Cashman talking extension with wrong Yankee
It’s been written recently that Brian Cashman has been attempting to get Russell Martin signed to a 2-year extension on top of the $7.5M owed him this year. The total deal would run though the 2014 season and was said to be for 3 years and $20 Million. That contract looks very reasonable after seeing the monster 5 yr – $70-75M deal Yadier Molina is looking at.
However, with Francisco Cervelli & Austin Romine on the team, I think the Yanks can afford to “wait and see” how Martin produces this year and worse case scenario offer him the roughly$12.5M arbitration offer required for 1st round compensation under the new CBA.
The guy they need to be talking extension with NOW is Robinson Cano. Cano is without a doubt the team’s best player. In this period of decreasing offense around MLB, he is a valuable commodity – a perennial .300+ hitter with 25+ HR & 40+ Doubles power who plays Gold Glove caliber defense at a premium up-the-middle position. He’ll finally assume the #3-spot in the lineup he should have been at 2 years ago and I expect his production will only increase hitting 3rd all yr between Granderson & ARod.
Cano is 29 years old and due to some foresight by Cashman is still signed for this yr and next under the extension he signed in February 2008. Without that extension Cano would have been a Free Agent after 2011 but is instead locked up under team options at the affordable prices of $14M this yr and $15M next.
You may be saying, why look to extend Cano now when he has 2 affordable yrs left? The answer is length of contract. With 2 more years of premium production, Robinson will be entering Free Agency in 2014 heading into his 31-yr old season. Based on similar deals given out in recent years, a hitter like Cano who has the advantage of being extremely durable and playing 2B will be looking at a minimum of $20M per year over 7-8 years.
As indispensable as Cano is, do the Yanks really want to lock up another player to a huge contract into his late 30’s? The way team’s are spending money these days, and with Boras as his agent, the Yanks won’t be getting any hometown discounts so we’ll be looking at paying another player $20m+ when he’s 37 & 38 yrs old. As we have seen with Giambi & Posada and now with Jeter & ARod, these albatross contracts can be very inhibiting. So to avoid paying Cano $20M+ til he’s 38, Cashman should strike now. Rip up his remaining deal and offer the same 7-8 year deal now for around $20M and you essentially shave the last 2 years off the deal and have Cano only up to his 35 or 36-yr old season.
With Cano’s durability (5 straight years of 159+ games) and consistency, the risk of signing him now as opposed to 2 yrs from now is small. The only added cost would be paying him $20M this yr and next, so a net cost of $11M more. That is a small price to pay to lock Cano up now through his age 35 season and not have to pay him to 37 or 38. By waiting til 2014, they would also risk having to pay him much more than $20M per season if he raises his production the next 2 year like I think he will hitting in the 3-hole for the first time.
Cano is clearly the class of the Yankees now and with Montero being traded, he is the team’s only pure hitter in his prime capable of hitting .300 with power over the next few years. Cashman made a great move in 2008 by signing Cano to an extension that has saved the team millions. He needs to do the same now or risk being held hostage by Boras in 2014 and repeating the cycle of paying $20M+ to players into their late 30s. What does everyone think?