It was just announced that Robinson Cano agreed to a $240 mm dollar deal to sign with the Seattle Mariners. I am just upset about it as most fans are. However, the beat must go on. In that regard, who can the Yankees replace Cano with? In the literal sense, the answer is no one. There is no current second baseman available who currently projects to match the most recent production of Cano. While the Yankees may move toward securing the closest talent available to his production via other positions, e.g, by signing Shin Soo Choo or Carlos Beltran, the Yankees still have to replace Cano and I would like to see them do a good job of it.
My first inclination would be to try to make a trade with Seattle for Nick Franklin. The Mariners now have an overabundance of infielders both in the majors and who are major league ready but yet they are still a bad team with a lot of needs. Franklin is a nice second base prospect but yet not of the kind of trade piece that someone like Oscar Taveras or Byron Buxton is. While I cannot assume who would it take to trade for Franklin, the Yankees should have enough ingenuity between bullpen pieces, minor league prospects at varying levels and maybe fringe MLB starters to put together a package to land Franklin. He might not be Cano but he is good, young and cheap piece to build around.
Another guy that I like though he is less likely to be available, is Jason Kipnis. I doubt that he is available but I would ask. With both Francisco Lindor and Dorssys Paulino both rising middle infield prospects, it is possible that Kipnis could be traded to make room for these guys if the Indians could strengthen other needs. While I believe this is less likely, Kipnis is a great overall talent who is rising nicely.
One more interest option is Howie Kendrick. While not a stud, he does everything decently. The Angels have a number of second base options but have a pretty bad minor league system. The right package might be able to get him.
A name to consider is Starlin Castro. The Cubs are a team of the future. They need pieces more than they need any one player as they are not currently remotely a contender. Castro is coming off a bad year but still is a heck of a talent with a lot of upside. He could be an answer at shortstop or second base. Again, while I cannot presume what pieces it would take, the same concept that I used for Seattle could entice the Cubs more or less.
One player I do not want but whose name I have heard about numerous times before Cano signed this deal, is Brandon Phillips. He is on the downturn and he seems to have a habit of rubbing people the wrong way. Godd trade pieces should be used for a shiny new piece, not a grumpy, deteriorating one.
There are other minor league options that may make sense as well, but to me, these would seem to be the best options at the moment. Any other suggestions?