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Yanks Ink Cano Through Arb Years

UPDATE, 1-28-08 at 9:25pm: Peter Abraham has Cano's contract particulars.  The deal could be worth $57MM over six years, at the high end.

UPDATE, 1-25-08 at 5:06pm: Jon Heyman has the probable contract details.  Cano gets $28MM over his arbitration years.  He then has a 2012 option for $13MM and a 2013 option for $15MM.

FROM 1-24-08 at 12:54pm:

Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Yankees are close to a four-year deal with second baseman Robinson Cano. Since he's a Super Two, this will cover all of his arbitration years. Rosenthal also says that the deal will include a club option or two, allowing the Yankees to buy out some of Cano's free agency. The deal looks to be worth $30 million.

Rob Neyer recently said that if he was picking a second baseman for the next five years, he'd take Cano. We at River Ave. Blues totally agree. His defense has improved every year that he's been in the majors, and save for a horrific slump from mid-April through May, Cano was an absolute monster at the dish last year.

This is odd protocol for the Yankees, who tend to let their arbitration guys go year-to-year. They didn't even sign Derek Jeter before he was ready for free agency -- and they actually lost an arbitration hearing to him prior to the 1999 season. Of course, he more than made up for it with his 10-year, $189 million contract.



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given the yankees limitless payroll, hard to get excited over a cost controlling contract for a very good young player. That being said, gotta love Cano's overall game.

Keith Law just served up an mlbtraderumors.com name drop. Get ready for a traffic spike.

Could someone enlighten me on the logic behind preferring Cano over Utley the next five seasons?

Silly Wayne. Cano is inferior to Utley in every offensive category except Playing For The Yankees, which automatically makes him superior.

I don't think you can compare Cano's contract to Jeter's, Jeter's was years ago under a different GM, different owner, and different economics of the game. Steinbreiner if I remember correctly was in a mood where he didn't want to set the price of Jeter and Bernie Williams, but rather let other players and teams do it, so he wouldn't be blamed.

Cano will be 29 in five years and He plays in tougher league.Cano also plays in pitching ballpark which is Yankees stadium

While Utley will be 34 years old in four years and He hitting Band box in Philly.

I will take utley all day long

"Jeter's was years ago under a different GM, different owner,"

To nitpick, George Steinbrenner is technically still the owner of the Yankees. And Brian Cashman took over as GM in 1998. Jeter wasn't eligible for arbitration until the 1999 season.

I'm glad that Yankees learned their lesson and hopefully that Cashman realize this sooner.

27-32 are generally accepted as the prime years for hitters. I don't really get the tougher league/stadium arguments either, Utley was .886 OPS road last year vs. Cano's .816. The only real thing I can see for Cano is power projectability, but he'd have to be a perennial 40 guy to have a substantial edge on Utley. Or maybe the fact that he is less of an injury risk of Utley because Chase actually plays hard in the field

Not that I don't like Cano, I think he's definitely the second best 2b in the game. I guess I was just annoyed that the author "totally agreed" that he's the superior player for the next five years

Why don't the silly Philly fans wait until knowing the context of the Neyer quote (and if they do, please share it)?

Nobody will debate that Utley is a better player now. But as others have said, Utley is 29 while at the end of 5 years, Cano will be at his assumed peak. I have to hope that even Philly fans, if made to choose between Cano in 2012 and Utley in 2012, would choose Cano.

So the question is does Cano's advantage in the later years make up for Utley's advantage in the earlier years? Probably not. But now if you're considering salary, Cano will likely be making less than 2/3 of what Utley is over the next 5 years. That could definitely be enough to tip the scales in Cano's direction.

So - would I, as a Yankee fan, take Utley over Cano for the next 5 years? I think so - but it is not remotely close to being an easy decision.

I don't think it's an easy decision either. I was legitimately asking someone to make the argument, as I couldn't read the piece referenced myself. Not an Insider. I think Cano is the clear-cut second best 2b.

I don't see why you'd automatically pick a 29 year old Cano over a 33 year old Utley in 2012 either.

Cano has been better against lefties than Chase after two full years, but otherwise compare the stats of Utley's 2005 to Robbie's 2007- favor Chase across the board. Utley is now a complete hitter against lefties, his only real weakness. I see no reason why he can't continue to put up peak numbers into 2012. I'm not going to concede that much projectability for Cano

"Cano will be 29 in five years and He plays in tougher league.Cano also plays in pitching ballpark which is Yankees stadium

While Utley will be 34 years old in four years and He hitting Band box in Philly."

Ok. How does playing in a tougher league make you a more valuable hitter? Thats ridiculous. Who cares. There are still great pitchers in both leagues, and they both play in lineups that are sick, so there is no arguement there. Utley has a higher career OBP then Cano's career high. In 3 years, Cano has only matched Utleys career slugging one time. Utley is just a better player. And besides, Utley will be playing in Philly for the next 5 years, so I am not sure it matters. You call Yankee staidum a pitchers ball park, which is true, but then atleast mention that Cano probably got helped out on half of his homeruns by a short porch in RF. Dont get me wrong, Cano is a great player, probably the second best second baseman in baseball. But Bourne's Identities is right, Utley is literally a better player in every aspect of the game right now.

"I will take utley all day long"

Werd up homes.

Well, for one, nearly all of his comparables had suffered large declines by age 33. Hardly scientific, but just in general you can't bet on a player producing at age 33 as he did at 28 or 29.

It is certainly possible that Cano doesn't improve and Utley stays at the same level, but I don't think it's likely.

I think if you took the next 5 years, and asked fans to pick Cano or Utley for just the single year only, it might look something like:

2008 - Utley 95%
2009 - Utley 70%
2010 - Utley 50%
2011 - Utley 35%
2012 - Utley 15%

I don't know, that's off the top of my head.

Anyway, my point is not that Cano is better, or that he _does_ have a lot of projectability. Just that the smart money would be on him for 2012 (kind of crazy that we're debating 2012, isn't it?), and probably 2011, and once salary is considered, it's really a toss-up.

I won't get into the stadium/league thing, but it looks like Yankee Stadium didn't help him out HR-wise:


And dammit Tim - please fix this stupid TypeKey crap that makes me log in over and over again. "Keep me signed in for 2 weeks" - yeah right.

bobo, if you take it year by year, then year Cano might be better in years 4 or 5. He might not be, but the point is, if I had to pick one of them right now to have for the next 5 years, I have to take Utley, no slight to Cano, I just see them both regularly and think that Utley is just a better player right now. He scares me more then Cano. If I cant have Utley, I wont complain having Cano though. Too me its like A-Rod and Miguel Cabrera, if I have to choose one of them for the next 5 years, I will take A-rod hands down no doubt about it, but Miggy is still an awesome player.

I guess that's an argument, although you won't be selling me on it. Instead of more debate, let's just stick our tongues out at fans of other teams that will be fielding non Cano/Utley second basemen for the rest of the decade

Yeah, I agree - like I said, right now I would lean to Utley too - I'm just debating the comments that make it sound like Utley is a no-brainer and that anyone that would take Cano is a stupid Yankee fan.

And yes, good idea, wayne gomes :)

objectively speaking, how could you NOT pick Cano over the NEXT 5yrs? I can't argue that Utley has been better the LAST 3yrs and is the better player RIGHT NOW, but I truly believe that they will be EQUAL THIS YEAR. as nrmax said: the smart money is on Cano over the next 5. he will be 29 and Utley 34. Utley will probably still get better, but Cano should most likely get MUCH better. Utley has a HUGE advantage batting in front of Howard while Cano bats 6/7/8. He's primed to take over the 3 spot this year if Abreu struggles. put him in front of A-Hole and watch his numbers spike. plus, Ultey is solid with the glove but has a weak arm, while Cano is also solid but has a strong arm. im not even taking $ into this.

Don't the numbers show that 2Bs tend to either move off or lose all defensive value pretty quickly? I know Kent and Durham are both still there, but they're both horrible with the glove.

Utley will be 33 during the 2012 season, the 5th of the "next 5 year" period we're discussing.

Two arguments for why Utley will not decline markedly (other than the fact that his splits show no real weakness as a hitter):

He has one of the shortest swings in the game. Probably the second shortest stroke behind Bonds. The longer the swing, the less repeatable, the more prone the player is to slumping and year-to-year performance swings.

Cano has a great swing, but one that has a lot of moving parts. He has been slightly slump prone at times, and I think he may always be due to his more complex swing.

Also, back to Utley. He's not a heavily muscled guy. In fact he looks like he never lifted a weight in his life. This makes him less prone to muscle problems/injuries/or decline in strength due to old age. Players that are incredible physical specimens sometimes wear down through the years (not even getting into PEDs). I don't see advancing age doing a ton of damage to Utley's physique, since he doesn't owe his production now to a maxxed out frame.

As far as defense...it's pretty much a consensus that Utley has worked very hard to make himself into a solid 2B. The main concerns with Cano defensively now are mental lapses and inconsistent effort. Who is to say that the desire to improve exists in Cano to the same degree defensively? Especially for such a naturally gifted player. Ok, that's a pretty weak argument, but still throwing it out there.

Am I wrong, or is canos ceiling pretty much what utleys career averages are??

Utley= what cano prays every night to be. Cano might be better in year 5...but maybe not even then. Utley is just that good, period. He will be good when he is 34 as well...its not like we are talking about 40 here people. Cano is good, could be great. Utley is great right now, and will be for at least 3 to 5 more years.

I take utley, and its really not that hard.

I think for right now Cano vs. Utley is a good debate, BUT Rickie Weeks will have something to say about who is the Best 2nd basemen in the Next 5 years.

The Aug and Sept he had in 2007 is just the tip of the iceberg for this kid. He played well when he was first called up in 2005 then he had a Thumb injury that he tried playing through from July on...

2006 He started off on a tear had a good 2 months as lead off hitter then he injured his wrist.. and they had to shut him down after 90 games...

2007 he was still recovering from the surgery he had on the wrist..Doctors said it would take a full year recover but he still played last year... not able to hit the ball the other way he was told to pull everything and take the Short Stops head off... When his wrist started feeling better the Brewers sent him down to Triple A.. to get his swing back to normal, instead of the bad habit of pulling everything... he was there a week.

Came back and raked the final 6 weeks
.273BA/ .435OBP/ 11HRs

I do think Utley and cano are better right now...but thats also because we have not seen a Non Injured weeks except for 2 months here and there(which he performed well during those stretches).

Plus his Defense has improved to average to maybe SLIGHTLY below average... Keith Law and Jim Callis expect big things from a Healthy Rickie Weeks this season.

so we will see.... he projections when he was first brought up said he could be a 40/40 man..more relistic was a 30/30 guy. Always had more power in the minors then Prince and Hart...so just keep him in mind for the next 5 years

You realize that if Cano improves slightly (more likely than not) and Utley declines slightly (again, more likely than not) then they're virtually the same player? Say, slightly means 10% or so.

You realize that second basemen's track records, even HOF players, is remarkably bad around age 33? Look at Sandberg, etc. if you don't believe me.

Taking Utley is fine. Saying it's not really hard is not.

To consider:
Utley Home: .372/.446/.628
Cano Home: .315/.361/.505
Utley Away: .296/.377/.509
Cano Away: .297/.345/.471

If Cano's discipline continues to improve, they're pretty similar. Utley has him in power, Cano in defense. Right now its Utley, but to say its a no brainer going forward is pretty wrongheaded.

Also, whoever said Weeks will have a say in this soon is dead on. Its possible that when Weeks's career is all said and done this injury will be a blessing. Judging by the 2nd half numbers, he learned how to be a selective major league hitter. Look out. (Except for in the field. Then look out, but in a different way.)

Robinson Cano couldn't hold Chase Utley's jock. It's just more Yankee overrating.

"To consider:
Utley Home: .372/.446/.628
Cano Home: .315/.361/.505
Utley Away: .296/.377/.509
Cano Away: .297/.345/.471"

I'm considering those, and they both lead me to believe that Utley is just the better player, and its by more than a 10 % margin. Utley is what every 2nd basemen, including Cano, aspires to be. He is the kind of player you build your franchise around. Cano is very good, and could get a bit better, but he isn't a franchise player right now. He might be later, but thats saying he might be what Utley already is.

I like Weeks, but lets hold off on putting him in this conversation until he shows something for more than a month or two. He needs to improve defensively too.

Don't know how any of you are comparing these two but it looks to me that Cano's 22, 23 and 24 year old years are far superior to Utley's offensively. Utley is 4 years older than Cano. In 2003 Mike Lowell had better numbers than Miguel Cabrera. Look what Cabrera did in his next 4 years though. Utley is in his prime, won't get better. Cano still has a high ceiling.

Because Cano's celing IS Utley, thats the whole point!

And Miggy always had a higher ceiling offensively than Mike Lowell...thats more like comparing Miggy to A-Rod, not Mike Lowell.

"Because Cano's celing IS Utley, thats the whole point!"

and you know this how?

Because Utley is the Gold standard on 2nd basemen as far as most scouts are concerned. He is the ceiling on ceilings for the most part.

Someone said Weeks could become a 30/30 guy. Weeks is 25. Brandon Phillips is 26, and has already done it. Phillips was 2nd among MLB 2B in HRs, SBs, and Runs, and 3rd RBI. And last year among everyday 2B had the highes Fielding % in the NL as well the 4th highest Zone Range and 2nd highest Range Factor. Can't believe no one even mentioned him.

"Because Utley is the Gold standard on 2nd basemen as far as most scouts are concerned. He is the ceiling on ceilings for the most part."

Hmmmm, so it isn't possible that a 2nd baseman becomes a better player than Utley? Whatever they do, they will only be as good as Utley? You do realize that is what you are saying?

why are we comparing utley to cono, im a huge yankees fan and i love cano, but utley is a better player, even in the next 5 years utley will have increasing power and all, that does not make cono a bad hitter, i see them as 2 young great players, yes utley have 2 little advantage, he bats behind ryan howard and he plays in a small ball park, but these 2 plays would get better in the next 5 years, and who are you guys to judge which one will be better, are any of you professional scouts..? what if one of them gets injured and slows down..?

anyways if i had to choose cano or utley i would choose cano, because im a yankees fan.

Bobo wrote, "You realize that second basemen's track records, even HOF players, is remarkably bad around age 33? Look at Sandberg, etc. if you don't believe me."

I'll give you Sandbeg.

As far as "etc," you must be talking about Joe Morgan. He's the only other f/t 2nd baseman post-1970 to be elected to the HOF. He won the MVP at age 32 and 33 and made the all star team every year between age 28 and age 36. That's not exactly "remarkably bad."

There are plenty of non HOF examples of second basemen who are effective into their mid30s.

Kent and Durham are obvious ones. Kent has hit 47 percent of his career home runs since he turned 33. Durham had the best offensive season of his career when he was 35.

Lou Whitaker had the highest OPS of his career at age 34, the second highest at age 35 and third highest at age 36. Davey Lopes made his first all star team at age 33, his second at 34, his third at 35 and his fourth at 36. Robbie Alomar had his best offensive season at age 33 (but disappeared afterward).

2nd basemen don't seem to be any more likely to fade by age 33 or 34 than players at any other position.

(That said, Cano is a fine offensive 2nd baseman, & the question of whether he or Utley will be better five years from now is a close call. I'd bet on Utley, but I wouldn't bet much.)

On another note, I think it's entirely possible that in five years, Rickie Weeks will be competing with Ryan Braun for time in left field. Be honest, Erbacaine, are you Rickie's mom or his agent?

Chase Utley is a great ball player, but im not sure why everyone says how he's Cano's ceiling? Considering Cano has half the service time that Utley does, Cano's avg stats are pretty close to Chase's, including some better then his (like career avg: 314 to 300). Cano hits more singles and doubles then him, just not as many homeruns. But like they've said - the Philly park, and Ryan Howard have something to do with that. I don't think you can say Cano at this point in his career is a better ball player, but he's ceiling is much higher then Chase Utleys current status. I'd rather have a second baseman that hits like Cano and plays defense like Cano then hits like Chase and plays D like chase.

You also have to remember.. that Cano has also been hurtin the last 2 years too. He put up those numbers while he either spent time on the DL mid-season, or should've been on the DL and was still playing.

"Robinson Cano couldn't hold Chase Utley's jock. It's just more Yankee overrating."

I guess I missed the announcement that Rob Neyer had become an official Yankee shill.


No I am not his mom or agent, just a guy that has watched him since the Brewers drafted him. Also why do you think he will be moved to the OF... is it the fact that he dropped his errors from 2006 to 2007 almost in half... hmmm is it the fact that he has good range just hurries the throw to much when he does not need to. Yeah thats what I though GoPhils you don't know what you are talking about like MOST East Coast fans.

Before the 2007 season there was a debate on whether or not to move Weeks or Hall to Center Field...most fans chose Weeks to move because he is faster, better arm, and better athlete. The Brewers choose Hall, because they felt Weeks would be fine at 2nd and he has improved alot...

This not like Braun's Defense where he was historicaly bad and where it would take a HUGE turn around for him to just be bad on Defense...

Anyway 2009 and on there would be no room for Week's in the OF..Braun in Right- Corey Hart in Center- Matt Laporta in Left....well until Scott Boras prices fielder out of Milwaukee... then Laporta to First base

The point is Many "experts" predicted Rickie Weeks to be up for MULTIPLE MVPs with the numbers he was projected to put up in the Majors..

hand injuries can have a huge effect on your swing when your batting stance is like Gary Sheffields

But you will see in 2008 when a healthy Rickie hits .295 BA/ .400 OBP/ 32 HRs/ 35 SBs

For the next 5 years-Utley. But, in 5 years-Cano.

"Don't know how any of you are comparing these two but it looks to me that Cano's 22, 23 and 24 year old years are far superior to Utley's offensively. Utley is 4 years older than Cano. In 2003 Mike Lowell had better numbers than Miguel Cabrera. Look what Cabrera did in his next 4 years though. Utley is in his prime, won't get better. Cano still has a high ceiling. "

Why would you compare age? You'd be comparing Utley at UCLA to Cano on the Yankees.

Look at service time...Utley's 2nd full season (2005) vs Cano's second full season (2007). And then try to tell me that Cano is far ahead of Utley's pace. He's better against lefties in his second full year, that's about all. Utley has since improved greatly against lefties

"You also have to remember.. that Cano has also been hurtin the last 2 years too. He put up those numbers while he either spent time on the DL mid-season, or should've been on the DL and was still playing."

Utley also missed several weeks with a broken wrist in 2007; he was on pace for the best second-base season in several decades and could easily have won MVP last year

Brian is right. Utley for the next 5, Cano after that.

But if we want to talk about who is going to have the better career...

I think Utley is an easy bet there. Lets just look at OPS when they are done, I don't think it will even be as close as you think. Utley is the Gold standard for 2nd basemen, and I seriously doubt that Cano is going to change that.

I would like to remind people that baseball is played elsewhere, outside of the East Coast.

With that reminder I will humbly submit Howie Kendrick's name into the discussion. In his first full year he hit north of .320 (while battling injuries). To expect him to hit .350 w/15 HR's isn't asking too much. The guy posted a career minor league OPS approaching 1000.

I'll agree with the fact that Cano was better than Kendrick in 07. However, I think Kendrick will give Cano a run for his money in 08.

Kendrick has every weakness that Cano has, people whine forever about Cano's lack of walks and Kendrick has walked a wooping 18 times for his entire major league career. which is the same as Cano in 05, but Kendricks had more ABs, and during the same span he also hit for significantly less power and whiffed more.

He's a fine player, but i would remind you that minor league OPS doesn't always translate to the majors.(not every great player in the major was great in the minors, and not every great minor leaguer was great in the majors ) Kendirck had that sort of OPS in the minors thx to a .359 average. the chances of him sustaining anything close to that in the majors is slim at best.. he's also a smaller player hitting right handed. not a very good combo for translating power to the majors. (not impossible, but certainly risky )

I would like to see him at least have one full season played before i make any judgements on him.

As for Brandon Phillips, he has 1 good season so far. as a batter he's like a weaker version of Alfonso Soriano. I guess if he could sustain that sort of power in the longer run it would be good but his track record gives me serious pause .

As for Cano vs Utley debate, it's fairly pointless as we never know how guys advance, safe to say that both would probably be very good player, but things like consistentcy and decline and peaks are not really as predicatable as people though. EVERYONE would have taken Nomar over Jeter back in the early 2000s... just a example.

As for the homeroad split. how about looking at the longer picture instead of throwing out Utley's MVP season against Cano?

CAREER home/road split

Utley:317/.387 /.557 at home , 284/.362/.490 on the road.

Cano: .296 /.329 /.468 at home , .330 /.361 /.508 on the road.

It's definately safe to say that their stats would look much closer over the last 3 years if we put them in a completely neutural park.

Cano's a opposite field guy mostly, so he's actually hurt by playing in YS despite being a lefty. it's sort of like Jeter taking advantage of the park despite being righty. he has a boatload more doubles on the road which probably suggest that he was robbed of quiet a few in YS by the big left field / center left leftfield .

He seems to be making adjustments though, last year was the first time he had even splits, and i remember seeing him actually pulling some balls out in YS. somethine i didn't see in the first two season.


Be careful on your Rickie Weeks projection. He had a 68% contact rate during his "surge" in August and September. That doesn't bode well for his chances to hit .295. That's more of a .270 contact rate. A 95 run, .275/30/75, 30 SB Rickie Weeks with his defense doesn't belong in this conversation.

Actually, at .275, maybe he does. But I think that might be a high end projection for a 68% contact rate.

As a reference, Cano's been in the 85-89% contact rate range.

The thing that is interesting to me is that people talk about Cano as if the guy is Orlando Hudson. He is not a good fielder. He is very flamboyant out there, makes some nice plays but is a hot dog out there sometimes and he is an average at best 2B right now all things considered. Utley has more range then Cano imo, and is the superior fielder. He might not be better hands down, but I see them both playo probably 100 times a year and am more impressed with Chase. Its not like he is that much better, but you would think we were comparing Omar Vizquel and Julio Lugo here.

I should also just say that I dont know if what I just said would stack up with what the fielding metrics they use nowadays would say. It is just my opinion from seeing both guys play more then half their games every year. Neither is great, neither horrible, but Utley looks more reliable to me.

"I should also just say that I dont know if what I just said would stack up with what the fielding metrics they use nowadays would say."

It doesn't. I agree that Cano doesn't always look like a slick defender out there, but the numbers say that he makes the plays. He won't exactly remind you of Robbie Alomar in his prime, but if ground balls hit into his zone turn into outs, then who are we to argue?

Where have you gone Robbie Alomar. Man, I thought the Mets were getting a STUD in that trade. That is the biggest letdown I have had as a sports fan as far as expectations when you bring in a new player and he completely flops. I believe he was coming off roughly 950/850/950 OPS' in 3 seasons prior to joining the mets. He then put up a 700ish OPS for a year and a half before leaving. Ugh.

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