For the past nine seasons the New York Yankees have been spoiled with Robinson Cano at second base. Not only was Cano reliable, but he was durable as well (over 120 games each season). Now, with Cano jumping ship for the Seattle Mariners, the Yankees are in search of an infielder that can make the loss of Robby sting a little less.
First and foremost, it is unrealistic to expect the Yankees to find a second baseman on the market that produced at the rate that Cano did during his time in pinstripes. When it is all said and done, Robinson Cano may go down as one of the best hitting second basemen to ever play the game of baseball. Through his first nine seasons, Cano has put up numbers that are equal to or better than all 19 second basemen currently in the Hall of Fame, including his idol Jackie Robinson. Therefore, New York needs to forget about matching Cano’s bat and focus instead on replacing his glove.
It is often forgotten how reliable Cano is in the field due to how good he is with a bat. The second baseman was often criticized early on in his career for not hustling to balls. But it is now understood that he is just that good. Since 2010, Cano has committed only 25 errors. Compare that to Omar Infante‘s 42 errors, and one realizes just how good Cano was in New York.
The Yankees had chances to upgrade at second base in terms of fielding with Mark Ellis and Brandon Phillips, who have both committed less errors than Cano since 2010. However, neither player is worth the price that was being asked. The Cincinnati Reds wanted too much talent in return for Phillips. Ellis wanted too much money compared to what he has to offer as a 36-year-old infielder.
And so it is nearing the New Year and the New York Yankees have Kelly Johnson penciled in as the starting second baseman. This must change before Opening Day. Although Johnson is useful in the sense that he can play multiple positions, his average glove and below average bat are sure to frustrate the Yankees organization and fans throughout 2014.
As the offseason continues to progress, the availability of second basemen worthy of replacing Robinson Cano dwindles. The New York Yankees have some huge holes to fill in the infield. Second base is just the start.