The offseason is a great time to reflect on the past: milestones that have been reached, records that have been broken, and moves that were and weren’t made.
In this case I will reflect back to 2013, when plenty of New York Yankees fans had what they thought to be a franchise player in Robinson Cano. Well honestly they couldn’t have been more wrong. Cano rejected an extension offer in spring training and then later switch agents from Scott Boras to Roc Nation, causing major speculation.
At the end of July with the non-waiver trade deadline approaching, the Yankees had two options: keep Cano and let him ride out a non-contending season and then hope to re-sign him when he entered free agency, or trade him and get plenty of much-needed young talent in return.
The decision still remains shocking. The Yankees decided to keep Cano even knowing he would want a huge contract in free agency the following winter.
The failure to trade Cano at the deadline is still causing havoc on the Yankees. For a team that needs athleticism and speed, the only position players the Yankees have who fit the bill are Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius, and newly acquired outfielder Aaron Hicks.
In 2013, trading Cano would have made the most sense. The Yankees could have gotten young, athletic talent or controllable arms, both of which they are in dire need of today.
Now, with Yankees principle owner Hal Steinbrenner refusing to increase spending due to the luxury tax, the only way the team will get controllable arms is through trading away key players such as Gardner.
The 2015 All-Star may have only batted .206 with a .592 OPS in the second half of the season, but before that he batted .306 with an OPS of .861. It has also been said that Gardner played the second half of the season with a wrist injury that affected his swing.
Trade rumors have also surrounded Yankees closer Andrew Miller, who received the Rollie Fingers American League Relief Pitcher of the Year award in 2015. Miller certainly had a terrific season, going 3-2, with a 2.04 ERA and converting 36 saves in 38 opportunities.
The problem with trading Miller for pitching and athleticism? Well, it diminishes the Yankees greatest strength: their bullpen. Dellin Betances would be next in line if Miller were moved, and the fact that Betances has thrown more pitches than any reliever in the American League the past two seasons makes that move extremely unwise.
The New York Daily News‘ John Harper wrote the other day that Cano told at least one friend he is unhappy in Seattle and would welcome a return to New York.
As for Cano ever coming back to pinstripes? Well, Cano is owed $192 million over the next eight years. When his contract is up, it will be 2023 and the next U.S. president will be finishing up his or her second term in office. There is no way Steinbrenner, who is trying to cut down on contracts like this and get under the luxury tax, brings Cano back. He will just continue to cause havoc in the Bronx, thousands of miles away.