Coming off a career season, New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano has hired agent-to-the-stars, Scott Boras, with a big payday in 2014 on his mind. Yes, I know what you're thinking:
"That's three years away. We'll worry about it then."
Right now, the Yankees' decision to buy out Cano's final arbitration years is the bargain of the century. Cano has a team option for 2012 and 2013 for $14 and $15 million respectively.
Last season, Cano batted .319 with 29 home runs and 109 RBI. He set career-highs in almost every offensive category and finished third in MVP voting. According to FanGraphs.com, Cano's 2010 season was worth over $25 million to the Yankees.
So if Cano can even come close to repeating last season's performance over the next three years, what kind of payday will Boras net his new client?
There are a lot of factors to consider here, and they all point to a huge contract for Cano. First, if this year's offseason is any indication as to where baseball is headed, it means lots of years and big money for Cano.
There were more $100 million contracts given out this offseason than any previous year. The Boston Red Sox gave Carl Crawford $142 million over seven years, while the Washington Nationals gave Jayson Werth $126 million over seven years.
Cano will be younger than both Crawford and Werth when the time comes to talk contracts.
Second, the Yankees need to lock up their young talent, amidst a core of aging superstars. Andy Pettitte just officially announced his retirement, turning the fabled "Core Four" into the core three. For all intents and purposes, 2011 appears to be Jorge Posada's last season in pinstripes, so soon it will be the core two.
Derek Jeter is 36 years old and general manager Brian Cashman has already made it clear he doesn't see Jeter finishing his current four-year deal at shortstop. Also, if uber-prospect Jesus Montero can show he's able to handle the every day catching duties, a move to DH for Alex Rodriguez should be discussed.
In a few years, the Yankee infield could have a very unfamiliar look to Yankee fans.
One thing is for sure, the Yankees will always be willing to shell out big bucks to bring in the players they need in order to win. Desperate to make any sort of splash this offseason after missing out on Cliff Lee, the Yankees signed another Scott Boras client, Rafael Soriano, to a three-year, $35 million contract, which contains opt-out clauses in each of the first two years.
While the addition of Soriano gives the Yankees one of the best bullpens in baseball, paying a reliever $11 million to be a set-up man is a bit outlandish. It does, however, show us what Boras can get his clients when he has a team in desperation mode.
Now, we can't say the Yankees are going to be desperate in 2014, but if Cano keeps putting up the kind of numbers he did last season, there are going to be a lot of teams competing for Cano's services.
Cano will be in the middle of his prime years when he hits free agency, and the production he gives the Yankees at a premium position is invaluable. If the Yankees start getting 35-40 homers to go along with a high average and excellent defense from Cano, they had better be prepared to pay up.
With youth, ability and now Scott Boras on Cano's side, what contracts will he have his eyes on looking ahead to his time?
The Yankees gave then 32-year-old Alex Rodriguez 10 years and $275 million, the richest contract in baseball history. The Yankees gave another Boras client, then 29-year-old Mark Teixeira, an eight-year, $180 million contract.
Are those realistic contracts given Cano's ability? Time is on the Yankees' side in this case, but they're going to need a number in mind when it comes to Cano, or Scott Boras is going to get it somewhere else.
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