As rumors about Dustin Pedroia’s contract extension began to grow and gain credibility, it looked like a big dollar agree would affect Robinson Cano. That is, it would push contract negotiations with Robinson Cano, who enters free agency this offseason, beyond reason. To the contrary, Pedroia inked a 7-year, $100 million extension which will be tacked on to his current contract expiring after next season. That comes to about $14,290,000 annually, before taxes. While that’ll leave him more than a bit of discretionary income, it’s considered a team friendly deal.
Robinson Cano, may have had his heart set on approaching the $200 million mark. Such an agreement that would have undermined the Yankees competitiveness moving forward. We see this with Alex Rodriguez’s $252 million contract has begun to hurt the New York (hence no Nick Swisher or Russell Martin). With “baseball socialism” choking the Yankees, they can no longer afford to offer whatever it takes to bring in whoever they desire so it’s imperative they don’t offer an outrageous contract that nobody (clean) could live up to.
While Cano is clearly better than Pedroia (the next best 2B in baseball), he’s not twice as good. Dustin Pedroia may have taken a bit less than market value by signing prior to hitting free agency, but his contract still sets the bar for Cano and that bar is well below $200 million. With some of the biggest spenders seemingly out (Red Sox have Pedroia, Rangers have Kinsler, Dodgers just invested millions in Alexander Guerrero, Tigers and Angels appear to be tapped out) Cano likely lost some leverage with the news of Pedroia’s extension.
The Yankees are very keen on keeping Cano, and it seems that a reasonable deal, say $150 million, may be possible. I wouldn’t have said that a week ago. Another boost to the chances of re-signing Robinson Cano comes from baseball’s chief criminal, Alex Rodriguez.
“There is every indication baseball has A-Rod on multiple years of drug involvement, and that, along with his involvement with admitted human growth hormone proponent Anthony Galea, would seem to be more than enough to warrant the “strike three” lifetime suspension under the terms of the joint drug agreement.” NY Daily News
This seems to hold some credibility, though a 150+ game ban seems more likely. Either way, a long suspension would save the Yankees millions. At this point in his career, Rodriguez has no chance to play at a level worthy of his $29 million salary. Not to mention, staying healthy and on the field may be more unrealistic than a lifetime ban. While a steroid suspension doesn’t void a MLB player’s contract, it could have a similar effect for New York. If a long-term suspension or ban hits A-Rod, that’ll return a very large sum that the Yankees could choose to invest in Robinson Cano or upcoming free agents like Max Scherzer (after 2014).
Finally, a smaller piece of positive news for New York is that they may acquire Alfonso Soriano from the Chicago Cubs. The former pinstriper is 37 years old and no longer a superstar, however he would be a vast improvement over the likes of Travis Hafner. It would also have its long term benefits as it would remove the onus to re-sign Curtis Granderson who likely will demand more than the Yankees should offer for someone at the latter stages of their career. Alfonso Soriano has one more season left on his contract after this year. The Cubs would pay most of his $18 million salary in 2014 if a trade is consummated.
At the moment, Yankee fans may feel a bit like Oakland Raider fans who end each season cheering for losses and high draft picks. First, Yankee fans should cheer for their rival inking their best player to a team friendly contract, now they should root for MLB to suspend one of their biggest names.
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