I, like most Yankee fans, have been unhappy and continue to be unhappy that Robinson Cano is no longer a Yankee. However, admittedly, it was not until recently that I realized how bothered I was about the Yankees' handling of the matter. Looking back, I have to say that I was in a bit of denial until recently. After all the Yankees added some nice players, and cumulatively, added more quality position players than they lost. While none of the additions are the twenty something year olds that the Yankees are sorely lacking, the reality is, those options are largely not there for the Yankees for a variety reasons we are all aware of, and the Yankees added players who arguably were the biggest upgrades possible. Nonetheless, none of that made losing the Yankees' best player feel okay, but rather added a superficial and temporary buffer to the offseason. Yet, as time passes by, the momentum of player movement has dwindled, and then the thoughts about Cano being an ex-Yankee began to pervade my mind.
Notably, the Yankees' additions of mediocre options for second base since Cano's departure only stokes the fire. Not only have the Yankees lost Cano but they have effectively, or should I say ineffectively replaced him to date with what seems like 2014's version of Lyle Overbay, Vernon Wells, Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner, etc., guys who have done little in recent years and/or who have the inability to stay healthy historically. Plus, should, as most of us suspect will happen, Alex Rodriguez be suspended for a large portion of the year, the Yankees seem to have that same kind of below average replacement in waiting as they did last year as well. For all of said reasons, the loss of Cano feels even worse now, at least to me, sthen when he initailly chose Seattle.
Notwithstanding the aforesaid, I do not believe and have never believed that the Yankees should have matched Seatle's offer to Robinson Cano. Ten years, $240 million is a huge overpay. The Yankees have the right to draw a line in the sand and a contract like the past ones given to Rodriguez and Albert Pujols have worked out poorly, as has seemingly every other contract of that magnitude for a player in his 30s. However, what escapes me is, and what I feel like the Yankees owe its fans an answer for is, why did not the Yankees offer Cano 8 years, $200 million, when given a last opportunity to retain Cano?
In my mind, I continually told myself that there is no way Cano would have accepted that deal. To date, I still believe that he was not likely to. However, why should we have to guess? I, and I think many fans feel this way, would have liked to see him offered it, and then turned it down at least, before going to Seattle, provided he made such a choice. Therein lies the rub. Now, we will never know for certain whether the Yankees could have retained him. While I like Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, none of them are as good as Cano. More importantly, Cano was a homegrown Yankee, all star and possible future Hall of Famer, and would have been someone Yankee fans could have cheered for when Jeter is done. Now, there will be no one until the Yankees hopefully develop someone else, but yet with no one immediately on the horizon or who has performed at a high enough level to excite us.
Speaking of Ellsbury, it his contract and no one else's that makes the $200 million question so significant and unavoidable. Specifically, the issue is not so much whether Ellsbury's contract was an overpay or not but rather the extent the Yankees were willing to go for him and not Cano. In that regard, it is not the annual average value that creates the issue so much as it is the length of the contract. Cano's annual average value from the Yankees was where it should be and was never trumped. Yet, the Yankees gave the less sturdy (even if someone wants to argue the same was a fluke) Ellsbury seven years with an eight year option, but not only give Cano seven years and nothing further. The Yankees own star, who was not only a better player over the course of his career than Ellsbury to date, but also was consistently healthy, and was a homegrown Yankee, was given a shorter contract offer. I just do not get it. Had the Yankees signed Ellsbury for 5 or 6 years, I would understand it more. Then the Yankees could say that they determined that 6 or 7 years was the most risk they would consider taking after being burned in the past. However, they cannot make that argument now.
I want an answer. I believe the Yankees owe its fans an answer. It is bad enough to be looking at second base with the likes of Dean Anna, Brian Roberts, and Kelly Johnson (assuming that these guys are both healthy and with the team over the course of the year), but to see that the reason the Yankees may have been in this position is because they failed to offer Cano one more year on his contract is downright preposterous.
Footnote: I, like many fans, am zealous for the Yankees to at least find someone solid to replace Cano, at least in the loosest of senses. Because of the same, it is quite possible that I am over estimating their ability to land a second baseman of more value than the current options on the Yankees. While I realize that no one can say for certain what players can be had from what teams and whether the Yankees have the pieces to make a smart trade to get a quality second baseman, I fail to understand why there are not constant rumors of the Yankees making significant efforts to get Nick Franklin or Dustin Ackley or someone else with solid projectible ability. While attaining those guys might not be plausible, the seeming lack of effort is bothersome. Yankees' fans often times cite the lack of farm performance and pieces as justification for the lack of movement of this type. Yet, I have seen the White Sox, Nationals, et al., make deals for significant players to fill significant needs while giving up lesser prospects than the Yankees have to offer. In fact, the White Sox have a terrible farm system. So why cannot the Yankees do it?