COMMENTARY | Robinson Cano is set to get a big payday at some point in the near future.
The four-time All-Star and Most Valuable Player of this spring's World Baseball Classic is in the final year of his contract with the New York Yankees and some team, somewhere is going to stack up embarrassingly large piles of cash in order to retain Cano's services.
That team should be the New York Yankees.
Since 2005, Cano's first year as a regular for the Yankees, only Dan Uggla with 211 and Chase Utley with 187 have hit more home runs among big-league second basemen with more than 500 games than the 180 Cano has clouted.
His .308 batting average in that span is tops among second baseman, just ahead of Dustin Pedroia's .303. He also leads his position with 723 RBIs. The .504 slugging percentage is second to Utley's .507.
So, yes, the dude has put up some nice numbers for the back of the bubble-gum card.
In what has to be seen as a positive development by Yankees fans, Cano earlier this month fired his agent, Scott Boras, to sign with a new agency headed by Jay-Z, the rapper and entertainment mogul.
Boras is well known in baseball for attempting to squeeze every dime out of contract negotiations and rarely, if ever, does a client of Boras' re-sign with his original team without first exploring the free market.
Cano is the best the Yankees have right now. At age 30, he's right in the middle of his prime, at a time when franchise icons such as Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte are nearing the end of the line.
So it makes sense to build the next iteration of the franchise around Cano.
He's already had a remarkable 2013 after leading the Dominican Republic to the World Baseball Classic title. Cano hit a torrid .469/.514/.781 in eight games, going 15-for-32 with six extra-base hits, including a pair of home runs. Cano scored six runs and drove in six, as well. The victory came four years after a disappointing showing by the Dominican in 2009.
So he's shown he can lead a team.
Now it's time for the Yankees to pony up and get Cano's name on a long-term deal; not one of those ridiculous long-term deals that won't expire until Cano is 63 years old (approximately). But a solid six- or seven-year contract isn't out of the question, given that Cano should still be an effective player at age 36 or 37.
On the baseball side of Jay-Z's new partnership with Creative Artists Agency Sports, agent Brodie Van Wagenen will handle Cano's contract talks. Unlike Boras, Van Wagenen is known for getting large extensions for his clients before they hit free agency.
The Yankees would be well served to give Mr. Van Wagenen a call, if they haven't already. It's very likely he'll be expecting it.
Phil Watson is a freelance journalist and commentator based in upper Michigan who covers the New York Yankees for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.
- Sports & Recreation
- Robinson Cano
- Scott Boras