It’s only been a few hours since the announcement of Robbie Cano’s 10-year, $240 million defection to the Seattle Mariners was made public, but the proclamations of doom for the 2014 Yankees are already circulating.
On the surface, it’s not pretty. After all, you don’t lose a 27 HR, 107 RBI, .314 BA, .383 OBP guy and not feel it. But let’s look a little bit closer here.
First of all, Cano is NOT worth $240 million. Few are, and even those are only the VERY elite. In fact, anyone who is deserving of that number hasn’t received it. Cano reminds me somewhat of Carmelo Anthony — very, very good, but only flashes of greatness, and he isn’t likely the one to take your team to the Promised Land by himself. If you’re a Knicks fan, you understand what I’m saying here.
There’s been talk of the Yankees signing Omar Infante, or inserting the recently signed Kelly Johnson, or both, to replace Cano at second base. Silly, you say? Yeah, that’s what Red Sox fans were saying in 2004 after the team traded away Nomar Garciaparra, who had been putting up Cano-like numbers for many years, and replaced him with a guy with Infante-like numbers named Orlando Cabrera. We all know how that played out.
The Yankees have now spent on Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann what the Mariners have shelled out for Cano, but holes are still aplenty across the Yankee diamond. There’s still lots of time left in this Hot Stove Season, the busiest one we’ve seen in some time, and these vacancies will be addressed.
Want another Boston analogy? OK. In June of 2007, Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge made a trade for Ray Allen, and the deal was immediately met with skepticism all over Eastern Massachusetts and beyond. “What the hell is he doing?” talk show callers and commentators barked, kind of like many observers said after the Yankees signed Ellsbury.
Only a month later, Ainge traded for Kevin Garnett, and, suddenly, he was a friggin’ genius for assembling the new “Big 3.”
The point here is that Ainge wasn’t done dealing after getting Allen in ’07, and neither are the Yankees after the early stages of wheeling and dealing in 2013.
And as far as the predictions of doom for our beloved pinstripers, it should also be noted that as recently as April 2013, there were few — DAMN few — who were predicting that a certain baseball team from Boston would even get over the .500 mark in 2013, let alone win the World Series, after a 2012 “Season From Hell,” and disastrous collapse to conclude the 2011 campaign. Many experts had the Yankees and Red Sox fighting it out for last place, while Toronto ran away with the AL East.
As a certain Yankee broadcasting icon likes to say, “Ya know, Suzyn, as I’ve said MANY times in my 25 years covering the Yankees, you can’t predict baseball.” Yeah, no shit — but, especially at this point of the Hot Stove Season, the man does have a point.