Robinson Cano has emerged as one of Major League Baseball’s elite players over the last four years, and with the decline of Chase Utley, has become the best second baseman in the sport. He has a club option for 2013, worth $15 million, which will be exercised, marking the final year of his deal. Cano will turn 31 on October 22, 2013, so Cano will be 31 in the first year of a new deal. This question has to be asked:
“How much is Robinson Cano worth?
First lets examine his numbers, during his years as an elite Major League player (2009-2012):
2009: 161 G, 637 AB, .320, 25 HR, 85 RBI, 103 R, 48 2B, 2 3B, .352 OBP, .520 Slugging, 0.4 DWAR
2010: 160 G, 626 AB, .319, 29 HR, 109 RBI, 103 R, 41 2B, 3 3B, .381 OBP, .534 Slugging, 2.2 DWAR
2011: 159 G, 623 AB, .302, 28 HR, 118 RBI, 104 R, 46 2B, 7 3B, .349 OBP, .533 Slugging, 0.4 DWAR
2012: 120 G, 465 AB, .305, 25 HR, 68 RBI, 74 R, 32 2B, 1 3B, .368 OBP, .540 Slugging, 1.6 DWAR
These numbers are very good to begin with, but when you consider the fact that Cano plays second base, these numbers are unheard of. He is also a very good defensive second baseman, hence the DWAR ratings.
Cano is also the anchor for the Yankees lineup, which features many declining players, such as Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira, who are high-priced stars. They also have past-their-prime role players, such as Raul Ibanez and Ichiro Suzuki. With that said, Cano is the only player in the lineup, who is both a great player, and in the prime of his career. With Rodriguez and Teixeira being sluggers past-their-prime, Cano becomes even more invaluable as the lineup anchor.
Cano is always in the conversation, for the American League Most Valuable Player award, another argument in his favor.
Chase Utley was an elite second baseman who got paid, and makes $15 million per year. Cano has to make more than that, for two reasons. The first reason is that Cano is an iron man, who is bound to play many games, while staying off the DL. Player salaries are also higher now, giving Cano another reason for a big payday.
Cano is going to be 31 when his contract would start, so he should get nothing longer than a 6-year deal. The Yankees should not be interested in creating another Alex Rodriguez/Albert Pujols situation, in which declining sluggers are signed past 40. Cano should be able to demand $20 million per year, at a minimum, as he will have many teams lining up to pay him, as he is an elite second baseman, both offensively and defensively.
If Cano wants the sixth year, he should get six years, $120 million. If he wants more salary, he should get five years, $110 million.
Prediction: Six years, $120 million