The New York Yankees were once seen as the biggest empire in baseball, capable of throwing all the money around they wanted on any player they wanted. If big free agents wanted 10 years and $200 million, the Yankees were the first ones with their checkbooks open.
Well, the Yankees missed the playoffs last season for only the second time since 1995 and it was a horrible season in part because of the big money players were mostly on the shelf all year long as age has quickly caught up to these aging players.
The richest man in baseball, who the Yankees gave a 10-year, $275 million contract to in 2007, Alex Rodriguez missed most of the year after hip surgery, which has now become a recurring problem year after year. Mark Teixeira, who is on the book for over $23 million a year for the next few years, missed most of the year with right wrist surgery and hasn’t come close to matching his production before getting to the Bronx. Their ace CC Sabathia, who has the richest contract per year as a pitcher, struggled mightily in 2013 and has seeen his production gradually decrease the past few years.
Given this history and their current state, the Yankees were very lukewarm of going over seven-years on a new contract to their best player, second baseman Robinson Cano and the unthinkable happened, he left the Yankees for more money with the Seattle Mariners.
Cano got a 10-year, $240 million contract from the Mariners, which was about $65 million and three years more than what the Yankees were offering. For once, the Yankees used their brains and went against the status quo and will not be handcuffed with a ridiculous contract as they are now with Rodriguez.
The Yankees should be applauded for setting a limit on these contracts for once and not giving in to high demands. Cano is a great player, the Yankees best player for the past few years as he has averaged a .307 batting average, .508 slugging percentage, an .866 OPS, 25 home runs, 97 RBIs and 94 runs since becoming a full-time player in 2007.
Now the Yankees are left with a void in second base but they will be left with a void in their wallet for the next 10 years that they can turn around and use on filling more needed holes like their pitching rotation and the bullpen. Cano will be missed in the middle of the lineup but the signings of catcher Brian McCann and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury should help alleviate the loss of production of Cano.
The Yankees essentially traded Cano, who will make $240 million with his new contract, for McCann and Ellsbury, who will make a combined $238 million through the life time of their new Yankee deals.
The Mariners will now get a new franchise icon to join the legacy that Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez and Ichiro Suzuki forged in Seattle while the Yankees will now turn the page and move forward with more money to spend this offseason in hopes to make it another 15 years or so before missing the playoffs again.