Being handed a contract for $240 million is reason enough for Robinson Cano to trade his pinstripes for a compass and play for the Seattle Mariners. But he also reportedly didn't like how he was being utilized by New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi, and is happy to be leaving the Bronx for that reason also. So much so, apparently, that he didn't even call the Yankees to give them a chance to match Seattle's big offer:
Reporter George A. King III in the New York Post has the anonymously sourced details:
“Robbie didn’t like batting second, he wanted to bat in the middle of the order,’’ one person said. “The Yankees wanted him second because that was best for the team. He wanted to hit in the middle of the order to drive in runs [to increase his value].’’
Through the middle of June, Cano shuttled between second and third in a lineup that didn’t have Derek Jeter to hit second or Rodriguez in the cleanup spot.
For the season, Cano batted third in 110 games, hitting .319 with 16 homers, 73 RBIs and an OPS of .886. As the No. 2 hitter in 42 games, he hit .308 with 10 homers, 30 RBIs and a .955 OPS.
“He told me he didn’t want to play for [Girardi],’’ a friend of Cano’s said.
It's not exactly the sensational stuff of a tell-all book, but it's possible that a combination of perceived slights persuaded Cano that the Yankees didn't quite want him enough, even if the money were to be equal. Being reluctant to bat him in the middle of the order; taking a public stance that they wouldn't be willing to pay him much more (relatively speaking) than outsider Jacoby Ellsbury; making Cano the issue, and not other players, in wanting to stay below the $189 million luxury tax threshold.
Did King talk to Girardi to get his side of the story — for whatever it might be worth? It does not appear he tried. We'll hear from him in time, though.
If the Yankees really wanted Cano, if they really thought he was worth it, if they really thought he was a middle-of-the-order superstar, they wouldn't have made it seem like keeping him was so agonizing to them. So Cano thinks. Maybe.
- - - - - - -