Scott Boras wants the Yankees to extend Robinson Cano before he hits free agency. The Yankees hold two easy-to-exercise options on Robinson Cano for the next two seasons for $14 and $15 million. The status quo has him reaching free agency at the age of 31. He’s proven to be one of the best hitters in baseball, while playing a strong 2nd base. At this point, he’s a perennial MVP candidate who is due for a huge payday, to the tune of $120+ million, if not much more.
Boras would theoretically offer a reduced rate – to cover some of his and Cano’s risk – to entice the Yankees to renew early. The Yankees would lock up their star before he hits free agency, potentially saving themselves millions and minimizing the risk of a Canoxplosion in the next two years that makes him that much more valuable.
I love Robinson Cano. I want him to retire in Pinstripes just a few years before casually walking into the Hall of Fame. I know that in order for that reality to come to pass, the Yankees will have to give him a large payday when he hits free agency. I just don’t want them to give it to him now, for two reasons.
The first is controlling risk. This is pretty simple: the Yankees have Cano for cheap for 2 years, and they’d be on the hook for a monster salary in the long run even if Cano came down with a debilitating injury, or just started to suck. Boras’ discount would theoretically take this into account, but it wouldn’t account for the other huge liabilities that the Yankees have on their balance sheets right now. Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, and (soon enough) C.C. Sabathia have big money coming to them. Adding additional risk could eliminate future options. But you knew that already.
The second reason I think is more important: price discovery. That’s a term that economists use to describe a very useful function of markets. Without a lot of people who want Cano’s services bidding in a mostly-transparent process, the Yankees don’t know what he’s worth. If they don’t know what he’s worth, they risk overpaying him. This is further complicated when you consider that Cano will be a free agent two years from now. The next two years will see a number of big free agents come to market, and during that time we’ll gain a lot of information about what they are worth. I wouldn’t be surprised if Scott Boras knows more about the ‘proper’ price than most baseball organizations do. The Yankees should wait, because they don’t know what he’s worth. Obviously, Boras can turn around and offer them an amazing deal, but he’s not going to do that. The Yankees are going to have to guess at Cano’s market price, and that guess could turn out being pretty high: sure, he’s worth $20 million or so a year, but for how many years?
Wait on Cano. We’ve got the luxury of a team friendly deal. Boras is going to have to offer a very low price to beat that luxury, and he won’t. I have trouble imagining why he’s even trying.