Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The crash of Cano is Exhibit A in why the Yanks should avoid Bryce and Manny

Years ago, after Joggy Cano sucker-punched the Yankiverse by loping off to Seattle, NBC's Jimmy Fallon set up a New York street skit where fans could tell off a cardboard cutout of the traitorous fool. The punch line: Cano abruptly stepped into view, prompting hugs and forgiveness, showing us once again that - as Captain Kirk often taught aliens, and as Rudy showed Notre Dame - we humans are a quirky, interesting species because of our capacity to love. 

(Insert gob of spit here.)

I hated that sidewalk bit. Had Fallon sprung Cano on me, I would have un-holstered my ankle shiv and jabbed the pair into red pate. I shall never forgive Cano. It's not that he chose gold over my loyalty - I never blame players for chasing money - but he was stupid. He abandoned a rare, once-in-a-generation opportunity to become a lifelong Yankee, a godlike status with nearly infinite financial advantages. He chose Seattle so he could get overpaid for one final year, age 41, when he'd be too fat and grotesque to even jog quickly, and when I think of it now, what comes to mind is, "Good fucking riddance, you ungrateful dolt." 

Imagine: A guy forsaking the chance to become a lifelong Yankee? 

Anyone that stupid, fuk'm. 

Thus, yesterday's news that Cano will miss 80 games due to a positive PED test brought for me a special moment of warmth and jubilation. There is a God! The news came one day after Jogginson broke a bone in his hand - which, by the way, I didn't celebrate. I don't wish injuries on players - (well, maybe a Pedroia here and there.) The cold reality of sports today is that injuries can wipe out any team at any time, and it has nearly destroyed my interest in the NFL. (In another era, I'd be excited about the Giants drafting Saquon Barkley; now, I just view him as a poor guy about to run into a shredder.) As strong as the Yankees look now, one outfield collision, one spate of bad elbows, and we're battling Toronto for second. 

But let me get to the point: Ten-year deals have become mutual prison sentences, and MLB stars and agents better come to grips with it. Giancarlo Stanton is damn lucky the Yankees had an open slot and a low payroll, or he could have ended up as Miami's unwanted, rented mule for life. If he continues to fail, David Price can look forward to tacks in his driveway - the ghost of Ed Whitson? - for the rest of his torturous time in Boston. The lifetime commitment cuts in both directions.

Next winter, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will supposedly demand 10-12 year deals in the neighborhood of $40 M per season. If they can actually pull such numbers, bravo! But sincerely I hope the Yankees don't bite. In a few years, we must pay for Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Luis Severino, Didi Gregorius and whomever else ascends - Andujar, Montgomery, Red Thunder, etc. - not to mention Giancarlo. If we dive into a Bryce Harper auction, beyond the outfield crunch, we will be destroying our own future flexibility. 

There is a way to build a dynasty. It starts with a core group of great Yankees, which is regularly supplemented by players who want to experience a pennant race in the world's greatest baseball market. Unlike Cano, they must appreciate a fan base of zealots who - if the wrong buttons are pushed on the street -  will unleash the justice of their ankle shivs. If Bryce or Manny want to be Yankees, there is always a way to make it happen. But if they want a commitment through 2035, well, they should look to Seattle. And good luck with that. Something tells me the Mariners might not return calls.


Rufus T. Firefly said...

More wise words from the Sage of Syracuse.

No more bidding against themselves in a Boras auction.

The Ghost of Yankees Past said...

El Duque,

Excellent reasons why the Yankees should not go after Bryce and Manny. I would add one more. As great as those two are ,the Yankees don’t need them. We need to focus our resources on starting pitching. That is the greater need.

Carl J. Weitz said...

If Harper is so smitten with the idea of playing center field for the Yankees like his father's hero Mickey Mantle then being the highest or second highest player shouldn't matter. A 5-6 year deal at between 30-35 million per is not a consolation prize to be on the team of your childhood fantasy.

I know many don't like Dustin Pedroia but he did a very honorable thing by signing an 8-year
$ 110 million deal to ensure that he would be a Red Sox for life.That averages to 13.75 million a year. Not exactly valet parking wages. He signed in his prime and could have gotten Ellsbury money elsewhere. Squeezing the last dollar doesn't always make you a happier person.

Alphonso said...

"That averages to 13.75 million a year ....Squeezing out the last dollar.....happier person...etc"

I agree, as I slide into the drivers seat of my 1996 Toyota, put what remains of my Dunkin Donuts coffee (sweet and light) in the working cup holder, and head off to get the dent in the side-door punched out by my cousin Julie, who just opened an auto repair store in the Whitestone section of the Bronx.

Happy as a clam. The check is in the mail.

"Let's play two !"

HoraceClarke66 said...

Hear, hear, Duque! So well put on every point!

I saw that Jimmy Fallon bit, and I would've had the same reaction. Or I might have just shrugged and walked away, to reflect Robbie's own apathy about staying in New York.

I don't blame ballplayers for wanting to cash in. Their careers are short, and there's often little else they can do, and chances are the honor of being a lifelong Yankee didn't mean much to him.

But I thought it was interesting that he didn't pick some other big, exciting town or a likely contender, or at least someplace closer to his family over us—just a baseball backwater about as far away from even his homeplace as he could get. Just someplace to quietly ply his trade until it was time to retire.

I guess something went wrong with that plan. I guess even happy-go-lucky Robbie was not content, in the end, to get off or stay off the juice, and watch his baseball skills quietly decay in the MLB equivalent of an old-age home. It's not so easy, I suppose, when the gift actually starts to disappear, and no amount of money will make up for it.

But yes, contracts of this length are indeed a mutual prison.

I would prefer to skip Manny and Bryce altogether—though if Manny continues to excel, and Didi continues to dive, the pressure for the former to happen is going to increase exponentially. I would like us to concentrate on pitching, too.

If we DO go for the third tenor or Manny being Manny, the stipulation has to at least be this: a much shorter term contract, or one that the TEAM as well as the player can opt out of.

Good luck getting any agent worth his salt to agree to that, I know. But as our Peerless Leader notes, the likes of Seattle or Miami are going to be much, much less willing to come up with another 10-12-year contract.

TheWinWarblist said...

Yes, yes, so sayeth the Sage of Syracuse. [nods sagely]

Carl J. Weitz said...

Alphonso: LOLOLOL!

Anonymous said...

I don't think that the Yankees need to break the bank for either Harper or Machado--they are already well provisioned with top-quality outfielders, in the majors and the minors, and Andujar appears to be a potential star. Machado has been a somewhat erratic player throughout his career and has gotten everything together--including plate discipline--only in his walk year, which is always a worrisome sign when contemplating a massive outlay on a long-term contract of the kind that routinely blows up in teams' faces on the far end of the term (for example: based on WAR ratings, Albert Pujols was the worst qualifying player in the AL last year).

One other point to remember about Machado--when the Orioles called him up from AA ball, Machado was batting .260 at that level. Andujar is easily surpassing that level of play at a comparable stage of development. If the Yankees are smart, they will overcome their bad habit of lapping up every shiny object on the free-agent market and focus on their real areas of need: in this case, developing and/or trading for pitching.

Finally, Machado has made it clear that he wants to play shortstop. If he insists on that, the Yankees would have to displace Gregorious, trading him or creating an even stickier logjam at third--and is there any evidence that Didi would be a competent third baseman? Probably--but who knows?

Rufus T. Firefly said...

I could live on $13.75 mil a year.

Easily. Even with Mrs. Firefly spending as much as she wants.