Sunday, December 8, 2013

Robinson Cano and the Yankees

I hit up the Mariners' $240 million, 10-year free agent contract with Robinson Cano earlier. There are two implications of this deal for the Yankees, as I see it.

  • The Bombers have a somewhat unfair reputation for "buying pennants." There was a time when they signed high-priced star free agents by the armload. But there really hasn't been that much of that recently; the last two splurges were CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira, and that was five years ago. (Yes, I know, Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury signed big contracts, but they are not stars like CC and Tex were.) What the Yankees have done, though, is retain their key players, most famously Jeter, Rivera, Pettite, and Posada. Can you remember the Yankees losing their best hitter, in his prime, to free agency? I can't.
  • The Yankees' window for buying pennants has probably closed, anyway. As Joe Sheehan pointed out in a brilliant piece in his newsletter Thursday (subscription required, and it's worth it), top young stars hardly ever hit free agency in their prime anymore; their teams have them locked up. Think of Evan LongoriaAndrew McCutchenTroy Tulowitzki--all have long-term contracts with their teams. So even if they wanted to, the Yankees can't buy a pennant anymore by waiting for young stars to hit free agency after six years. So they need to keep core players like the one who just got away.

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