"You either die the hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain."
Batman's words from the movie The Dark Knight couldn't hold any more true for both Yankee stars Alex Rodriguez, who's fighting a 211-game suspension by Major League Baseball for taking performance-enhancing drugs and lying about it, and Robinson Cano, who's looking to be paid more than Rodriguez next year going forward.
But outside all of the numbers, the stats, who wants to be paid what and what he's really worth, Cano needs to know one thing—a different quote in fact, and one that actually pertains to his current situation. From the late Notorious B.I.G.
"Mo' money, mo' problems."
Those four simple words can apply to anyone who wants more money for whatever job, but holds truer in this case, and Cano along with his new agent Jay-Z of Roc Nation Sports might not have any idea of what they're entirely asking for here. A case of Cano and Hova possibly getting what they asked for without realizing what they're actually getting.
Is Cano worth a long term deal by the Yanks, or any team? Yes. Is he worth over $100 million? Because of his .309 career batting average and his 204 homers in his nine years in the bigs? Yes.
Will Cano's career postseason struggles (.222/.267/.419, 8 HRs, 33 RBI in 51 postseason games) have an affect on the final total he'll eventually get? It absolutely should.
But is he ready for the expectations, pressures and stresses that come with the type of lucrative deal that comes with it? Not really.
And, does any other team have the money or desire to give a 31-year-old second baseman that kind of deal? Possibly, but highly doubtful.
The case was similar with A-Rod when he was traded by the Texas Rangers to the Yankees in the offseason prior to 2004 campaign.
Rodriguez may have been deserving of the contract Texas originally gave him at the time (10-year, $252 million, eventually replaced in 2007 with a 10-year $275 million deal by New York, according to Bloomberg News), but he wasn't ready for the expectations that followed such lucrative deals. While he's hit 309 home runs for the Yanks in the 10 years he's been in the Bronx, A-Rod has hit around .300 just twice in the postseason in 2008 and 2009.
Since coming to New York, A-Rod has made no less than $22 million per year, according to his salary chart on baseball-reference.com. The Yankees still owe the 38-year-old third baseman $114 million.
Now with his Biogenesis case and the Yankees trying to practically disown him without paying him that $114 million, A-Rod saw himself become the villain.
Heck, after Barry Bonds' steroid scandal of the early 2000s, A-Rod was seen as the "chosen one." He was the one who was supposed to "cleanly" break the famed home run record.
Cano could face a similar situation if he doesn't budge from the 10-year, $305 million deal demand.
Keep in mind, he hasn't had to really deal with the same pressures or stresses that A-Rod and other stars have had to deal with throughout their careers. Granted, A-Rod brought a lot of that pressure upon himself.
Cano hasn't really been the main star in the Bronx. He's been the side act alongside Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. A deal that would give him anything in the range of $20-$25 million would put certain expectations on him, including running hard down the first-base line.
I've seen it with Albert Pujols in Los Angeles. Pujols was expected to be a massive boost to the Angels lineup and has responded on the field to his 10-year, $240 million deal with just one Player of the Week Award in early August of the 2012 season.
And Angels fans, or anyone connected to the Angels' organization for that matter, are not entirely happy.
So, is Cano worth 10 years at $305 million? No. Is any player for that matter? Not even close. But is the stress and pressure of such a contract—even if it's a slightly more modest five-year, $150 million deal—worth it in the end?
Again, "you can die a hero, or see yourself live long enough to become the villain."
Robbie, please don't become the next A-Rod. We don't need to live through that... again.
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