It’s not like Cano is the sort of marketing machine his team has portrayed him as in meetings with the Yankees and Mets. Beyond setting his price tag at more than $300 million in during-the-season negotiations, the biggest mistake thus far has been emphasizing the off-field exploits of Cano when reality says otherwise.
He didn’t stem hemorrhaging ticket sales or TV ratings during the Yankees’ down year. His jersey wasn’t exactly jumping off shelves; it ranked 19th in sales this season – and fifth in New York, behind Mariano Rivera, Matt Harvey, Derek Jeter and David Wright.
“We’re not the Brooklyn Nets,” one Yankees official said. “We don’t need Jay Z’s marketing expertise.”
The Yankees like to say that Dustin Pedroia re-signed with Boston for $110 million and Wright with the Mets for $138 million, but there is a difference: Cano is a free agent, and a premium exists with those free agents, even if New York is where he wants to be. And it is. Cano told friends in the Dominican Republic this season that he would re-sign with the Yankees, though perhaps he was expecting the dollar figure to be closer to the $200 million-plus that at one point the Yankees were believed to be willing to offer.
[Photo Credit: Marcus Haydock]
Do the Yanks dare to let Robbie Cano go? No, they don’t. They’ll sign him. But Tyler Kepner thinks it is a decent idea:
Losing a superstar is not always as devastating as people fear at the time. Two winters ago, the St. Louis Cardinals watched Albert Pujols leave for a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. They responded by signing Carlos Beltran for two years, giving contract extensions to Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright, and using their compensatory draft pick on Michael Wacha. Discipline sometimes works.
The Yankees are willing to give Cano $23 million or so for each of the next seven years, a $161 million package that is already too generous. That kind of deal has put the Yankees in their present state — decaying and injury-prone — and the team needs to break the cycle.
An influx of fresh talent from the farm system is the best way to start. The Yankees do not have those players, but that should not make them desperate. Desperate teams make the costliest mistakes.
[Image Via: Rob Tringali]
The Knicks, essentially, not only took a contract albatross off Toronto’s hands — new GM Masai Ujiri was desperate to rid himself of the failed first overall pick — they paid the Raptors for the privilege. If the trade were just Camby and Novak for Bargnani, it would be a wash, two teams handing over each other’s soiled linens. But the Knicks threw in three draft picks because … well, because in New York, the future isn’t just something that doesn’t matter, it’s something to be actively avoided.
This has always been a thing in New York. For whatever reason, there is this sense among sports owners in New York City that rebuilding — or, rather to say, the process of compiling and amassing talent and resources that can be used to sustain perpetual success — is something that the fanbase will just not stand for. If your team is not competing for a championship that very year, obviously your franchise is a failure and unworthy to wear the words “New York” on the front of your jersey/uniform/sweater/hot pants.
This mindset leads to lunacy like just about every free agent acquisition the Mets have ever made — with the ironic exception of Carlos Beltran, the one many fans were the most angry about — or the Yankees giving Alex Rodriguez a 10-year contract or the Knicks trading for someone like Andrea freaking Bargnani. The logic behind the Bargnani trade, behind so many New York sports teams’ moves, is that if the move makes the team even slightly better today, it’s worth mortgaging whatever possible future there might be. Is having Bargnani on the team for the 2013-14 season better than having Camby and Novak? I find that an arguable point, but if the Knicks think so, and they do, then why not throw in three draft picks do make sure the deal goes down? We weren’t using them anyway! They’re draft picks!
So should the Yankees trade Robinson Cano, or what? They won’t but it’d be the ballsy move.
[Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]
According to Wallace Matthews the Yanks and Robbie Cano’s agent, Scott Boras, have been in touch.
Let’s say they sign him. What do you think the deal will be for in years and dollars?
The Yankees were down 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning and Robinson Cano was at the plate, a man on base, two outs. Jerome Williams, in his first start since coming off the disabled list, threw a 2-2 fastball that tailed away from Cano.
It was what they call a pitcher’s pitch. Not only did Cano swing at it and make solid contact, he drove the ball deep to left field. As fortune would have it, the ball landed on the top of the fence and bounced over the bullpen into the bleachers.
I don’t know how many left-handed hitters could drive a pitch like that out of the park to the opposite field–Joey Votto, of couse; who else?
I was reminded of something I once read by Tom Boswell about Don Mattingly in his book Heart of the Order:
For historical reference, the Musial analogy works [with Mattingly]. Left-handed hitter. Eccentric closed and coiled stance. Sprays the ball. Tons of doubles. Not too many walks. Hard to strike out.
“He doesn’t look like Musial, but he hits like him,” says Orioles manager Earl Weaver. “Musial was the best at adjusting once the ball left the pitcher’s hand. He’d hit the pitcher’s pitch. Williams was the best at making them throw his pitch. He didn’t believe in adjusting. If it wasn’t what he wanted, he knew enough to walk to first base. That’s why he hit .406.Once every coupla games, a Musial or Mattingly is going to adjust and put that tough pitch in play instead of walking and you’re going to get some extra outs. But he’s also going to drive you crazy by popping a perfect fastball on the fists down the left-field line for a double.”
Curtis Granderson hit a two-run homer later on, Cano singled home Alex Rodriguez in the sixth (more good luck as his ground ball up the middle knocked off second base), Freddy Garcia was decent and the bullpen was even better. Rafael Soriano struck out Mike Trout (three hits) in the ninth and got Albert Pujols on a check-swing strike zone to end the game.
Final Score: Yanks 5, Angels 3.
Well, I missed the whole damn affair. Family gathering upstate. Had to be done and it turned out to be a nice time. I checked the score from time-to-time and was thrilled to learn that Phil Hughes, after giving up a couple of runs in the first, was stingy. He went eight innings and a two-run home run by Robinson Cano–yes, that man again–broke the tie as the Yankees beat the White Sox, 4-2.
Cano is surging, is in the prime of his career, and more than capable of carrying the team for weeks at a time. It’s also been great to see Hughes, Nova and Kuroda pitching well, am I right?
Coupled with a Baltimore loss the Yanks are now six games ahead in the American League East. That’s the way to beat the heat. Nice job by the Yanks after losing the first two games of the series–the White Sox got two runs in the last couple of games.
And on Old Timer’s Day (covered here by Harvey Araton), Derek Jeter, C.C. Sabathia, Curtis Granderson and Cano were selected to the All Star Game. Sabathia was replaced by C.J. Wilson. Also, the Yanks picked up a reliever today and over at River Ave Blues, Mike Axisa can’t figure it.
[Featured Image via: Kathy Willens/AP Photo; interior pictures by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images and Willens]
R.A. Dickey’s scoreless streak ended in the third inning tonight when Mark Teixeira’s sacrifice fly score the first run of the game. Nick Swisher followed with a three-run home run and with C.C. Sabathia on the mound, things looked good for the Yanks.
Nobody, however, had the good sense to alert Robinson Cano that there was a ball game going on. He botched a throw from Chris Stewart that led to a run and Cadillaced a routine ground ball into an error with one out in the sixth. The Yanks were ahead 5-2 but by the time the Mets were retired, Sabathia was on the bench and the score was tied.
Cano knew better than to smile.
If you are looking for a cheesy redemption story, Cano was happy to oblige. He hit a long solo home run against Miguel Bautista to lead off the eighth inning. It proved to be the difference.
David Robertson worked around a two out base runner–and a balk–in the eighth, and Raphael Soriano did the same in the ninth (his strike out against David Wright to start the inning was a tense, exciting confrontation).
By that point, the rain poured on the field. The Yankees appeared to have the game in hand, then to blow it, but Cano–who was partially responsible for squandering the lead–came through with the biggest hit of the night.
Final Score: Yanks 6, Mets 5.
Yanks take the season series, 5-1.
[Photo Credit: Elsa/Getty Images]
Robinson Cano hit the first pitch he saw into the seats tonight. A misplaced fastball was good for a two-run home run, and with it went any dream of consecutive no-hitters from Johan Santana. The next inning, Cano hit the second pitch he saw, a hanging slider, into the right field seats and the Yanks were out to a 4-0 lead. Nick Swisher followed and he ripped a home run to left, and not wanting to be left out of the festivities, Andruw Jones followed that with a bomb of his own.
It was enough to get the Yankee dugout fired up–especially Mr. Swisher (jeez, settle down, Francis)–not to mention the Yankee fans in the seats. It sure was more than enough for Hiroki Kuroda, who was terrific, throwing seven shutout innings. He allowed just a single base hit and that didn’t come until two out in the sixth.
Kuroda’s night ended on a strange play. Daniel Murphy hit a line drive that caught Kuroda’s foot and shot up in the air to Alex Rodriguez who made the catch to end the seventh. Kuroda had the foot wrapped and was sporting crutches after the game. Perhaps he could miss a start. He had x-rays and they were negative.
Just about everything else for the home team was positive.
Yanks take it, 9-1.
[Photo Credit: Aimeri]
This week we’re featuring the work of the painter Dave Choate.
Check out his site to enjoy more of his work. It’s good stuff.
I was flipping around the channels the other day and found a baseball game on the MLB Network. And there was Robinson Cano playing for the American team in Taiwan. It took me a moment to adjust to seeing him in uniform. It was like seeing someone still wearing their Halloween costume. Then I wondered, “Hey, should you be playing? Don’t guys get tired or hurt if they play in November?”
But I remembered that he’s a professional baseball player and that’s what he does. Then Cano smiled and I felt relieved and turned back to the football game.
Over at YES, Jack Curry has a little piece on Cano in Taiwan.
[Photo Credit: Washington Post]
Author’s Note / Excuse: Apologies for the delayed post. If you need further proof that the NFL, not Major League Baseball, is the National Pastime, try getting online between 1 and 4 p.m. on a Sunday to access photos from a baseball game to include in a recap. The requisite sites were performing at speeds not seen since 1997.
Threads in this space, elsewhere in the Blogosphere, the Twitterverse, Facebook — basically anywhere you search for Yankees information — have featured criticism of Joe Girardi for managing passively over the past week and a half. That judgment was typically reserved for his bullpen maneuvering, specifically in the one-run losses in Baltimore, Anaheim and Seattle, and then again in the series opener at Rogers Centre Friday night. Not as prevalent in those threads was that the “A” lineup, while physically present on the field, was doing little to help the winning cause.
Then on Sunday, with the Yankees’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot at five, the starting lineup looked more like one you’d see in mid-March than mid-September. Girardi has stated publicly that he’s been looking for places to give the regulars some rest. The counter, “Win the games, win the division, secure the playoff spot and then rest people.” And so it was that the only regulars in the starting lineup were Brett Gardner, Nick Swisher, A-Rod and J Martin.
The result was a feeble, fundamentally unsound 3-0 defeat that left the Yankees 4-6 on this season-long 10-game, four-city road trip. Brandon Morrow dominated the Yankees, striking out seven and walking only one. The Yankees had five hits, only two of which left the infield. Like in the early going Saturday, they ran themselves out of potential scoring opportunities. In the first inning, with Eduardo Nuñez Nuñez on second and Robinson Canó on first, Canó was thrown out on the tail end of a double steal. Later, in the top of the sixth, Nuñez, who Michael Kay and John Flaherty lauded on the YES telecast during his first at-bat, once again incited fans’ ire by inexplicably trying to turn a single into a double. Nuñez hit a clean single to rightfield. Nuñez tried to catch Jose Bautista napping, but it didn’t work. Bautista fired behind the runner to first base, where Edwin Encarnación fired to second to catch Nuñez by a mile. Inning over, potential rally over. Nuñez’s one-out double in the ninth inning marked the only other time in the game the Yankees had a runner in scoring position.
Meanwhile, Freddy Garcia surrendered three runs on five hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings, and he made a throwing error that contributed to one of the three runs. In short, Garcia did little to pitch himself into consideration for either five-man rotation over the final two weeks of the regular season, or the playoff rotation.
Other things we learned …
* The Ghost of Raul Valdes, who pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, may have shown that he could be the Yankees’ LOOGY over the next two weeks and into the postseason.
* The Yankees’ bullpen, in the last two games, pitched 9 1/3 innings of shutout ball. The group allowed just two hits and walked four — three by Scott Proctor — in that span.
* The Rays are white-hot. They beat up the Red Sox again and are surging toward a September comeback to rival the 2007 Colorado Rockies. The Yankees have a six-game edge over the Rays in the loss column, which may seem cushy with only 10 games left, but this week’s series at Yankee Stadium cannot be taken lightly. Depending on Monday’s result against the Minnesota Twins, sweeping the Rays would clinch that coveted playoff spot for the Yankees, leaving next weekend’s series against the Red Sox open for clinching the division.
This week features the games the regulars get paid the big money to play. Let’s see how the manager and the team respond.
[Photo Credit: New York Post]
…like that rally that wasn’t there?
At least not on Friday night at the Stadium. Down 3-2 the Yanks had the bases loaded in the fifth–on a gift, really, as a near triple play for the Jays turned into bases juiced nobody out–Mark Teixeira popped out to short and then Alex Rodriguez grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. In the eighth, Yanks down 5-3, they had the bases full again, but Derek Jeter whiffed–on a pitch out of the strike zone–and Nick Swisher tapped a harmless ground ball to first.
Freddy Garcia labored through five and David Robertson had a tough inning in the sixth; he gave up two runs and made a critical error. Robinson Cano hit two line drive home runs, absolute seeds, like pow!
But the Yanks couldn’t get a rally going and lost 5-3.
“He could very easily be as good as anyone in baseball,” said Larry Bowa, the former Yankees coach and now an MLB Network analyst. “The reason I say that is because the position he plays. I’m sure there’s going to be guys that hit more home runs and drive in more runs. I’m talking about the overall position this kid plays — in the middle of the diamond, involved in everything. He could be as good as anybody. He’s got unbelievable talent.”
[Drawing by Walt Simonson]