Cano set to sign long term

I’ve seen a lot of talk on various Yankee sites where people have been urging the Yankees to lock up Wang and Cano long term. While the sentiment is is nice – let’s make sure our “home grown” guys stay long term – it’s not usually a very practical idea for the Yankees.

Here is the thing: when a club like the Rockies signs Tulo to a 6 year deal to buy out all his arbitration years (and maybe one of his FA years, I can’t remember) they’re doing it to save money. This is the rationale: the major risk to a long term deal is injury. We know that if this player stays healthy, we will save money in his arbitration and FA years. Those couple million dollars can then be reinvested. If the player gets hurt, we’re probably not going to be competitive anyways.

In this way, smaller market teams are tying their fates to their marquee players: if those players peform to expectations over the length of the deal, the team will have a few extra million to find supporting talent. If the players gets injured, or pulls a Knoblauch, the team isn’t going to be very good anyways.

This isn’t the case for the Yankees. They can afford to go year to year, even if it means ultimately paying a few extra million over the course of a player’s arbitration years. They would rather have the security of knowing they have flexibility every season.

But now, this:

Robinson Cano and the New York Yankees were nearing agreement Thursday on a $30 million, four-year contract, a departure from the team’s stance against giving multiyear contracts to young players.

So why the change of heart? Well, this deal really can’t be analyzed until we know how many team options it will have and at what cost (rumor is there will be one or two). But we can assume safely I think that the Yanks will save some cash. Cano was in line for $4-5 million this year and it would only go up the next 3 years. So 4 years at a little over $7 million per is pretty good, and even better if there’s an option.

I think what the Yankees are pretty much saying here is that they trust Cano to not get hurt and are confident his performance will continue on the upward trend.

So they’re breaking from tradition sure, but even the Yankees are allowed to save some cash now and then.

Now as far the other big arbitration case, I highly doubt the Yankees will sign Wang long term. Despite how good he’s been, pitchers are a much bigger risk; it’s safer to pay more year to year.

Either way, remember contract or not, neither of these guys can go anywhere for 4 more years.


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