Browsing Posts tagged Robinson Cano

‘You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone.’

Last week, Robinson Cano and the Seattle Mariners agreed to a 10-year, $240 million contract. Seattle and Cano agreed on the fourth largest contract in MLB history, trailing only A-Rod (x2) and Albert Pujols. To most Yankees fans, Cano’s departure came as a shock. The Yankees lost a home grown, marquee player in the prime of his career to another team in free agency. Cano, 31, will take his 1,649 career hits and .309/.355/.504 slash to the Pacific Northwest. The Yankees made a valiant effort to retain the talented second baseman, offering him $25 million/year over the course of seven seasons. The mystique and aura of pinstripes captivates many players, but in free agency, dollars talk and Cano was more than willing to listen. 

Cano’s departure creates a massive hole in the middle of the Yankee infield. The Yankees signed Kelly Johnson as a utility infielder, but expect the team to sign a free agent or make a trade. Regardless of their decision, the hole left by Cano is not replaceable by a single player. On the surface, the additions of  Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury should help offset Cano’s departure, but Cano proved he could perform in New York. Despite accusations about his lack of hustle, Cano routinely played 162 games and his production was consistent on a year-to-year basis. 

For the first time in his career, Cano will have to deal with the pressures of being his team’s centerpiece. Cano will not have A-Rod or Derek Jeter to hide behind. Instead, Cano must lead and inspire a relatively young team. Cano’s lineup protection will center around Kyle Seager and Jesus Montero instead of A-Rod and Mark Teixeira. Cano will probably have to handle playing on a team that does not have annual playoff aspirations. Cano had the opportunity to go down as a Yankee great, but he chose a large payday over his legacy in New York. You can’t fault Robbie for taking Seattle’s big payday nor blame the Yankees for not matching it. Two years ago, I wrote a piece against the Yankees mimicking the Reds handling of Joey Votto and handing Cano a huge extension before free agency

When the 2014 season starts, both Cano and the Yankees will have to move on without each other. Both sides may not truly realize what they had until the first pitch is thrown. Like they always say, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. 

Lefties Andy Pettitte (9-9, 4.26 ERA) and J.A. Happ (3-3, 5.10 ERA) will square off in the second game of a three-game set. The Toronto Blue Jays spoiled Derek Jeter return, besting the Yankees 5-2 last night. Jeter, who went 0-for-3 in Monday’s return, has had some success against Happ, posting a 4 for 8 line with 1 HR.

Pettitte looks to earn his third win against the Blue Jays this season after giving up one run and three hits over six innings last week at Yankee Stadium. Pettitte has had Toronto’s number, going 6-1 with a 3.04 ERA over his last eight starts. Pettitte is 5-1 with a 2.91 ERA over his last seven starts in Toronto. Pettitte has limited right handed sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie to combined 2-for-20 over the last two seasons. Pettitte must try to limit Rajai Davis, who is 9-for-17 with a HR.

J.A. Happ is making just his fifth start since returning from a skull fracture on May 7th. Happ allowed four runs and five walks over 5 1/3 innings last week at Yankee Stadium. Ichiro Suzuki (4-for-7) has had some success against Happ while Robinson Cano (3-for-14) has struggled.

Pick: The Yankees opened as a slight favorite (-115), so they’re the pick. Pettitte has pitched well recently and has success against Encarnacion and Lawrie.

It’s been a difficult offseason for Yankee fans. Derek Jeter broke his ankle, but should return for Spring Training. Alex Rodriguez, who is undergoing hip surgery, will miss at least half of 2013. Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez, and Andruw Jones, who combined to hit 94 home runs, signed elsewhere. Rafael Soriano, who saved 42 games, is also expected to sign elsewhere. For better or worse, the Yankees were not linked to any top free agents. The Yankee brass is committed to spending less than baseball’s $189 million luxury tax threshold by 2014, so free agent spending sprees are off the table.

Brian Cashman always emphasizes the importance of keeping his ‘core’ together, so four key pieces were re-signed to team friendly deals. Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Hiroki Kuroda signed one-year deals while Ichrio Suzuki signed a two-year deal. These deals should help the Yankees win in 2013, but each player is over 40-years-old and adds little value to the future of the team.

The Yankees are one of the oldest teams in baseball, but still boast some of the game’s best players. Jeter and Ichiro will set the table for Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, and Curtis Granderson. CC Sabathia will be supported by Kuroda, Pettitte, and Phil Hughes in the starting rotation. Mariano Rivera and David Robertson will lock down the backend of the bullpen. This core won 95 games last season, so anything less will be a failure.

While the Yankees boast a strong core, many are questioning their complementary parts. As of today, the Yankees have not named a starting catcher or designated hitter. Cashman will not sign a free agent catcher, so expect a combination of Francisco Cervelli-Chris Stewart-Austin Romine to start. Kevin Youkilis will start at third base, but he was signed as A-Rod’s caddy. The Yankees will need Youkilis to play third base and DH, but he can’t seem to stay healthy. If Youkilis suffers another injury, will the team trust Eduardo Nunez to play third base? Nunez is currently the de-facto designated hitter, but Cashman always extends multiple Spring Training invites. The Yankees have a glutton of left handed hitters in its outfield, so expect a right handed bat to join this threesome. Remember, Marcus Thames and Raul Ibanez were signed late and played significant roles. Expect similar moves.

Going into 2013, the Yankees have a very small margin for error. The roster is primarily comprised of older players that may break down. Each AL East foe improved its roster and many are expecting the Toronto Blue Jays to win the division. However, the Yankees boasted baseball’s best run differential and have a roster full of players that have endured October battles. The Yankees continue to pour resources into scouting and player development, but don’t count them out. In terms of player development and a more cost conscious approach, the 2013 season may prove to be a transition year. That doesn’t mean the Yankees are incapable of raising another AL East flag.

When talent meets opportunity, production is expected. For Melky Cabrera, leaving New York was the best thing that could have happened to his career.

Last night, Melky Cabrera appeared in his first All-Star Game, crushed a home run, and took home MVP Honors as the National League beat the American League, 9-0. Often criticized for lack of focus in New York, Melky has turned in two straight seasons of great production. As a member of the Royals last season, the Melk Man collected 201 hits. However, the Royals flipped Melky to the Giants in the off-season and his career has reached new heights. Through 83 games, Melky has 119 hits and is second in the National League with a .353 batting average. No one is questioning his lack of focus now.

Melky was always an excellent fourth outfielder for the Yankees, but given Brett Gardner’s emergence, the Yankees didn’t need him anymore and traded him to Atlanta. Melky and Robinson Cano were (and probably still are) great friends, but breaking up this friendship was the best thing for both parties. It is evident that both players have a renewed sense of determination and as a baseball fan, I couldn’t be happier for Melky. Some Yankee fans want to kill Brian Cashman for trading Melky away, but hindsight is 20/20. Realize that the Yankees wanted to add a faster, better defensive presence in left field and Melky just wasn’t part of the team’s big picture.

Yankee fans–stop the blame game and just respect and acknowledge Melky’s arrival in baseball. He makes the games more entertaining for fans across the globe. 

After beating the Red Sox 2-1 in a series to close out the first half, the Yankees head into the All-Star break with a 52-33 mark, the best in baseball. Whoever’s backing New York with their free MLB picks has been making bank.

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The Yankees played home run derby today as they topped the Royals in the final game of this four-game set, 10-4. Robbie Cano delivered a much needed grand slam while A-Rod and Swisher also homered for the Bombers. While the offensive fireworks were nice, Phil Hughes was the story of this game.

Yankee fans have been very, very critical of Mr. Hughes this season. Coming into this game, Hughes dropped four of his first five decisions and carried an ERA over seven. But today, Hughes gave the Bombers 6 2/3 innings of hard work. He threw 116 pitches, issuing one walk while striking out seven. More importantly, Hughes’ velocity was sitting around 95 MPH for the entire game. Hughes’ absent velocity has been a cause for concern, but today’s outing is hopefully a sign of things to come.

I don’t get too caught up over wins and losses for pitchers, but strong, quality starts are encouraging. With his next three starts coming against the Mariners, Blue Jays, and Royals, look for Hughes to build off of this one and forget about his ugly April.

On Tuesday, Joey Votto and the Reds agreed to historic contract extension which will pay Votto $251.5 million over the next twelve (!!) years. To put that in perspective, the 28-year-old first baseman will earn $20 million per year through 2024! What makes things even more interesting was Votto had two years remaining on his current contract. Clearly, the Reds and Votto have set a new bar for locking up franchise players. 

Entering the 2012 season, the Yankees have a franchise player of their own who is two years away from free agency. Should Votto’s new contract entice the Yankees to lock up 29-year-old Robinson Cano?

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He’s baaaack. Ok, he never really left.

CC Sabathia and the Yankees agreed to a contract extension tonight, hours before the burly lefty had declare whether he was opting out of his contract. I won’t get into the details, but the Yankees basically tacked on an addition year with a team option for another in 2017. He’s making Cliff Lee money (5-year, $122 million) and he’s staying in NY. That’s all we really care about.

The Yankees re-signed CC and picked up Swisher’s and Cano’s options this weekend. Cano’s $14 million option was more of a formality, but Swisher’s $10.25 million option was debatable. Swisher stinks in the playoffs, but he’s a good guy to have around (and he’s a World Champion). The Yankees must think he’ll outproduce that contract next year.

Overall, it was a good day for the Yanks. They don’t have to worry about any media backlash, the Phillies can’t try to get cute with CC, and the Yankee rotation will not be led by Bartolo Colon next season.

The Detroit defeated the New York Yankees 5-3 in Game #2 of the American League Divisional Series this afternoon. Miguel Cabrera provided the bulk of the offense for the Tigers with 3 RBI, and the Yankees had no answer for Max Scherzer, who allowed no runs in six innings. With the loss, the series is tied at one apiece as both teams head to Detroit for two games.

One of Those Days - Chris Trotman, Getty Images

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It only took 28 hours to complete, but the Yankees blew the Tigers out, 9-3 in Game 1 of the ALDS. After the rain chased CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander last night, Ivan Nova and Doug Fister took the ball. The two righties battled before Robinson Cano got to Fister in the fifth with an RBI double. Cano would follow up with a grand slammer an inning later, giving the Bombers a 8-1 lead. Nova proved he could handle the big stage as the Yanks take a 1-0 lead in this best of five series.

See Ya---AP Photo

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