In an article for the New York Post by Joel Sherman, an anonymous Yankee official was quoted saying "Do you think anyone buys a ticket to see Robbie Cano?", and Sherman goes on to explain all the reasons why Robinson Cano not being the media spectacle that Alex Rodriguez is is somehow a bad thing in the Yankees' eyes.
The Yankees have reportedly been interested in negotiating with their impending free agent second baseman in order to sign him to some kind of extension before he hits the open market later this year. It makes a world of sense for them to do everything they can to keep Cano, their best hitter by far, on the team without involving themselves in a guaranteed bidding war for the best player available to the highest bidder this offseason. However, Sherman poses the idea that maybe the Yankees are reluctant because Cano doesn't bring the superstar factor that someone like Alex Rodriguez does.
If you told me that the Yankees were reluctant to give Cano another enormous deal to add to their numerous lengthy obligations, that would make sense. Being reluctant because people are unconcerned with who Cano happens to be dating, as Sherman says? That's ridiculous.
Fans and media have spent years condemning A-Rod for being such a lightning rod that draws attention away from what happens on the field and onto his personal life and outside distractions. Suddenly, that's the marketability that the Yankees are looking for? Ratings and attendance are down, but to place the blame for that at the doorstep of Cano being merely a star and not a superstar sounds like desperately grasping for straws. Since when is what happens on the field a secondary concern to how often a player's name pops up in tabloids? There is no way to know who this "anonymous source" is, or how much influence they have in the front office operations, but the fact that anyone labeled a Yankee official would say something like that is at least slightly concerning.
It is no secret that the New York media is a special brand of vicious, but it seems a little absurd that a team would seek out attention of any kind over attention solely from being one of the best players in baseball. I don't care who Robinson Cano dates, or who he hangs out with on off days, or where he vacations in the winter. My only concern lies with what Cano produces on the field, and he has really been a top tier player for years. Since 2010, Cano ranks only behind Miguel Cabrera and Joey Votto in fWAR. He's been remarkably durable, missing nearly no time in recent memory. That is the player that the Yankees have the chance to retain as a cornerstone of their offense going forward. To hesitate on the matter because he isn't photographed with the most popular actress of the month like some other players are makes no sense.
The contract that Cano gets this season, from the Yankees or another team, will likely look unfortunate toward the end like most long contracts do. Cano has been a model citizen and is set to become the next face of the franchise if he manages to outlast Derek Jeter's tenure. If winning is what counts, Cano should be seen as an indispensable part of the team for at least the next few years.
I place plenty of the blame on the media for constantly creating drama out of Alex Rodriguez, though he has brought plenty of it on himself over the years. When you play in New York, some of that is to be expected without question. However, the suggestion that fans do not buy tickets to see one of the best players in MLB right now play because they haven't been subjected to a steady stream of personal information about them seems like the team cares more about spectacle to draw people in than the production. If that's the case, to the point that it is actively standing in the way of extension negotiations, maybe they don't deserve Cano to stay anyway.