I previously defended Robinson Cano for leaving the New York Yankees and signing a 10 year, $240 million contract with the Seattle Mariners. Simply put, free agency is a huge part of baseball, the Yankees have fully taken advantage of it, and Cano did nothing wrong by taking the best available offer.
However, in an interview with Pedro Gomez, Cano claimed that leaving New York was not about dollars, but years. He felt disrespected by the Yankees’ seven-year, $175 million offer which would have made Cano a free agent again at age 38. The second baseman pointed out how the Yankees’ offer would have paid him $1 million more per year.
I can understand Cano seeking job security – he does not want to go through free agency again in his late 30s when there’s no guarantee a team will want him. But refusing to offer Cano a ten-year deal was not a sign of disrespect from the Yankees, it’s a sign that the organization is learning from past mistakes.
In 2007, the Yankees signed Alex Rodriguez to a ten-year, $275 million contract. After poor postseason play and a PED scandal that may leave the third baseman suspended for the 2014 season, the A-Rod saga has become an absolute debacle. Albert Pujols’ 10 year deal with the Los Angeles Angels has also been a total failure thus far. All this considered, the Yankees were correct in refusing to commit $24 million a year to a player in his 38, 39 and 40-year old seasons.
To be fair, Cano has never been linked with PEDs like Rodriguez nor has he been injury-prone like Pujols (he’s played in at least 159 games every year since 2007). Furthermore, Derek Jeter was given a ten-year contract in 2001. The difference is that Jeter was only 26 years old at the time of that deal.
As great a player as Cano is and as much as the Yankees wanted to keep him in the Bronx for the remainder of his career, they simply could not top Seattle’s bid. Cano should have said the Mariners made him an offer he couldn’t refuse – no one could fault him for that. But claiming he felt disrespected by a seven-year, $175 million offer is absolutely ridiculous.