The Seattle Mariners are reportedly about to offer Robinson Cano a 10-year deal worth at least $230 million. If the Mariners decide to give that kind of contract to Cano and he decides to go with the money, the New York Yankees should let him go to the Pacific Northwest instead of panicking and proposing an even bigger contract to keep him on the team.
Despite being the Yankees’ top priority and being the best free agent available on the market, it simply does not make sense for the Yankees to sign Cano for that many years and that much money. At age 31, any team signing Cano to a 10-year contract is playing with fire. There is a very good chance the majority of that contract will be a bad one.
Sure, Cano will probably put up excellent numbers during the first three or four years of the contract with the Mariners. He is the best second baseman in the game, after all. But once that fifth year rolls around and Cano is 36, those numbers will inevitably start to dip, making the contract a headache for the team and the fans.
The Yankees need to look at the history of teams giving players 10-year contracts, which has included themselves (on more than one occasion), and come to the realization they just can’t make that kind of offer to Cano. It is not smart in baseball to offer players contracts spanning a decade. Usually, which is also the case with Cano, by the time a baseball player gets to the point in his career when he can demand that kind of contract he is on the back end of his prime years.
The newer and better strategy, which is one that is gaining momentum around the league, is to either sign a player nearing his mid-30s to a short-term contract or take a chance and lock up a young player with a multi-year contract early on in his career, like the savvy Tampa Bay Rays did when they signed Evan Longoria back in 2008.
In the end, if the Mariners officially offer Cano a $240 million contract and he winds up taking the money and running to Seattle it might not be the worst thing in the world for the Yankees to sit back and let him go. In fact, it might actually be a blessing in disguise.
With the $175 million the Yankees were willing to give Cano now available to spend any way they want, the front office could focus on filling the various needs that the team has to address before the start of Spring Training. Brian Cashman can spend that money on starting pitching or even a guy like Omar Infante, who can play several infield positions including second base and is a player the Yankees have expressed some interest in during the Cano negotiations.
It looks like the Yankees are digging in and are not willing to break the bank on Cano. It’s a decision they won’t regret.