Now that Robinson Cano is heading to free agency and the Yankees have missed the playoffs even with him on the roster, is it fair to look back at this season as a missed opportunity to trade Cano for prospects? Andrew Marchand reported today that the Rangers called during the season to ask about Cano, but they were told he was absolutely not available.
1. Traded Cano to the highest bidder, whatever the return. He clearly wasn’t enough to get them into the playoffs, and the Yankees surely could have flipped him for at least one legitimate young player. Even after a trade, the Yankees likely would have been given a chance to re-sign him this winter anyway.
2. Shopped Cano just to find out what he was worth. Could be that he would have brought a massive return, clearly worth the swap. Could also be that a player heading to free agency, with massive contract depends, would have been worth less than a late first-round pick (which is what the Yankees will get if Cano signs elsewhere this winter).
3. Held onto Cano because the playoffs were still very much within reach until the final two weeks. Adding Alfonso Soriano was a real difference maker, and if Alex Rodriguez and Brett Gardner hadn’t gone down — and if Derek Jeter had actually stayed on the field — the Yankees could have made a serious run. Why punt on a season like that?
4. Prioritized re-signing Cano, keeping him if only to give themselves the best chance to bring him back next season. A team like Texas could be a real contender for him on the open market, so why give that team a exclusive window for negotiation? Even if the Yankees aren’t able to re-sign him, that compensation pick means Cano’s not going to walk away without bringing something back in return, but he’s the best player on the market and the Yankees need to be in the best position to bring him back.
Associated Press photo