If you were trying to ignore what happened on Thursday night, I'm sorry to tell you this, but Robinson Cano officially signed his contract with the Seattle Mariners. He is now owed $240 million over 10 years and is going to have to hope his new team can actually compete with him. At one point Cano was asked about how the Yankees treated him:
Asked if he felt #Yankees wanted him back: "Honestly, I'd have to say no," said Cano. "I didn't feel respect."— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) December 12, 2013
Let's all step back and realize that it's hard to say someone is disrespected when they are offered $175 million to perform a job. But back in baseball world, the Mariners gave $65 million more than the Yankees, who always bid the most on the players they want. Always. Even when they bid against themselves.
Yet the Yankees were suddenly on a budget, despite their failure of a season, despite the loss of about $30 million in ticket revenue. Instead of locking in their best player, they played hardball. Gave Derek Jeter $12 million for no reason at all and wasted $153 million on Jacoby Ellsbury instead of trying to extend Brett Gardner for much less.
Offering $175 million to the best player on the open market who has been your best player for years when you then give $153 million to an inferior player, is not the best way to treat "your guy." Yes, it's hard to see how all those dollars mean they didn't want him, but again, these are baseball dollars.
I'm of the opinion that if the Yankees had been more aggressive, and reasonable, in contract talks, it never would have escalated to the level it did. Those details don't matter now, but when you're negotiating, you have to actually negotiate. When your best player comes back to you, asking you to top the offer he received because he sure as hell didn't want to be a Mariner, the respectful thing is to not go from $170 million to $175 million. That's like a spit in the face, at least that's what it probably felt like for Cano.
The Yankees take care of their guys, they always have. Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte. All those guys were given contracts they likely didn't deserve, but not Cano. When it came time to honor "their guy," the Yankees played hardball and closed their purse. Randy Levine claims that "If $175 million isn't trying I don't know what is," but, by understanding the thin market this offseason, it was clear that he was never going to accept that.
The Yankees didn't want Cano, they just fished around long enough to make it look like they cared. Then they talked about how he wanted the money, which makes absolutely no sense, coming from the Yankees. I guess those reports that they didn't think people come to see Cano were true. If they did, they would have paid up, not taken a stance.