Yankees Robinson Cano backup plan

Chris Gardner

This could get ugly.

Yankees team president Randy Levine recently stated that the Yankees have a "Plan B, C and D in place" in case Robinson Cano leaves as a free agent. Here is what I imagine their backup plans could be:

Plan B: Omar Infante

Infante is the second-best free agent second baseman on the market behind Robinson Cano and he will be substantially cheaper. In 2013, he had the best offensive year of his career (117 wRC+), but he has a career 92 wRC+, just under league-average. His defense was bad (-5 DRS), but between 2010-2012 he saved 13 defensive runs, so he has the ability in him. He might be the same age as Cano, but he will require a much smaller deal. A four-year, $40 million could be all it takes, if at all. Infante will be a decent addition, but he'll be hitting at the bottom of the lineup, so he won't be much of a replacement for Cano.

Plan C: Brandon Phillips

That basically ends the market for second basemen, so the Yankees would have to look into a trade. We all know the Yankees would probably want to trade for Phillips first, but their lack of top prospects could end up leaving their farm barren. The Reds already have their own catching logjam with Devin Mesoraco, Ryan Hanigan, and Brayan Pena, so they're not going to want one of the Yankees' many catchers. Phillips is a league-average hitter (96 wRC+) and an inconsistent fielder (DRS over the last five years: 2, 10, 6, 11, 1), so he's not exactly the next Cano. He's a year older and is still owed $50 million over the next four years. The Reds seem pretty adamant about getting rid of their loudmouth second baseman, so it would likely come down to how much money they're willing to eat.

Plan D: Dan Uggla

Uggla is terrible, but that doesn't mean the Yankees won't be interested in his 30-home run potential. He had the worst season of his career, hitting career-highs in K% (31.8) and a career-low triple slash (.179/.309/.362), culminating in his banishment from the Braves' playoff roster. He's 33 and still owed $26 million, so he sounds like someone the Yankees could get at the cost of very few prospects if they take most of the contract on. The thing about him, though, is that if Yankee fans are disappointed with Mark Teixeira, they'll absolutely hate Uggla. He's an awful defender (-63 DRS) and has shown to have trouble against left-handers (73 wRC+ in 2013), so he'll be a really bad replacement for Cano. That doesn't mean it won't happen.

When it's all said and done, hopefully the Yankees keep Cano, because the alternatives and the plan B's won't be very enjoyable for any of us.

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