“I remember years ago, the Houston Astros were in a tug-of-war with the New York Mets over Carlos Beltran, and they waited the entire winter. And then, when Beltran made the decision and went to the Mets, there was nothing left on the board (for the Astros). That’s a problem you don’t want to be into. I think he didn’t make his decision until, off the top of my head, January. They put all eggs in that little basket, and then it wasn’t there for them in the end, and it affected their winter and their catchup after that. Those things are things you have to deal with. Those are the pressure points you work through, and you rely on the experience. I think being in this chair as long as I have, I’ve got a lot of those types of experiences to rely on as I make my decisions of what we should or shouldn’t do and share those accounts. We’ve been there, done that, and we’re not afraid of it. But at the same time, it’s our job to look at retaining Robinson Cano, but I’ll obviously look at whatever the alternatives have to be in the event that’s not possible. But our hope is to retain him.”
Does a seven-year deal with Jacoby Ellsbury hurt the Yankees ability to re-sign Cano? Doesn’t have to.
There is now $153 million that’s assigned elsewhere and won’t go to Cano, but the Yankees were never going to raise their Cano offer by that much anyway. It may be that this is what the Yankees look like when they’re being fiscally responsible. Still spending big — spending huge, even — but setting real limits on what they’re willing to pay for individual players. No more Alex Rodriguez-type desperation signings. It’s easy to give a X-amount to Ellsbury when you know the team isn’t going beyond Y-amount to sign Cano. That’s a real budget, not a dangerous spending spree.
Could we ultimately look at this as a one-or-the-other situation? If Cano goes elsewhere we probably could, but that would be an unfair analysis because of that story Cashman told two months ago.
There are reports of Carlos Beltran being close to a deal with the Royals. There are reports of the Mets getting serious in their talks with Curtis Granderson. The free agent market seems to be moving fast, and the Yankees lineup needs more than Cano. Considering the Yankees already have a first baseman, and the third base market is awfully thin, their best chance to fully upgrade was to sign an outfielder. They couldn’t sit by and watch those outfield dominoes fall while waiting for Cano to make his decision. That’s a good way to end up paying a desperation contract, or — if Cano still went elsewhere — to end up missing out entirely.
I’ve written before that I never considered Ellsbury a perfect fit for the Yankees this offseason. Seems to me that they already have a poor-man’s version of Ellsbury in Brett Gardner, and I think they might have been better off with a cheaper corner outfielder who better profiles in the middle of the order. But the Yankees looked into that sort of player — Beltran — before moving on to Ellsbury.
Ultimately, they grabbed one of the game’s best leadoff hitters and signed him to a huge contract that comes with some obvious long-term risk. But there was real risk in sitting still as well.
Associated Press photo