Originally written on In The Neutral Zone  |  Last updated 11/18/14
Yankees free agent second baseman Robinson Cano will be smiling all the way to the bank once he signs his new contract. Will the Yankees pony up $300 million? East is West/left is right/I’ve discovered black is white./Inside out, wrong is right/Back to front and I’m all uptight. – The Kinks. When the New York Yankees announced earlier this week that they would not sign their free agent all-star second baseman Robinson Cano for 10 years at $300 million, Ray Davies’ lyrics immediately came to mind. The Yankees don’t want to pay $300 million? Yeah it’s an insane amount of money – but the Yankees don’t want to pay it? That’s un-American.  The Yankees pay anyone and everyone insane scratch; it’s what they do. It’s their function, they’re very purpose for existing. They paid Babe Ruth $52,000 in 1922, then gave him a raise to $70,000 a year in 1930.  The only citizens who made more during that time were captains of industry and US presidents. When free agency came to light for good in 1976, they paid Jim “Catfish” Hunter $640,000 a year, plus a $1 million bonus, to take his talents from Oakland to the Bronx. They paid Bobby Bonilla $6 million/yr. They paid Carl Pavano $11 million/yr. Carl Pavano! They’re currently paying Mark Texeira $23 million per year.  They just doled out $28 million to Alex Rodriguez – and they don’t even want him around anymore! Look I don’t think any athlete ought to be making more than others who contribute wayyyyy more to society, but these are the Yankees dammit! It’s almost their obligation to pay exorbitant salaries. What in the name of George Steinbrenner is going on here? They, by far, generate the highest revenue in the big leagues, thanks mostly to their YES Network. All of a sudden they Yankees are the model of fiscal responsibility? “We want Robbie back; we think Robbie is terrific,” Yankees President Randy Levine told ESPNNewYork.com. “But we have no interest in doing any 10-year deals and no interest in paying $300 million to any player. Until he gets a little more realistic, we have nothing to talk about.” Uh-huh. And what exactly is “more realistic” when speaking about major league salaries? Of course, the Yanks could still sign Cano (which most pundits think will ultimately happen), but his new agent, some rookie representative named Jay-Z, is holding firm to their initial demand. So, what does $300 million buy in today’s baseball market? The 31-year old Cano has established himself as the best second baseman in baseball since finishing second in the American League Rookie-of-the-Year voting in 2005.  He’s a five-time all-star (not sure how he doesn’t make the All-Star team those other seasons, but that’s more about fan voting than anything else), a two-time Gold Glove winner, and a  five-time Silver Slugger Award winner. He’s finished anywhere from 3rd through 6th in the Most Valuable Player voting each of the last four seasons. Since 2007 he’s never played fewer than 159 games in a season and his 162-game averages read as such: 24 home runs, 97 RBI, .309 average, .355 on-base percentage, OPS of .860, 94 runs scored and 194 hits.  His wins-above-replacement in three of the last four years has ranged between 7.6 and 8.5 Is he worth $300 million? Of course not. But c’mon Yankees, this is not time to break with that vaunted tradition of yours.  Step up. Fulfill your fiscal obligation to our National Pastime. Make the world right again.                   19 total views, 19 views today
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