Extension Candidate: Robinson Cano

Two of the game's best second basemen have agreed to contract extensions in the past 24 hours. Ian Kinsler took five years and $75MM from the Rangers while Brandon Phillips took six years and $72.5MM from the Reds, setting the market for elite players at the position. The Yankees and Robinson Cano were surely paying attention.

Uspw_6106016Cano, 29, will become a free agent after the Yankees exercise his no-brainer $15MM option for 2013. Kinsler – who is only five months older than Cano – was in a similar situation before signing his extension, with the Rangers holding a $10MM club option for 2013. The two are very different players – Cano hits for a much higher average while Kinsler offers some more power and speed – but they rate similarly in wins above replacement, or WAR. Since the start of 2009, Cano has compiled 16.3 WAR while Kinsler is at 15.8 WAR according to FanGraphs.

The two players may be similar, but Cano's credentials give him a better shot at a huge contract. He's a three-time All-Star, has twice finished in the top six of the MVP voting, was the Rookie of the Year Award runner-up in 2005, and has played in at least 159 games in each of the last five seasons. Kinsler is a two-time All-Star, has zero top-ten finishes in the MVP voting, and made at least one trip to the DL in five of his six big league seasons. Cano also has gaudier RBI totals, and that stuff pays.

Kinsler's extension contains the largest average annual value ($14MM) ever given a second baseman, though that will change when Cano's option is exercised. I'm sure the Yankees would love to give their second baseman the same five-year, $75MM contract Kinsler received, but that would represent a pay cut for Cano based on his salary for next season. Cano hired Scott Boras last February, and a player usually doesn't hire the super-agent so close to free agency unless he's looking for a monster payday.

Fair or not, the Yankees are going to have to give their second baseman a contract larger than what Kinsler and Phillips received if they intend to keep him beyond next season. Cano is primed for a six or seven-year guarantee with an annual salary somewhere in the $15-20MM range. If he takes a step forward and wins an MVP award this year or next, he could command even more on the open market. The Yankees insist on not negotiating new contracts until the current one expires, but they broke that policy once for Cano and it would not be surprising if they did it again.

Photo courtesy of US Presswire.

30 Responses to Extension Candidate: Robinson Cano Leave a Reply

  1. he almost won the ROY at age 12? impressive, to say the least

  2. Karkat 3 years ago

    Chase Utley better enjoy his record for biggest 2B contract ever while it lasts.

  3. AmericanMovieFan 3 years ago

    The conversation I’ve been dying to have! Cano is gonna cost at least $16MM a year, I think. Yeah, an extension is gonna be at least 5 years/$80MM though assuming he intends to beat Chase Utley’s contract it could go up to 5 or 6 years for $90MM+.

    • MB923 3 years ago

      Knowing Scott Boras, he’ll probably make double that amount

      Hopefully the Yankees don’t get any more than 6 year/$100 mil, but I see him probably getting 6 year/$120 mil+

      • AmericanMovieFan 3 years ago

        Yeah 6 years/$120MM seems like the most logical outcome of any extension talks between Cano and the Yankees, though given all the inflation in baseball it could go as high as 6 years/$126MM or maybe even 7 years/$140MM.

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

         I think if Boras begins at 6/120m? There is going to be an awful lot of trouble here and no extension until after his contract, as well as option year expire. 20m+ is a huge chunk of change and not saying Cano is not top 22b in the game or anything, but Boras is always looking to set huge payday records for a position and he may be looking to use Cano as another of his poster childs. Regardless or not if Cano whether prefer to stay with NY.

        The key here is that Hank and Hal may jump in and negotiate directly if negotiations stall anyway. It just may end up costing more in the long run, but that Phillips deal did a lot of damage to the 2b salary structure. Kinsler’s was not bad, but Phillips at 6/72 was a huge overpay and at least gave Boras the idea of maybe trying 7 years plus now with Cano.

        Bad thoughts here with what he could be contemplating.

        • AmericanMovieFan 3 years ago

          Boras and the Yankees have a unique relationship, especially given how A-Rod handled his contract talks with the team a few years ago, doing much of the deal without Boras and only bringing him in for the final details/signing of the deal. I’m sure Cano and A-Rod will talk about that a bit and Cano will be open to whatever negotiating tactics work the best.

  4. MikeTorrez 3 years ago

    1995 huh? I assume that’s all been with the Yanks right? So he’s got 4 rings too. 

  5. Whip Wilson 3 years ago

    These contracts are making Pedroia look like a steal. At least there’s one thing Boston fans have going for them.

  6. Cano is the best hitter on the team, I really think that he’ll get damn near Teixiera AAV. I’ll guess 130/6.

  7. endlessmike891 3 years ago

    You can’t give a second baseman over 30 a 5+ year contract.Not many second basemen had great careers after 32.Not Utley,Roberto Alomar,Ryan Sandberg or even  Joe Morgan whoall had better players all better than  Cano.

    Second basemen tend to fizzle out quickly. Cano is the best pure hitter but in 3 years he’ll look like A-Rod now.

    • YanksFanSince78 3 years ago

      Kind of unfair to compare a player 6 years into his career against those who are already in the HOF.

      Sandberg, statistically, was a better defenseman than Cano (though it’s odd since one of the factors is an eyeball account of a players range), but 6 years into his career his WAR of 24.7 is comparable to Sandberg’s 24.3. Up until this point Cano has displayed more power and more contact hitting ablity than Sandberg did at that age. Sand had a distinct advantage when it came to speed and defense. His power came later on.

      Alomar is a better all-around 2b than Cano is now.

      Utley was a beast but has proven to be very fragile and is a shell of himself now. Cano, hopefully, will continue to be durable as he has his last 5 years (159 + games per season).

      Morgan was an OBP machine and a speed demon and neither are those two qualities ever going to be a MAJOR part of Cano’s game (especially the speed) but I can see him finishing with a bat avg well over .300 with somewhere between 325-350 hrs being quite possible and an outside shot at 400 hrs if he turns it on in the next few seasons. That would shatter Jeff Kent’s record of 377 hrs by a 2b. Quite possibly, Cano could go down as the best offensive 2b in the game depending on the 10 seasons. He needs 256 hrs to reach 400 and that avg’s out to 25 per until age 40. Unrealistic possibly but not out the question. If Jeter can play SS until 40 then Cano may not be a stretch.

  8. Mickeyblue 3 years ago

    I think 6/120 is the absolute floor for a Cano deal and anyone who thinks anything is going to get done under 100 mil is delusional. There is no way he gets less than 6/120 in my eyes and could easily get that on the open market if the Yankees don’t wish to pay it.

    • redsx968 3 years ago

      I think saying 6/120 is the abosolute floor is delusional. But, I could easily see him getting that. It’s definitely going to be at least 5/90 though, and almost certainly over 100

  9. Tad_Knackers 3 years ago

    Instead of asking what his contract will be, we SHOULD be asking what the Yanks could get for him if they decided to TRADE him now.  It’s no secret that the Steinbrenners are cutting back and want the Yanks to have a lower payroll in the years ahead.

    What superstars could the Yanks get for Cano at this point?  Felix?  Lincecum?  I MIGHT consider Cano for Felix but the Giants would have to throw in another prospect.

    Who else?

    • johnsilver 3 years ago

         ” I MIGHT consider Cano for Felix but the Giants would have to throw in another prospect.”

      An old Steve Martin 1 liner went “Comedy is not pretty”, well that
      proposal is down right brutal for Seattle and SFG before being asked to
      add anyone and Cano is top 2 2b in the game.

      • Tad_Knackers 3 years ago

        Big difference.  Lincecum is an injury waiting to happen.  Cano is a model of consistency, and San Francisco has no offense as it is.

    • NYBravosFan10 3 years ago

      yeah the Giants could include this kid named Zack Wheeler with Lincecum. He’s got a dynamic arm and can consistently pitch in the high 90’s. Although I doubt they would trade him for anything less than a player who will surely help them be playoff contenders for a the next several years and has spent little to no time on the DL…oh, wait…

  10. NYBravosFan10 3 years ago

    Robby Cano is about to get a big time contract doncha know?

  11. BitLocker 3 years ago

    I’m good with a 6 year contract for 90M.  Anything more and I’m ok with letting him walk. The Yankees don’t really need another A-Rod or Jeter where they need the DH spot because they are already tired by the 3rd game of the season or a Texeira where he says, “Screw this, I’m going deep!” and then hits a pop up.

    • MB923 3 years ago

      You wouldn’t do 6 year/$100 mil? And 2B is the easiest infield position to play after 1B. I know he is pretty sub par, but if Jeter could play SS at the age of 37, I’m pretty sure Cano would be able to play 2B at the age of 36, though in all likhood he’d be below average.

      • BitLocker 3 years ago

         Well, I’m more worried about the years. 6 years/100M is fine. When you start going 7-10 years for 130+M is when I’d rather let him walk.

        • Havok9120 3 years ago

           I’m in your boat. I’m far more concerned about years than money, and I’m a Yankee fan thats one of the least “not my money syndrome” affected people I know. I’m willing to overpay somewhat for 6 years with club options beyond that, but guaranteeing more than 6 years makes me dubious. 7 at the absolute max for a guarantee.

  12. Yankees420 3 years ago

    I’m hoping the Yankees don’t have to commit more than 6 years, like many of you here.  If 6 years at 19MM per year (114MM) isn’t enough to get him to sign, Cashman might want to think about letting him explore FA to see if anyone will even match that deal.  I say start the offer around 6/100MM with no-trade protection and work from there, but don’t go overboard. 

  13. franklance 3 years ago

    kinsler is good; steals bases and hits homers; cano approaches greatness; hits for average, homers and is alomaresque defensively…it’s always a gamble to go multiyear, but seldom are the gambles this tempting…the best guy at his position in mlb…cano, doncha know?

  14. tcastantine 3 years ago

    Robbie!!! My favorite player… We were born on the same day, October 22, 1982!

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