The Seattle Mariners made their signing of second baseman Robinson Cano official this week, and while the New York Yankees certainly wanted him back, they’re apparently not losing any sleep over his exit.
Yankees president Randy Levine took things a step further on Friday claiming he actually felt sorry for Cano because he left.
During his press conference with his new team, Cano claimed he felt the Yankees’ competing offer of seven years and $170 million was a sign of disrespect. When Levine was asked if he was disappointed in Cano’s attitude about his former team, Levine had the following to say:
No, I feel bad for him because I think he’s disappointed he’s not a Yankee. But I respect him, and he’s free to say whatever he wants to say. We still respect him, and he’ll always be fondly remembered as a Yankee.
Levine went on to say that Cano’s age (he’s 31) had a lot to do with not giving him a longer, bigger offer. Previously the Yankees have given long-term, big-money deals to Alex Rodriguez, C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeria and all three could wind up being huge mistakes.
Then Levine may have gotten himself into hot water when he brought up a player he would sign to a 10-year contract:
Now, if it was Mike Trout (who is 22 years old), I’d offer him a 10-year contract. But for people over 30, I don’t believe it makes sense.
Trout is under contract with the Los Angeles Angels and team officials are prohibited from talking about players under contract with other teams. MLB spokesman Pat Courtney has said the league will be investigating the Yankees for tampering after Levine dropped Trout’s name.
Cano has spent his entire eight-year career with the Yankees and has produced at a high level. He has a lifetime .309 batting average, with 204 home runs and 822 RBIs. For his career he has an on-base percentage of .355 and an OPS of .859.
In the last four seasons Cano has also had stellar showings in the all-important WAR category. In 2010 his WAR of 7.8 was second in all of baseball (Josh Hamilton, 8.4). In 2011 he had a bit of a down year with a 5.2 WAR, but in 2012 his rating of 8.2 was second in the majors (Mike Trout, 10.7). This past season he ranked fifth in the big leagues at 7.6.
Clearly Cano is one of the league’s best players, but at 31 there is almost no way he maintains that level of production for very long. The Yankees were probably right for passing on his ridiculous contract demands. But one has to wonder why they balked at Cano’s potential deal but signed Jacoby Ellsbury to what will likely be one of the worst contracts in recent memory.