team other than the Yankees made him a better offer.