Found July 19, 2013 on
MLB Injury News:
When Robinson Cano got hit with a 96-mile-an-hour fastball
in Tuesday’s All-Star game, Yankees fans everywhere felt as if one had hit them
too. Cano is arguably the single-most important reason why the Yankees are not
out of contention as the second half of the season starts, and an injury would
be devastating. Despite saying that he likely would have kept playing if the
incident had happened in a regular game, Cano left the game shortly after being
hit. Why? He knows what a serious injury would mean, not only to the Yankees,
but also to his own future. Cano is headed toward free agency at the end of
this season and there has never been a more crucial year in his professional
life. He is due for a huge payday, and even though he doesn’t seem to want to
talk about it, he definitely knows it: he is ready to get paid. An injury right
now could change absolutely everything for the Yankees playoff hopes, and for
the next ten years of Cano’s life.
For years, when someone said Yankees, they usually said
Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. Sometime in the last year, a new name climbed
to the top of the list: Robinson Cano. Despite living in the shadow of two of
the game’s greatest players, Cano has an accomplishment reel all his own:
five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger, World Series Champion, two-time
Gold Glover, Home Run Derby winner, and 2013 World Baseball Classic Champion
and MVP are all on his list. He has been with the Yankees since the start of
his career in 2005, and has maintained a lifetime average of .308. His ability
to stay healthy for the majority of his career has been crucial to his success
with they Yankees. He has never faced serious injury, averaging almost 150
games every season.
This year Cano has proven himself to be a superstar,
stepping out of the shadows of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez and into his own
spotlight. With Jeter, Rodriguez, and Curtis Granderson missing all or most of
the season thus far due to injuries, Cano has been a one-man show on offense. He
is hitting .302 with 21 homeruns and 65 RBI’s, leading the team in every
category. With help from some excellent pitching, he’s managed to keep the
Yankees afloat. As he continues to endear himself to Yankees fans and to management,
the question of his free agency becomes more and more interesting.
Off the field, Cano is putting himself on a track to take
advantage of all of his assets and get the largest contract possible. He recently
made the somewhat surprising move of leaving his current agent in favor of
joining Jay-Z’s agency, Roc Nation Sports. His old agent was one of the best in
baseball at garnering large contracts, but it’s clear Cano is after more. Roc
Nation might be his ticket to more fame and exposure off the field. He is an
incredibly marketable player and the more exposure he has, the more revenue he
can bring to a team. Already starring in a Pepsi ad, which aired during the
All-Star game, he’s hitting the ground running. The only thing left for Cano to
do is avoid getting hurt.
What would an injury to Cano mean? The Yankees season would
be all but over, and contract negotiations would be flipped upside down. At 30
years old, this may be his only chance at an eight- or ten-year contract. His
own teammate, Granderson, is a painful example of the tenuous situation Cano is
in. Granderson, also in the last year of his contract, was due to get a fairly
large payday in the offseason if he performed decently this year. Now that he’s
been injured and missed almost the entire season, his possibilities for a large
contract have dwindled significantly. He will likely need to accept a one-year
contract in order to help rebuild his value and to prove he can still excel on
the field. Cano would be in a similar situation if he were to get injured
before he has the opportunity to sign a lucrative, multi-year contract.
Cano’s chance to capitalize on this pivotal time in his
career will hinge on his ability to stay healthy. After X-rays revealed that
his All-Star game scare left him with just a bruise, he is expected to play Friday
night when the Yankees head to Boston. It’s just too bad he can’t play in a
full suit of armor.
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