Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Yankeetorial: The Robbie Option - not Arod - looms as the nuclear bomb in our future payroll

Years ago, I read "Baseball and Billions" by the Wharton economist Andrew Zimbalist, and I've never since felt one shred of sympathy or respect for the rich slimeballs who buy or - for the most part, inherit - their way into the National Pastime. It's all rigged. They can never lose. When you hear them poormouth, never forget it: Everything is rigged, so they never lose.

For example, teams get to write-off bloated longterm contracts to bloated aging stars as depreciating assets, like a mansion that caved in. There's a formula for it. By A-Rod's final year, he'll be a $25 million paper loss to the taxman. To the Steinbrothers, those four HRs and the .205 batting average will be worth every penny.

But A-Rod's salary will still count to MLB's new operating agreement, so the owners have it both ways: They write off the salary to the U.S. government, while limiting how much they can pay their employees, via the MLB government.

Which brings us Robbie Cano.

Two days ago, we exercised our $15 million option on Robbie. We had no choice. Look at these golden, Joe Morganesque numbers:

The guy has been our best player for three straight years. If Girardi batted him third in 2010 and 2011, he could have been the MVP. He's two hot weeks away from aTriple Crown. He's 30. He's got at least five solid years left. But he's going to want a contract that goes much longer. He's going to want A-Rod money. And when he gets it, I hope Yankee fans are like those creeps who put nooses around their necks while masturbating - because we will be strangling ourselves with huge deals.

One other point about Robbie's numbers. This year, his HR totals reached 33, most in his career. But his RBIs plunged - by 24, to below 100. How does a guy who hits 33 HRs and bats .313 in the Yankees lineup fail to drive in 100 runs?

Listen: I love Robbie Cano. We all do. But this is where Bud Selig's reality wolf comes knocking at our door. In five years, ten teams will have the same payroll as we do. Maybe the Steinboys will toss in a few extra nickels, so they can claim to spend the most - that seems to be their job, nowadays - but the MLB government regs are going to kick in. And they were meant to do to the Yankees what Hurricane Sandy did to the Northeast.

Robbie Cano might be our Atlantic City. Get to the shelters, folks. A big storm is a-comin'.

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