Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Yankees and Cano at a Crossroads

By: Alexa Fontanella

Robinson Cano, a five-time All-Star, whom many consider the top free agent this offseason was originally looking for a 10-year deal worth approximately $300 million. The Yankees however refuse to land another A-Rod like deal and do not want to go down the same path again. Although Cano’s representatives have lowered their bargaining price, the two sides are still nearly $100 million apart. Many experts and fans believe no player is worth that much money, but the Yankees need Cano more than Cano needs the Yankees. The Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers are also legitimate contenders to land Cano due to their presence in the playoffs the past few years, but this top tier free agent wants to stay in the big apple and remain close to his friend and agent, Jay Z. If Cano really wants to make the big bucks, he needs to sign major endorsement deals, and New York City has the largest market for him to achieve that. Roc Nation Sports has already helped Cano land his first big endorsement with Pepsi this year and as long as he continues to produce on the field, he should have no problem receiving more multi-million dollar deals. In the past, the Yankees would give a player of Cano’s caliber, and whom many consider the best second baseman in the game at the prime of his career, the illustrious contract he is asking for, but not this season.

The Yankees are known for their massive spending sprees every offseason. They currently have the highest payroll in MLB at about $278 million compared to Houston Astros who have the lowest payroll in baseball at just over a combined $20 million. That means players on the Yankees roster earn more money in one year than the entire Astros’ roster earns. But with the massive amounts of money being given out also comes the over-paid, declining players receiving contracts for how they were playing in the prime of their careers instead of how they will produce on the field in the upcoming years.

Alex Rodriguez signed a ten-year for $275 million contract in 2007 at the age of 32, meaning his contract will expire into his 40’s. It was all smiles when he first joined the team and became the youngest player to reach 500 home runs and people immediately speculated he would be the all-time home run leader. But after that moment there have been very few positive days in the career of A-Rod. Then in 2009, after years of a lack of production in the postseason, he helped the Yankees win their 27th World Championship. All seemed well in the world of Alex Rodriguez until steroid accusations and the biogenesis scandal leaked. Now in 2013, the $275 million dollar man can be on the verge of ending his career and the Yankees still owe him nearly $90 million.

Being a Yankees fan myself, I have seen the money being spent on players and although the signings at times leads to a Championship as it did in 2009, there are also the players who get injured, or never perform as they did in the past putting the Yankees in a predicament as they are currently in. General Manager Brian Cashman and other team officials have remained adamant and are determined to get under the $189 million luxury-tax threshold in 2014, so other teams will stop benefitting from their excessive spending and they could use the money to obtain their own elite players.

The Yankees and past owner George Steinbrenner are to blame for the increase of salary throughout baseball, and now they are being burdened by their own actions. According to sources Cano and his agents, Jay Z and representatives from CAA, are looking for a contract in the area of $300 million. Is any player worth that much money? I think it is absurd for athletes to believe they deserve that much money. History shows it does not pay off, and not just for the Yankees. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are a prime example of a team looking to become instant contenders for a championship and signed Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton to outrageous contracts and they are most definitely regretting it.

It is no secret the Yankees are getting older, and they cannot afford another A-Rod contract on the books, but if they plan on winning a Championship in the near future, Cano needs to be in their plans. They have already signed Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran as well as the newest sensation from the Japanese League, Masahiro Tanaka are also on their radars. But all of these signings will not lead the Yankees to the illusive 28th world championship if Cano is not their second baseman.

Speaking for most Yankees fans, Cano needs to lower his asking price or the Yankees just might have to resist this costly signing and save their money for next seasons top tier free agents. Then there is also another option, A-Rod’s 211 game suspension can be upheld and the Yankees will be relieved of over $20 million in the 2014 season that could go towards re-signing their All-Star second baseman.

Alexa Fontanella is a freshman Sport Management Major at Drexel University, from Totowa, NJ. This winter she will be working with Drexel Athletics on marketing strategies and game day operations for the Drexel Dragons basketball team. Alexa is looking forward to participating in her first co-op next fall and is excited for such an amazing opportunity. She is a huge New York Sports fan, specifically the Yankees and the Nets.

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