"What's the first thing I'm going to do with all that money?"
Currently, the biggest issue facing the Yankees after this coming season revolves around Robinson Cano, who is set to become a free agent.
Robbie hit .313/.379/.550 in 2012, with 33 home runs, and finished 4th in AL MVP voting. He also earned his 4th trip to the All Star game, his 4th Silver Slugger award, and a 2nd Gold Glove award. Cano will turn 30 on October 22nd, and about 10 days after that he will become an unrestricted free agent (in the past players had to file for free agency, but the new CBA automatically makes them a free agent the day after the World Series ends).
Although Cano's career OPS+ is a bit lower than Joey Votto's (123 to 155), who signed a 10 year extension last season, not to mention that Robinson will be a couple of years older when he signs his next contract, playing a premium position assures that it's going to cost the Yankees or any other team quite a bit for Mr. Cano's services. Personally, I think it's going to take at least an 8 year deal, and possibly up to 10 years, with an Average Annual Value of $22 to $24 million. And as I've written many times in the past, it would behoove the Yankees to get an extension done before Opening Day, so that Robbie's current contract will affect the AAV of his new deal. That may only save a few million dollars a year against the Luxury Tax, but after looking at a number of scenarios, that $2 to $3 million could mean the difference between getting under the threshold and not getting under it.
"My first purchase after signing my new contract was buying this sweet tuxedo."
I believe Cano is a guy that a team should build around for the future, much like the way the Reds are doing with Votto. But unlike Votto, who plays a position that has a ton of talent, second base doesn't offer a whole lot on the offensive side of things (last season only seven 2B in all of Major League Baseball had an OPS at or above .750, while there were 19 such players at 1B). That means that the Yankees could have a huge bat at 2B, giving them the ability to have a not-so-good bat in the corner outfield... a position normally reserved for somebody that can hit better than .283/.307/.390 (Ichiro's overall triple-slash in 2012). So when I read the following quote from Hal Steinbrenner, I was really happy...
“There’s been a conversation or two [about a contract extension with Robinson Cano]. We’ll get into that and we’ll talk about that at a later date. But he’s been a great Yankee and [we] hope he’s here his entire career.”Now, there was no talk about trying to get that done before the 2013 season starts, but knowing that the team has at least got the ball rolling makes me smile. The #1 thing that I want to happen is for the team to bring Cano back, and this news makes me really believe that that's going to happen. It would be nice if this could go down before a team like the Dodgers is able to drive up the price, though.