Considering he’s the best free agent on the market, and often considered the best in the game at his position, Robinson Cano’s free agency has generated little public attention outside of the Bronx. While the Yankees have been locked in negotiations for quite some time — going back to the regular season, really — no other serious suitor has emerged. Some teams have shown vague interest, and there have been rumors of potential interest, but it’s primarily been the Yankees and Cano with a whole bunch of money in between them.
Today, Wally Matthews reports that the Mariners have emerged as seriously players in the Cano bidding and might be willing to go eight years, $200 million. Matthews quotes an unnamed source who says it’s “less than 50-50” that Cano will land back with the Yankees.
It’s a great bit of information, but wasn’t something like this inevitable?
Cano set an impossible asking price, and that was all part of the process. The Yankees countered with something resembling a bargain, because that’s what teams do in the beginning of a negotiation. There was a general belief that Cano would eventually re-sign in New York, and that very easily could have kept other teams from getting heavily involved (at least publicly). But time has always been a factor here. In time, a player like Cano is not going to be ignored. He’s too good, and too many teams have a weakness at second base, and we’ve seen too many times that high-profile free agents eventually find a team willing to pay. Maybe not a price as high as $300 million, but certainly something significant.
So, inevitably, a larger Cano market has emerged. We now have another team and another dollar figure thrown in the mix.
As for the “less than 50-50” quote, I find it hard to ignore the fact that both the Yankees and the Cano camp are trying to play negotiation hardball here. Each one has reason to set the expectation that it’s ready and willing to move on. If Cano really wants to play in New York, well then he better make it happen soon. If the Yankees really want to bring back Cano, well then they better increase their offer. That’s the signal that “less than 50-50” sends.
One other factor to consider was pointed out by Benjamin Kabak on Twitter: “Jay Z signs up his first client. First client signs in the most isolated market in the U.S. #nope”
Let me add that if Cano strictly wanted to follow the money, why not stay with Scott Boras? Signing with Jay-Z suggests wanting something other than inevitable riches. It suggests a desire for a level of fame and notoriety that New York — and not necessarily Seattle — can provide. Maybe Cano is willing to sacrifice that in the name of a massive contract. Maybe the Yankees are willing to up their offer in the name of keeping Cano on the roster. It is, after all, a negotiation. All of this is an inevitable part of the process.
Associated Press photo