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Yankees Notes: Cano contract, Hughes should go, draft pick reality & more


Nobody asked me, but I think:

- The Yankees shouldn't go any longer than six years on Robinson Cano's new contract. If they don't think they can get it done for six years, they should see what they can get for him via trade, and decide if they'd rather have that return or the draft pick. Second basemen have a history of falling off very quickly in their early thirties, and Cano's production against lefties the last season and a half isn't a good sign. From 2007-2011, he hit .306/.351/.505 in 1090 plate appearances against lefties, with an OPS+ never lower than 126. Since the start of last season, he's hit .236/.303/.347 in 389 PAs against lefties, with an OPS+ of 101 last year and 102 so far this year.

- The decision to let Nick Swisher leave was a good one. Forget about his production being down halfway through the season (okay, I haven't forgotten: .231/.331/.393, 104 OPS+); locking up a good, but not great, player for his age 32-35 seasons is exactly the type of move the Yankees need to avoid.

- Speaking of letting free agents leave, Phil Hughes is going to sign with a non-AL East team in a pitcher's park and look a lot closer to the guy we hoped he would be than to the guy he has been. Here's some numbers from 2010 through his most recent start:

Location IP ERA WHIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Home 273.1 4.97 1.346 7.5 2.7 1.7
Away 245 4.11 1.278 7.3 2.6 1.0

His WHIP, K/9 and BB/9 are all nearly identical at home and on the road, but he allows HRs 75% more often at home. I can't blame Hughes one bit if he can't wait to sign with the Angels, Mariners, Dodgers or Padres.

- Generally speaking, the Yankee fan base is too impatient for the team to have a farm system that churns out players every year like the Cardinals, Rangers, Rays, or other organizations. While this could be a post of it's own, briefly consider that the Cardinals have averaged 88 wins per season over the last five years, never winning more than 91 and missing the playoffs twice. The Giants have averaged 86 wins per season, with a high of 94 and one losing season. They won the World Series twice, but missed the playoffs the other three seasons. The Red Sox have averaged 88 wins, winning 95 twice but losing 93 once, and missing the playoffs the last three years. The Rays have averaged 92 wins per season, with three playoff appearancess. The Rangers have averaged 89 wins per season, with three playoff appearances and one losing season.

The Yankees? They've averaged 96 wins per season, with four playoff appearances, and the sky was falling in 2008 when they "only" won 89 games and missed the playoffs for the only time in 18 years. The more you win, the lower your draft picks. The more free agents you sign, the fewer draft picks you get. The fewer draft picks you have, and the lower they are, the tougher it is to build a strong farm system and supply the big leauge team with solid replacements.

- Despite the emotional trauma and frustration that led to it, the fact that David Adams, Austin Romine, Zoilo Almonte, Thomas Neal, Corban Joseph, Preston Claiborne, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno are getting the chance to get their feet wet in the majors this year will be important two or three years from now. Think back to 2008 - the "disaster" year when they missed the playoffs (even though they won 89 games). Brett Gardner had his first 141 PAs, David Robertson pitched his first 30 innings, ditto Alfredo Aceves, and Phil Coke his first 14. I'm not saying that the players getting their first significant action this year will be major contributors to a World Series winner the next year like those four, but all good players need the chance to break in and struggle. You can't learn to hit major league pitcing at Triple-A.

- I might as well throw this out there now - do we take the hand "z" done for "Zoltan!" in "Dude, Where's My Car" and give it to Zoilo Almonte?

- I've been saying for at least 12 years that Alex Rodriguez should shut up.

- I found a new way to describe how bad the offense has been. With 293 runs scored through 75 games, the Yankees are on a pace to score 633 runs this season. That would be almost 40 fewer runs than the team scored in 1994, when the strike ended the season after 112 games.

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