How much for Robinson Cano?

Earlier this week Randy Levine of the Yankees Front Office indicated a willingness to part ways with Robinson Cano should he seek too much money in free agency. Strategically, I don’t know why he would say this, unless early negotiations with Cano’s representatives were not going well. Over the past four years Cano has only been the best Yankee and one of the best players in baseball. The Yankees should be willing to walk away from Robbie if the money doesn’t make sense for the organization, but they shouldn’t say that publicly.

That said, the announcement raises the question: How much should the Yankees give Cano? Entering Sunday night’s game Robbie was hitting .312/.385/.520, good for a .385 wOBA, not materially off the .394 wOBA he posted in 2012. His 5.9 fWAR were eleventh best in baseball. With so few games left, Cano’s production is assured. His numbers may change slightly, but Robbie has put up another solid season. What’s that production worth?…

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Yankees beat Rays 3-2 in extra innings, avoid sweep in Tampa

The Yankees are probably going to have to win about twenty more games this year if they want to make a run for a Wild Card spot. That’s a tall order for any team, particularly one that has struggled to score runs as much as the Bombers have this year. Dropping the first two games of a three game set in Tampa this weekend didn’t help the cause. Fortunately the Yankees managed to turn things around in the final game of the series.

Ivan Nova and Alex Cobb pitched to a draw. Cobb was solid. He gave the Rays 5.2 innings of work allowing just two runs on seven hits. Super Nova was better. He lasted 6.2 innings, also allowing just two runs to score. There was an element of luck to Nova’s performance, as he did allow six walks. He also gave up a game tying homer to Evan Longoria in the sixth inning, but managed to keep the Yankees competitive.…

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Robinson Cano is swinging a hot bat again

A few years ago I wrote a post about Robinson Cano arguing that he would never win a batting title because every season he’s good for a month long slump that pretty much kills his numbers and he has to build them back after the slump comes. In the comments section of the post a Cano fan argued that the single month was the deviation, that eventually Cano would perform to his true talent level for an entire season, and win the MVP, or a similar accolade. I’ll say the same thing now that I said then. The month long slump is part of Cano’s game.

This season is no different. As of this writing, Cano is batting .300/.384/.531. He has a .384 wOBA and 3.6 fWAR. This is pretty much the level of production he’s put up since 2009 (his career line is .308/.354/.505). But, once again, he’s gone about getting his numbers in a streaky fashion.

In fact, this season Cano has seen two months when his numbers were sub standard.…

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Cano Locks Right Back In

June was a pretty mediocre month for Robinson Cano by his standards (.275/.395/.418, .345 wOBA).  The elevated BB rate was nice, but the low average and lack of power were crippling in the middle of the batting order when almost everybody else around him was regressing at the speed of sound.  And Robbie started to hear about it from the fans.  The calls for the Yankees to not re-sign him, foolish as they may be, became greater and the whispers about trading him at the deadline grew louder.

Cano has predictably turned things around quickly in the last handful of days.  He’s 12-21 in his last 5 games with 4 HR, 8 RBI, 8 R, 1 BB, and not a single strikeout.  The switch has been flipped and he’s locked in again.  But what was the real cause of his June swoon?  The guys in the ESPN broadcast booth on Sunday night, John Kruk in particular, were convinced that Robbie was struggling due to him expanding his strike zone and trying to do too much with everybody else around him slumping.  …

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Defending Robbie Cano

Cano vs TOR

Pretend it’s the start of the 2013-2014 offseason.  The top free agent available is a lefty hitter in his prime who hits for both plus average and plus power and owns a .307/.351/.503 batting line in 9 career seasons.  He plays an up-the-middle defensive position that the Yankees would desperately need to fill and plays it at a plus level.  He’s almost universally regarded as the best player at his position, one of the top 10 players in all of baseball, and has been a perennial All Star, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, and MVP candidate for the last 5 seasons.  Oh, and he also fired his agent earlier in the season, the one known for squeezing every last drop he can out of the free agent market, to replace him with a rapper whose ties to New York couldn’t be tighter if he was a sidewalk in Times Square.

If you haven’t figured it out, that’s the situation coming up in about 5 months with Robinson Cano.  …

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Has anyone else noticed that Robinson Cano is struggling?

It all started so perfectly for Robinson Cano. Robbie, as every reader of this site is well aware, is a free-agent this year. After the performance he’s put on pretty much since 2009 Cano is well positioned to be the next MLB Superstar to receive a massive contract, something north of $150 million. Through the end of April that large contract seemed guaranteed. Robbie managed a .413 wOBA and 161 wRC+ in the first month of the season. That kind of performance, over the course of the full 162 games, is how a player like Cano gets paid big money. But then something funny happened on the way to the nine figure payday. Robbie hit a wall. In May his wOBA was just .337 and so far in June it has been .242. That’s outright bad.

Cano is currently hitting .272/.339/.500. Those are fine numbers, great for a second baseman, but they’re below Cano’s career averages and well below the production he’s put up recently.…

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Kuroda, Cano and Wells combine to beat Royals 4-2

Hiroki KurodaThe Yankees swept the Royals today, winning 4-2 on Mother’s Day. The real star of the game was Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda didn’t strike a lot of batters out, fanning just one, but he only walked one as well, limiting the Royals to six hits over 7.2 innings. With that kind of control, you don’t need a lot of strike outs. Kuroda was efficient as well, throwing just 98 pitches. He got into some trouble in the eighth inning, and even got into a verbal spat with the home plate umpire, but none of that was enough to undo a solid performance.

The Yankees got their runs off the long ball, remember that thing the Yankees weren’t supposed to have this season. The Bombers were down one to nothing in the third inning when Robinson Cano put a ball into orbit, sending it 406 feet to right center. Chris Stewart was on at the time. The shot gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead.…

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Cano Holding His Own Against Left-Handed Pitching

Cano HR vs Buehrle

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod.  Stats have not been updated to reflect last night’s game)

In a situation where he was going to be more important than ever, Robinson Cano has done everything the Yankees have needed him to do so far this season.  He’s hitting .316/.374/.612 (.417 wOBA) in 107 plate appearances, with a team-leading 7 HR, 17 R scored, 17 RBI, and 1.3 fWAR.  He hasn’t made an error in the field, he hasn’t missed a game or even an at-bat due to injury, sickness, or whatever, and he’s looked every bit worth the 9-figure salary he’s sure to get at some point.  There are plenty of other kudos to hand out to other players on the team for the job they’ve done, but it’s more than fair to say that without Cano this team would not be off to the 15-9 start it is.

Before the season, I dissected Cano’s poor 2012 performance against left-handed pitching, a statistical anomaly never seen before and a potential cause for concern about Cano’s expected offensive productivity moving forward.  …

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Stronger than expected

It would be an understatement to say that the Yankees started the season flat. But all it took was a couple games in Cleveland for the Bombers to start exceeding expectations. Five wins and five losses is far from a hot start, but it leaves the Yankees just one game behind the Red Sox for the AL East lead, and it is precisely the kind of performance the Yankees need to remain in the hunt until Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Derek Jeter return.

Most of the focus has fallen on Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells, new Yankees who have gotten off to unsustainable hot starts to help keep the team competitive, but the best two players on the team have been old hands: Robinson Cano and CC Sabathia. Cano started the season right where he left things off in the playoffs. He was ice cold. Since the opening round versus Boston, however, Robbie has caught fire.…

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