The New York Yankees have missed the 2013 playoffs, and with an aging roster, their prospects are not looking too good for next year either.
To make things more complicated, one of their few remaining true superstars, second baseman Robinson Cano, has finished his contract and is reportedly seeking a new 10-year deal worth $305 million, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.
The general consensus around the sports world seems to be that the Yankees would be making a mistake by agreeing to this deal. Mike Lupica of the NY Daily News pointed out as much:
We are about to see if the Yankees will learn their lesson this time around, not be as monumentally boneheaded with Cano as they were six years ago with that broken-down heap they have at third base and DH, meaning Alex Rodriguez.
Ian O'Connor at ESPN New York added that,"Really long-term deals (and not just A-Rod's) haven't been kind to the Yanks, so they need to be smart here."
I have to throw my hat into the ring and agree that handing Cano a contract that huge would be a terrible mistake.
Obviously, the Yankees are in a bad way right now and need to retain all the all-star talent they can. Cano is a five-time all-star, a two-time Gold Glover and a four-time Silver Slugger winner, making him arguably the best second baseman in MLB.
On the other hand, he has a reputation for not hustling at times and is already 30 years old, making him a bad candidate for continuing to produce at his historical rate.
The numbers don't lie. In 2007, a research study found that a typical MLB player only lasts 5.6 years in the majors with most players experiencing a rapid decline in their skill set right around their 30th birthday. Cautionary tales such as that of Adam Dunn, Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner or Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim mistakes Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton show us that even top performers usually see their abilities drop off once they enter their 30s.
Cano turns 31 on Oct. 22 and while his numbers for this season were right in line with his historical averages, I can't help but wonder when we'll start to see things tail off for him. It might be next year or it might be the year after, but it is coming and he won't be worth $30 million per season when it happens.
In fact, if Cano falls apart like his over-priced teammate Alex Rodriguez, he might not be worth $30 a season before too long.
The bottom line is that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman would be a fool to cave in to Cano's current contract demands. Cashman needs to hold his ground and negotiate Cano down to something more in line with the five-year, $75 million deal Ian Kinsler is enjoying with the Texas Rangers or else the eight-year, $110 million contract that Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox is playing under.
If Cashman can't talk Cano down from his lofty request, he needs to be smart and find himself a cheaper second baseman.
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