I wasn’t there for either birth, so I can’t confirm this, but it seems that today is the birthday of both Robinson Cano and Ichiro Suzuki.
Cano turns 30 today. He’s hit .311/.370/.539 the past three years, but he’s coming off a dreadful postseason and a year of diminished numbers with runners in scoring position. Fair or not, there’s an outside perception that he doesn’t hustle, yet there’s little debate that he’s become one of the best all-around hitters in the game.
Ichiro turns 39 today. His numbers were in free fall before the mid-season trade that got him out of Seattle. With the Yankees, his numbers rebounded in a big way with a .322/.340/.454 slash line a productive postseason. He’s not what he once was, but he still has enough speed to make an impact on the bases and in the outfield.
Would you rather sign Cano through his 40th birthday or Ichiro through his 41st?
Picking up Cano’s option for next season is a no-brainer, and locking him up through his mid-30s would be an easy decision as well. But is he worth the 10-year commitment he’s said to be seeking?
Ichiro played well enough this year to suggest he could help — at the right price — as a right-field fill-in for next season. But the bulk of his numbers for the past two years suggest a player quickly playing his way out of everyday status.
Given what we know about the Yankees budget plans for 2014, and given what we know about each player, does it make more sense to extend Cano long-term or take a two-year flyer on Ichiro maintaining his down-the-stretch performance?
Associated Press photos