Robinson Cano is arguably the best second baseman in baseball by a long shot. With an arm like a third baseman and a shortstop’s range, he is a perennial Gold Glove winner. The 30-year-old has as fluent a swing as any player in the world, with the ability to hit lefties and righties for both power and average. There is no disputing that Cano is the total package and a bona fide star.
With that said, the New York Yankees would be making a big mistake to sign another position player past his 20s to a 10-year deal. It’s time the Yankees learned from their past errors with Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira and realize that just because they have money doesn’t mean they should spend it recklessly.
If the Yankees have learned anything from their recent playoff woes, particularly last year, it’s that great hitting guarantees nothing in the postseason. All-Star hitters like Curtis Granderson, Rodriguez and even Cano can get in miserable slumps as they did last October. No-names or bench players can become the best hitters, as seen with Raul Ibanez, who started the postseason on the bench and worked his way into the starting lineup by outperforming almost every starter on their roster. Good hitting in the playoffs is interchangeable.
If they want to spend big for guys in their late 20s and early 30s, do it on pitchers. That’s where consistent performance can be dictated in October. If the Yankees have a down year this season, which many people now expect with all the recent injuries and lack of activity in the front office, the Yankees can get a bundle of talent by trading Cano. They can get younger and faster and get a better bang for their buck.
By doing so, the Yankees can get under the $180 million cap mark and avoid paying the luxury tax next year, which has been their goal for the last few seasons. They can start fresh and go to town on next year’s free-agent pitching class, which could include San Francisco Giants ace Tim Lincecum, and Detroit Tigers star Justin Verlander could hit the market the year after. If they get a few aces and some young stud arms to pair up with C.C. Sabathia, the Yanks could be a playoff force to be reckoned with once again, rather than a regular season slug show. Home runs and high powered offense is exciting, but it’s pitching that wins championships.
The odds of Cano performing at his current high-caliber rate for five more years are unlikely. The Yankees would have to give him at least 10 years, paying him until he’s 40. Trade him, get younger and faster, and stock up on star pitchers in free agency as well as through trading Cano for prospects, and the Yankees will be back on their way to another title run.