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Levine: Robinson Cano is not a “re-sign at any cost” player

Sep 11, 2013, 9:46 AM EDT

cano gray getty Getty Images

Indeed, the Yankees president says no player is. But the comments were aimed at the team’s best player. Via ESPN New York, here are Randy Levine’s: thoughts on the Bombers re-signing Robinson Cano:

“Hopefully he’s a Yankee,” Levine said. “Nobody is a re-sign at all costs, but we want him back and we feel good about negotiating something with him. But nobody is a re-sign at any cost.”

One does not become the president of a baseball team by saying things like “oh, man, if we don’t sign THAT guy we’re toast!” of course, so the comments make sense given the impending free agent negotiations.  I’m guessing Yankees fans, however, feel like Cano is a must-have guy.

  1. bygd1 - Sep 11, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Cano is lazy not 100% guy do not want Yankees to over spend on him better to rebuild with younger players and regroup no more 10 year 25 mill a year guys Learn from A Rod and Tex

    • chacochicken - Sep 11, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      So lazy, he can’t even smile in that photo. Just phoning it in like usual.

      • yahmule - Sep 11, 2013 at 10:20 AM

        Look at the grass stain on his shoulder. He was probably sleeping out behind second base again. As Yankees love to tell you: “Cano doesn’t dive.”

      • RickyB - Sep 11, 2013 at 10:26 AM

        @yahmule, that’s actually a pine tar stain from where his bat hits his shoulder on his follow through. Can’t even use his own strength to grip the bat without excessive pine tar …

      • sportsfan18 - Sep 11, 2013 at 10:27 AM

        While he DOES produce… he DOESN’T give 100% at all times…

        Let’s leave out all the crap with and about Pete Rose but remember that he was called Charlie Hustle for a reason. He ran down the baseline on a walk.

        Rose was no where near the fastest, the strongest or anything in the big leagues… My only point is that he played hard, he hustled, ALL of the time…

        It is NOT too much to ask of PROFESSIONAL players to play the game hard when they are paid multi-millions of dollars to do so…

        Even if they weren’t paid that much, that’s what it means to be a professional at something. It means to care, to take pride in your approach, preparation etc…

        We like the blue collars guys, the people who get up at 4 a.m. each day, work hard, work two jobs to provide for their families etc… Then we have some (not all, but some PROFESSIONALS in every sport who don’t approach their livelihood with the same dedication as regular Joes and it’s disappointing to say the least…

        It’s beyond me why a pro baseball player can’t and doesn’t run out a ground ball at full speed… and many do this, not just Cano…

      • yahmule - Sep 11, 2013 at 10:39 AM

        Good eye, RickyB. Thanks.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 11, 2013 at 11:18 AM

        It’s beyond me why a pro baseball player can’t and doesn’t run out a ground ball at full speed… and many do this, not just Cano…

        Games played since Cano was finally up in MLB for good:

        1104 out of 1117

        Might there be something conscious on his part to not run out every ground ball at 100%?

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 11, 2013 at 12:22 PM

        Yeah, look at those guys like Hamilton, Harper and Puig. Those guys play hard every second they are on the field. Of course, there are a whole lot of seconds they are not on the firld because they do not take care of their body, but hey…one extra out in the field or infield single is TOTALLY worth a month on the DL for a busted hamstring or separated shoulder.

        sheesh…it would be one thing if Cano dogging it caused a dip in production. Whatever he has been doing has been working for him, so let’s leave well enough alone.

      • yankee172 - Sep 11, 2013 at 1:03 PM

        Sabathia – That’s some hardcore selection bias you’ve got going on there. Lots of players get injured, lots of players play hard. Sure there’s some correlation, but you can’t just say “player X plays hard and he gets hurt a lot, therefore if player Y plays hard he will get hurt.” It doesn’t work that way.

        Do I have to remind you how many full seasons Pete Rose played? Or Derek Jeter? Did anyone ever accuse Cal Ripkin or Hideki Matsui (his resilience is legendary in Japan, if I remember correctly) of not giving 100%?

        Until you have some data or hard facts regarding the relationship between running hard down the 1st base line and getting injured, all you’ve got is correlation and selection bias to back up your argument.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 11, 2013 at 1:36 PM

        yankee172 – my selection bias is no worse than those constantly comparing Cano to Pete Rose. At least I provided three examples for my argument.

        There certainly are hard facts backing up my statements: Harper crashes into a wall trying to “go all out” for a catch and has been either sitting or playing hurt ever since. Hamilton was a notorious wall crasher and was injured several times because of it. Dustin Pedroia diving for a bag and messing up a thumb ligament, how many hamstring and leg injuries have we seen from guys ‘busting it down the line” on a play they had a near-0 chance of making. Somewhere between them and Bobby Abreu there is a happy medium and Cano plays squarely within that medium.

        I would challenge you instead to find the hard evidence and statistical data proving that guys who bust it down the line get more hits. I will challenge you further to rove that any of those guys are better than or play more than Cano. The burden of proof can be heavy for either side.

      • yankee172 - Sep 11, 2013 at 2:10 PM

        Sabathia – Couple things.

        1) Yes, your selection bias is worse. Especially since you’re comparing a 2nd baseman known for his range and defensive prowess to outfielders who have walls to contend with. Harper and Hamilton wouldn’t have crashed into any walls if they were 2nd basemen. The position has less inherent risk for injury. Plus, we’re not talking about defensive aggressiveness – few people would argue that Cano has untapped potential as a defender. We’re talking about the handful of times every year when he doesn’t get on base as a result of his lackadaisical attitude out of the box.

        2) I can recall two specific ABs a few weeks ago where Cano was thrown out at second when he thought he had no chance for a double out of the box. That’s two fewer doubles that Cano will hit this year. I know he was thrown out at 2nd on one of them when, after the turn at 1st, he realized he had a chance at 2, but I can’t recall the end result of the other. Either way, the yankees lost a RISP in both instances (and gave up an out in at least one) when the majority of players with Cano’s speed would have been standing on 2nd. Right there are two concrete, specific examples of times when busting it down the line would’ve resulted in a hit or an extra base.

        You say Cano is at a happy medium of hustle. I disagree. I think he’s an outlier on that spectrum. That’s the whole point.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 11, 2013 at 2:23 PM

        Yankee – We could go back and forth all day citing specific examples. There are no shortage baserunning injuries I could cite and there are surely several more examples of Cano’s lackadaisical attitude costing him a base or two. I suppose I see Cano’s hustle somewhat like I see Jeter’s defense: sure it could be better, but the total package is entirely worth it. There are 29 teams for whom Cano would be an upgrade at 2B.

        I don’t know if his jogging on routine plays has preserved his health, but I know his health has been remarkably well preserved especially at a position where staying healthy (not to mention productive) can be difficult, thus enabling him to play more games and contribute more to his team than just about anyone. I am therefore tempted, even without hard proof of the cause for each effect, to say if he ain’t broke, let’s not “fix” Cano.

    • nategearhart - Sep 11, 2013 at 11:37 AM

      That’s rich coming from a guy too lazy to write a complete, legible sentence with proper punctuation.

    • genericcommenter - Sep 11, 2013 at 1:47 PM

      I’m hoping they can talk David Eckstein out of retirement myself. Need to start paying people who try really hard instead of guys who win games for teams. Plus 12 years ago he actually did both, maybe get that back.

  2. 18thstreet - Sep 11, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    I think he’s feeling some upper hand, given that some of his likely competitors (among the large market clubs) for Cano have a second baseman already. I’d imagine the Nationals (but only if they’ll willing to move Zimmerman to first) or Giants drive up the bidding a bit, but the Yankees are likely to keep him at (by Yankee standards) reasonable prices.

    • kruegere - Sep 11, 2013 at 10:29 AM

      of the top 10 payrolls in baseball, there are quite a few that could use a good 2B.

      Dodgers, San Fran, Detroit, CWS, Toronto.

      So, yea, half of the top 10 don’t have a really established 2B.

      • jwbiii - Sep 11, 2013 at 12:08 PM

        The Dodgers are on the verge of signing Cuban refugee Alexander Guerrero to a 5/$32m deal, so they’re not shopping for a long term solution at 2B. New White Sox GM Rick Hahn doesn’t seem to have Kenny Williams’ philosophy, “Compete every year, throw money at. . . at somebody,” which eventually results in the highly paid and bad ChiSox squad we saw this year.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 11, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        Don’t forget that the Mets have a ton of money coming off the books this off-season. They are also a NYC team with a TV network, so they should honestly be able to print as much money as they want. Signing Cano would go a long way to win back some fans.

      • nbjays - Sep 11, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        If you’ve seen any Blue Jays games lately, you’ve seen their future 2nd baseman in action. Based on his play in the past two weeks, I’m going out on a limb and say Ryan Goins is the real deal.

        Besides, do you really think the Yankees would let Cano go to a division rival?

    • icanspeel - Sep 11, 2013 at 10:30 AM

      Don’t forget the Dodgers, at this point they don’t care how much they spend and they could use a 2B such as Cano.

      • yahmule - Sep 11, 2013 at 10:45 AM

        He turns 31 next month. I could see the Angels giving him a 13 year $280 million deal.

    • MLBlogsbig3bosox - Sep 11, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      Don’t forget the money-flowing Dodgers.

  3. number42is1 - Sep 11, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    “I’m guessing Yankees fans, however, feel like Cano is a must-have guy.”

    Strongly disagree! next year is without a doubt a rebuilding year so that they can stay under the luxury tax and the year after Cano will be 32 with his best years behind him. He will want a 8-10 yr deal which will put hm anywhere from 39-41 when his contract is up. he is not worth all that. IF he is willing to sign a 6 yr deal i would say sign him but otherwise let him walk and get the draft pick

    • 18thstreet - Sep 11, 2013 at 4:17 PM

      Given the way the Yankees’ TV ratings and attendance have plummeted in a year (mostly) without stars, it seems to me that saving money on payroll will only cost the Yankees money on the revenue side. They’re down 3,500 a game versus last year (and 6,000 from a couple years ago).

      Assuming (for the sake of argument) that they lose another 3,500 a game, that’s 300,000 tickets. A $40 a patron, that’s $12 million. At $60 a patron, that’s $18 million. And that’s just on tickets — never mind beers and hot dogs and parking. And what does another 40 percent drop in TV ratings (see: http://nypost.com/2013/07/26/yankees-mets-tv-ratings-both-down/) do to the price of the advertising on YES?

      In short, I don’t think the Yankees can ever “rebuild.” Unlike the Astros, it will cost them more in revenue than they can ever save in payroll. This is coming from a long-time Yankee hater, but I don’t think the New York fans will tolerate it.

  4. bravojawja - Sep 11, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    Considering how the most recent long-term, big money contracts have turned into busts, it’ll be interesting to see what the market holds for someone like Cano. Then again, how many second basemen have averaged .312/.371/.541 with 30 HR and 107 RBI the last three years?

  5. jarathen - Sep 11, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    The only player you want to resign at any cost is one that is healthy and entering their prime years. Mike Trout’s free agency will be a bloodbath of money unless the Angels extend him before that, for example. But Cano will likely start to fall off, only a few years after most owners wised up. The Angels jokes have some truth in the past, but they have Kendrick locked up so they’re safe.

  6. danaking - Sep 11, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    Ask the Cardinals if Cano is a must-keep guy if Pujols wasn’t. How’d that turn out.

    Or the nationals, re: Zimmerman and Werth. Both are good players, but, in the words of a scout, “The Nationals have a couple of hundred million dollar contracts. Too bad they don’t have any hundred million dollar players.”

    The irony is, they may have a couple of hundred million dollar players, but they’re not Zimmerman and Werth.

  7. beearl - Sep 11, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Well, Levine’s quote was “Nobody is a re-sign at all costs”. Sure, it was while talking about Robinson Cano, but to take that and change it into a headline of “Cano is not a ‘re-sign at any cost’” is a bit misleading. Makes Levine’s comments sound more negative than they really were. Tsk…

  8. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 11, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    I will help Levine out and offer to agree to a contract for half of whatever they offer Cano. I am selfless like that. That right there is leverage baby. Call me.

    • nbjays - Sep 11, 2013 at 1:13 PM

      Only if you hustle down the line every time. You dog it just once and you’re gonzo, baby.

  9. TheMorningStar - Sep 11, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    Pedroia is both a better 2B AND less expensive than Cano.

    However it’s almost a guarantee that NY will (over)pay to retain Cano.

    After all, who else do they have that’s even remotely as talented???

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 11, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      Look, it costs Pedroia nothing to dive all over the infield dirt: he is so close to begin with. I am also not terribly inclined to put as much faith in defensive metrics as stats like WAR do: look at the ridiculous level of fluctuation from year to year on each of those guys.

      Given Cano’s clear superiority as a hitter, and the les-than-clear picture about how they compare defensively, I will take Cano over Pedroia all day long.

    • 18thstreet - Sep 11, 2013 at 4:23 PM

      I’m a huge Pedroia fan, but that’s irrelevant to the conversation. There’s two questions:

      (1) For the Yankees: if not Cano, who plays second?
      (2) For Cano: If not the Yankees, who?
      Bonus (3) For Tulmudic Scholars: If I am not for myself, who will be for me?

      The Yankees really do need Cano. He’s their best position player. For Cano, unfortunately, the Dodgers have a 2B lined up. And so do the Red Sox. And Phillies. Yes, there’s other options. As I said above, I can see a few teams that might drive up the bidding. But I think Cano stays in the Bronx.*

      * Note: my predictions are always wrong.

      • straightouttavtown - Sep 11, 2013 at 5:52 PM

        Who do the Dodgers have? Mark Ellis? LOL

      • 18thstreet - Sep 11, 2013 at 6:09 PM

        http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/09/09/dodgers-close-to-32-million-contract-with-cuban-infielder-alexander-guerrero/

      • straightouttavtown - Sep 11, 2013 at 7:16 PM

        Alex Guerrero, like Puig, won’t be in the majors immediately. The same article you linked said he plays shortstop in Cuba, which means Hanley could be moved to 3B, Cano at 2B, and Alex Guerrero at SS. Uribe is a joke and Michael Young is a rental.

    • youngyankee - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:05 AM

      pedroia may be better defensively but that difference to me is far less than the difference offensively.

      also he’s less expensive because he didn’t test the market.

      The yankees don’t renegotiate during the season. sometimes they come out the “winner” sometimes they don’t

      considering Pedroia got 7/100 (prob couldve gotten 120-140).

      Cano will prob get around 7 years 150-170 million. (pedroia + 15mil for his better offense + 15mil for the supply/demand of power hitting 2Bs + 10-20mil of the good ole yankee pinstripe bonus)

  10. straightouttavtown - Sep 11, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    Cano is a second baseman who mash with the best of the sluggers. You throw in the positional scarcity and the fact that he’s representing by the money grubbing Jay-Z Rocafella/Roc Nation crew, you know he’s gonna cash in whether it’s with the Yanks or someone else. Hey the Dodgers seems to have unlimited amount of money and Mark Ellis isn’t exactly a road block at 2B.

  11. negaduck - Sep 11, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    strong headline

  12. youngyankee - Sep 12, 2013 at 12:47 AM

    I don’t get how anyone other than Cano’s teammates or manager can comment on his effort or lack thereof.

    maybe some things come so natural to him it makes it look like he’s slacking. Maybe his reaction time to a ground ball in the hole is different than Pedroia’s. Maybe he doesn’t dive for a ball or hustle down the line like fans wish he would. Regardless he is immensely talented and I’m sure he works hard to put up numbers like he has consistently every season.

    players play 162 games, many back to back, night/day games plus traveling in between. I think some people may take the “give it your all” way too literally. Some days you’re a 100%, some days you’re at 70%. Regardless just give 100% of what you have that day. and whatever Cano has on any given day is pretty damn good.

  13. bolweevils2 - Sep 12, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    This is a non-story. Nobody would be stupid enough to admit going into negotiation that a player is re-sign at any cost, whether they thought that way or not.

    Even if they do think he’s re-sign at any cost, it isn’t actually the case if things ever got ridiculous enough. If Cano demanded $50M a year or else he’ll sit out the season, they wouldn’t give him $50M a year. At most it means they’ll outbid any other legitimate offer.

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