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Yankees front office reacts to Cano’s “respect” comments

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I’m sure Robinson Cano said a lot of nice things about Seattle yesterday, but the only quote that’s getting any traction here in New York is this one:

“I didn’t feel respect (from the Yankees). I didn’t get respect from them and I didn’t see any effort.”

That lack of respect was a seven-year, $175-million contract suggestion that the Yankees made clear would be their best and final offer. Cano, for obvious reasons, went to Seattle for 10 years, $240 million.

Today at Yankee Stadium, as the team introduced Jacoby Ellsbury, it became clear that this is the offseason of Cano. No matter what the Yankees do the rest of this winter, it will all be seen through the lens of Cano’s contract and the Yankees decision to move on without going 10 years at more than $200 million. Whatever happens, good or bad, will be tied to the Cano situation.

Here are members of the Yankees front office responding to Cano’s “respect” comment.

Hal Steinbrenner [2]HAL STEINBRENNER
“I don’t take it that personal. I was not disappointed. I’m a little surprised. There was nothing disrespectful about the last offer that was on the table, which was $25 for seven. I’m not quite sure why he feels that way, but it is what it is. … If I had to pick a word, I guess I would be able to pick surprised. Look, Robbie was a great Yankee. He’s a great player and we wish him all the best. He’s going to do great there and he’s going to be a big part of that organization. Bottom line with us was we never got close. We were always a significant distance apart.”

“First, let me say Robbie Cano was a great Yankee. In all my years, I thought Robbie Cano was a really good person and a good guy. I think he was very disappointed that he’s not a New York Yankee anymore. I think anybody would be disappointed when you leave the New York Yankees. We treated him with the utmost respect. We respect him to this day. We tried very hard to re-sign him. As I said the other day, we offered him $175 million for seven years, $25 million a year. If that’s not trying hard, I don’t know what trying hard is. To put it in context, an average annual value of $25 million, except for Alex Rodriguez and Justin Verlander, that’s the highest average annual salary in baseball. At $175 million, that’s right up there as one of the most lucrative contracts in all of baseball history.

“We just don’t believe our policy is for players over 30 years old, we don’t believe in 10 year contracts. They just have not worked out for us, they have not worked out — I believe – for the industry. When we signed Derek Jeter to a 10 year contract I believe he was 26. In that context it makes sense. If Mike Trout was here, I’d recommend the 10 year contract. But for people over 30, I don’t believe it makes sense. I don’t think Hal thinks it makes sense. We’re very clear about that. As far as Robbie goes, we really tried hard. Very competitive. We told all of his agents that. I understand his disappointment. This is the greatest sports franchise and organization in the world, but he made the decision I believe which you cannot blame him for. It’s a lot, a lot of money to go to Seattle for the money.

“That’s OK. Every one of us in our life no matter who you are has a decision to make, do I stay where I am and weigh that versus do I go to another opportunity for a lot of money. People understand that. That’s very reasonable. Nobody begrudges him. I respect him for making that decision. Seattle is a great city I have family there, it’s a great organization. The Mariners, and we wish him nothing but the best. We showed him nothing but respect. We tried as hard as we could to bring him back. He made the decision because he got a much better offer and we respect him for doing that.”

Brian Cashman [3]BRIAN CASHMAN
“This is, I think, is my 17th year doing this, and six years as an assistant GM before that, so we’re used to pulling somebody from another team who grew up in another environment, who had a long, successful career there, and they come over here, and we’ve shown them the love financially speaking. And there’s a great warm feeling from all of that. And then there’s disappointment because the other team fell short, or fell short by a lot. Sometimes, the business of baseball can create some hard emotions I guess, but we loved Robbie and he’s a great player. We made an offer that we were comfortable with making, and it fell far short of where Seattle was.

“In terms of respect, they showed a lot more respect financially than we did. I think Seattle and the Yankees both agree on the type of player that he is. He’s a Hall of Fame caliber guy. He’s having an amazing career that we were fortunate to have while we had him. But at the same time, business is business. Everybody has to make tough decisions, and sometimes those decisions can feel personal, but there’s nothing personal about it. We all agree he’s a tremendous player, he’s a great person. We’d rather have him here than there, but we could not even come close to matching up on the financial side of it. And when you’re trying to do that, you can get confused on what is respect vs. a difference of opinion. It’s all good as far as I’m concerned. I wish him all the best. I don’t want to have to face him ever — but we will be facing him obviously when Seattle and us match up – because I know the damage that he does. We were fortunate to have him. I’m sorry that we don’t have him.

“But like every year, the team has changed. Talent comes and goes. So it’s our job to cushion the blow (of) losing him, and Jacoby Ellsbury is one piece of a puzzle that we’re still trying to put together so our fans can be proud in 2014 and beyond. We’ll see. But I wish him the best of luck. I can’t tell you anything more than good things about Robbie. I’m sorry he feels that way. I understand that that’s also usually a part of the process too when things don’t go the way you want them to go from both ends. Bouquets, bouquets, bouquets. I’ll throw him bouquets all he wants, but I couldn’t throw him 235 million dollars.”

Associated Press photos