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Magic Johnson says the Dodgers aren’t going after Robinson Cano

Oct 4, 2013, 10:15 AM EST

Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Don Mattingly AP

Reports of Robinson Cano wanting a $300 million contract led to speculation that the big-budget Dodgers might try to steal him away from the big-budget Yankees, but Los Angeles owner Magic Johnson threw a bunch of cold water on that idea yesterday.

Speaking to a group of reporters before Game 1 of the NLDS last night, Johnson said:

When you’ve got to pay Clayton [Kershaw], there’s only so much you can do. I can’t say anything because that’s not up to just me. But a year or two from now, we’ve got Hanley [Ramirez] coming up, too. We’ve got guys that we’ve got to keep, and so the numbers probably just don’t add up. … I can’t talk about the other guy [Cano], but you already know that guy in New York is going to be paid. Not by us. But he’s going to get paid.

Obviously quotes in early October by a part owner not involved in actually player moves aren’t exactly binding, but we may have finally seen the first signs of the Dodgers actually having some payroll limits. And if the Dodgers aren’t in there driving up the bidding, how is Cano going to get to $300 million?

  1. 18thstreet - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    I can imagine the Braves or Orioles being interested, but they’d probably drop out well before the numbers got into the stratosphere — I don’t imagine either of them paying what the Dodgers could. That said, the highest paid Oriole is Adam Jones, whose contract goes up to $17.3 in its last year. And Brian Roberts’ money ($10M) is coming free after this year.

    So let’s say the Yankees and Cano are close to agreeing on a contract of 6 years, $15 million per. Do the Dodgers say, “Huh. We can go 6 years, $18 million,” or do they decline the chance? Because I really can’t imagine the Orioles, Angels, Braves, mystery team, going much higher than 6 years, 18 million. (Non-rhetorical question: what about the White Sox?)

    I think Cano could wind up underpaid, relatively speaking.

    • 18thstreet - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      You know what? Why NOT the White Sox? They’re shedding a lot of payroll this year — https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=tK7uKP_MP8Unu0Mx46heFcg&output=html — and Adam Dunn is gone after 2014. Whether Konerko retires this year or next, he’s probably gone soon, too.

      The White Sox can definitely afford whatever Cano wants. The only question is whether they want to tie up that much of their payroll in one player in the hopes that Cano + Sale gets them the Wild Card.

    • 18thstreet - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      This is a probably a good approximation of how high each team would be willing to go to sign a highly prized free agent. It’s a list of each team’s highest paid player. My theory: anyone not already paying someone $15 million in this era isn’t going to offer $20 million to Cano.

      http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/04/each-teams-highest-paid-player.html

      And then you can cross out the teams that already know who their second baseman is. That’s who will be in on the bidding.

    • bravojawja - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      The Braves don’t have the money. They’ll re-sign either/both McCann/Hudson, and then there’s all the money they threw at the Uptons and Uggla. Most of the core is still arbitration-eligible, but if the Braves brass have brains, those guys will be signed to long-terms deals soon, much like they did with McCann.

  2. cocheese000 - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    Teams have learned from signing older players to long term deals and I would be surprised if cano got more than a 7 year deal

  3. keltictim - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    Teams generally don’t learn. Maybe I’m wrong but someone will sign him long term and regret it down the road

    • paperlions - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      Many teams have learned, but not all of them…and GMs have learned the lesson much better than owners…..many of the worst recent contracts (Pujols, Fielder, Hamilton) were 100% the “fault” of the owner, not the GM.

  4. amaninwhite - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    This is exactly what I’d say about a player I wanted to go after.

    • gloccamorra - Oct 4, 2013 at 2:17 PM

      Eliminate the bidding war aspect to lower the price/years? It sounds good, but doesn’t that put the Yankees in the driver’s seat? Can’t the Yankees already make him a one year qualifying offer and make other teams pay a higher price? How soon before Cano’s agent cries “collusion!”?

  5. aceshigh11 - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    Robinson Cano’s got 99 problems, and bitches are ALL of them.

  6. proudlycanadian - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    How is Cano going to get paid $300 million? Let me count some of the ways. He could be paid in Monopoly Money. He could be paid in counterfeit bills. He just might be paid in a currency that is worth much less than US dollars. He might be paid in some strange internet currency that has little value in the real world. He might receive shares in a bankrupt company that were once worth $300 million but are now worthless. He might be paid with jewellery or merchandise that has a totally bogus appraised value of $300 million. He might be paid with swampland or moose pasture that has an appraised value of $300 million.

    • gloccamorra - Oct 4, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      “Moose pasture”? Are those the Blue Jays’ options?

      • proudlycanadian - Oct 4, 2013 at 5:40 PM

        “Moose pasture” refers to worthless property that gold mining promoters used to try to pawn off on unsuspecting investors in the form of penny stocks.

  7. MyTeamsAllStink - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    translation:we’ll sign him but we aren’t giving him a 10 year 300 million deal.

  8. koufaxmitzvah - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    Say hello to the average, 10-year MLB veteran contract being worth $17-22 million.

    The Dodgers ushered in this reality, but none of this would be happening without the media value placed on ball clubs.

    • ilovegspot - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:20 PM

      Dodgers ushered in the 10-year MLB veteran contract being worth $17-22 million? Not Yankee’s or Arte Moreno? What a moron.

  9. elmo - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    I’d like to see the Dodgers sign Alexander Guerrero.

  10. ironpeddler255 - Oct 5, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    Nice try Magic, those moves may have worked on the basketball court…but not in business. His comments say they’re interested.

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