|How valuable is Cano? We're about to find out (NBC)|
He's ridiculous, right? Nobody, except maybe Mike Trout, is worth that kind of investment. He wants more money than Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols, who signed their record-deals at roughly the same age and were already much more accomplished. By the time they turned 30 they were slam-dunk Hall of Famers, two of the greatest players of all-time. Cano, who has zero Hall of Famers among his ten most similar batters, still has quite a ways to go.
First on that list is Chase Utley, who dropped off significantly after turning 31--the same age Robinson Cano will be on October 22nd. Cano's second closest comp is David Wright, who signed a lengthy contract extension with the other New York team just last winter. Wright received an eight year deal worth $138 million that made him the highest paid player in franchise history.
$138 million is a lot of money. It's also a long way from $305 million.
But Cano's been better than Wright, and just about every other ballplayer, for that matter, over the past four years. Since Opening Day 2010 only Miguel Cabrera has been more valuable per FanGraphs WAR and only by about half a win per season. Only Prince Fielder has played more games. Only Cabrera has more RBI. Nobody has more doubles. Cano has emerged as the best player on a team loaded with All-Stars and future Hall of Famers. He is a superstar in every sense of the word.
But Cano will be 31 when his next contract begins, and aging curves for second basemen in their thirties are pretty scary. He may have a few more big seasons, but his best years are probably already behind him. With so much money tied up to Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and CC Sabathia, the last thing New York needs is another albatross contract weighing down its payroll. Even though they have the money they can't afford to break the bank for Cano, not if they want to get under the laxary tax threshold any time this decade.
It's obvious the Yankees need to keep Cano, but at what cost? His market value will be determined by the level of interest he draws from other teams. If nobody makes Cano a serious offer, New York will have all the power at the bargaining table. But if someone like the Dodgers gets involved in a bidding war, then the Yankees will have a tough decision to make.
Will they do what they've always done: open up their checkbooks and pay top-dollar to secure elite talent? Or will they change course by tightening their belt and letting their most indispensable player walk?
I'm pretty sure New York will pay almost any price to keep Cano in pinstripes. I have no idea how high they're willing to go, but I'm willing to bet it's a good deal short of $300 mil.