George Steinbrenner would have paid Robinson Cano. So it's a good thing for the New York Yankees that Hal Steinbrenner, the team's current owner, is not his father. Because in five or six years, when Cano is 36 or 37 years old and probably struggling to earn $24 million a year and there's still four or five years left on the $240 million contract he signed with the Seattle Mariners on Friday, the Yankees won't have to be wondering how they got here — again — and how they'll get out of it.
The Yankees have been down this expensive road before. With Alex Rodriguez, for $275 million. With CC Sabathia for $182 million. With Mark Teixeira, for $180 million. They've even taken on the likes of Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano at the end of their megadeals when no one else wanted to afford them anymore. They've seen what's happening with Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton in Los Angeles.
By letting Cano go to the M's, the Yankees actually exercised some ... financial restraint. It's kind of miraculous. Now, they're not exactly undergoing an austerity program; They signed Jacoby Ellsbury for $153 million earlier this week. And other expensive players surely will take Cano's place. But a $240 million road can be much rockier. And if anyone wants to complain about "baseball's escalating salaries," don't look in New York's direction. It wasn't them this time.
The Yankees still have many holes and plugging them will require much money — which they also have. They'll just be able to spread it around a little better.
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