rapper-turned-agent from the Brooklyn and a second baseman in Seattle and a center fielder in Anaheim and, hey, isn't that Jacoby Ellsbury?Only in New York, perhaps, does a franchise hold a press conference to announce a $153-million center fielder, only to have the event become something entirely different – about who is not there, about the price of respect, about a
Separated by a few hours, a few thousand miles and a few clicks on the definition of "respect," Robinson Cano slipped into a Mariners jersey and Ellsbury into pinstripes. Cano said he'd felt dogged by the Yankees. The Yankees countered, undoubtedly feeling $175 million is the Marmaduke of dogs. And Ellsbury was just happy to be here.
A man feels what he feels. If $175 million is an insult to himself and the marketplace and his body of work, then that's his view and his prerogative. He's free to find better elsewhere. So he did. And so Robinson Cano will not be a career Yankee, he presumably of the notion the cost of being a career Yankee -- $65 million or so – was not in his budget.
Plus, you know, he wanted to be loved, I guess, like Alex Rodriguez was, or like Albert Pujols or Joey Votto were, while the Yankees were off chasing Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran and a new fiscal sanity. So he went to Seattle to love the one he's with, that being $240 million over a decade.
"I didn't feel respect," Cano told reporters in Seattle on Thursday. "I didn't get respect from them and I didn't see any effort. We never got to the point they were close to committing anything."
It certainly appeared the Yankees were more than happy to finish second in Cano's free agency. He is 31 and in his prime and a damned good ballplayer, but the Yankees have seen that before, their personal paradise by the scoreboard light, and the end of time can't come soon enough.
So Cano leaves his Yankees legacy undone, and signs up with a franchise in the midst of finding itself but offering the commitment he sought, because, he said, he feared he'd be out of work in his late 30s. Or something.
"[I] wouldn't wonder when I'm 37 or 38 would I have a job one day," he said.
Fear not, he's set through 2023, the year he'll turn 41, at which point he'll have made about $300 million as a ballplayer.
By Friday, the Yankees were introducing Ellsbury and defending their decision to be outbid by the Mariners. Or vice versa.
"I feel bad for [Cano]," Yankees president Randy Levine told reporters in New York. "Because I think he was disappointed he's not a Yankee. But I respect him. He's free to say whatever he wants to say."
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Of course, that's a very Yankee thing to say, assuming everybody needs to be a Yankee and stay a Yankee forever. Levine is probably right in this instance, however. For perhaps the first time in his life, Cano heard he is replaceable, or not worth all that, or however he's chosen to translate the Yankees' offer/interest/respect. It might have stung a little.
"I understand his disappointment," Levine said. "This is the greatest sports franchise and organization in the world."
See what one championship in 13 years gets you?
Besides, Levine said, the Yankees are done with the kinds of contracts the Mariners gave to Cano, the kind of contract the Mariners believe was utterly justified. This is where Mike Trout made an appearance, because, well, why not? It's never too early, if you're the Yankees, to let Mike Trout, who is only 22, know he's wanted.
"If Mike Trout was here, I would recommend a 10-year contract," Levine said.
Well, now, that's respect.