The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

NY Post: Just how historically great is superstar Yankees let get away?

He’s no Smellsbury.

Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge already were years into their Yankees minor league apprenticeships when Robinson Cano departed, took the money from Seattle that was not being offered in New York.

But there were three homegrown Yankees position players in the same AL All-Star uniforms the past few days — Sanchez knocking out defending Home Run Derby champ Giancarlo Stanton on Monday, Judge winning the event in overpowering style and then Cano taking MVP honors in Tuesday’s game.

Cano’s 10th-inning homer off Wade Davis provided a 2-1 triumph and further credentials to Cano’s Hall of Fame candidacy and his argument for moving up the all-time second base list. At this point, I think the only second basemen clearly ahead of Cano are Rogers Hornsby, Nap Lajoie and Joe Morgan.

Cano falls somewhere between fourth and roughly 10th best, depending on your preferences.

--Posted at 6:09 am by SG / 80 Comments | - (0)


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This is just getting silly. Is there anyone who would rather have Cano and his contract over Castro at his?

Cano wants money and Seattle good for him. I’m glad he’s doing well. Everyone can be happy and it’s not a bad thing.

I’d rather have Cano and his contract. His 3.5 years in Seattle have been worth 18-19 bwar. The Yankees have…not gotten that kind of production from the position in that time.

It also doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Getting Cano means no Ellsbury (probably.)

Going forward is trickier. Would I rather have Castro’s next 2.5 years or Cano’s next 6.5?  Probably Cano’s.
Knowing what I know now I wish they had signed Cano. Knowing what I knew then, I wish they had signed Cano.

Is there anyone who still believes that the Elf will go down as a better second baseman?

But the beantown dwarf won an MVP!

I’ve long been on the “just give Cano the money” train, but especially when they then gave Ellsbury 7 years at slightly less than Cano makes a year. Just ridiculous.

That said, the fourth best second baseman of all time? Come on. Dude hits one All Star Game home run and suddenly he’s supposed to be viewed completely different? It’s such nonsense.

It also doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Getting Cano means no Ellsbury (probably.)

They kind of do. They aren’t forced to take one bad contract or another. They could have avoided both.

I know overpaying is necessary to sign players but you can do it for better players than Ellsbury on shorter deals that don’t go into early 40s like Cano.

Cano’s contract was Pujols level bad. Just because he’s turning into “only” A-Rod level bad doesn’t mean it isn’t bad.

Cano’s contract hasn’t been a bargain exactly but he’s produced excess value from a sabermetric standpoint. It’s been that way through the first third. If he’s worth the money in the next third, he can be replacement level in the last third and still be an okay contract. All the superstars sign contracts like that basically. He might not perform at that level or he may overperform, but to this point he’s basically played as expected.

You’re overstating how “bad” his contract is.

Yeah, if a win is worth $6 million, then he has to average 2 wins a year over the next 7 seasons for it to be worth it. That’s not even taking into consideration that he’ll probably add 2 more wins just this season alone, meaning he’d have to average less than 2 wins over the next season to be worth it.

If a win is worth $7 million, then, well, it is even better off for him.

If neither player accrues another win over their contracts, the Mariners will have paid Cano $240M for 19 WAR, or $12.6M per win.  The Yankees will have paid Ellsbury $153M for 9 WAR, or $17M per win.

Using rough projections for the rest of their contracts, you end up with Cano at around 38 wins and Ellsbury at 13, which works out to around $6M per win vs. $11M per win respectively.

Yeah, the Cano contract may end up involving more “dead” money, but it was a better deal than the Ellsbury deal.  It was painfully obvious the day it was signed, and each subsequent day is just reinforcing it.

When will I stop bringing it up?  When Cano is inducted into the Hall of Fame wearing a Mariners cap.

Quintana to the Cubs. Good thing too since Cashman can’t overpay for him now.

Cano-Ruth-Mantle-Gardy top 4 Yankees of all time.

[12] Sojo should at least be in the conversation.

Juding by the package the Cubs gave up, Quintana proabbly would’ve cost Gleyber or Frazier and Sheffield. Which should mean the asking price on Sonny Gray would be cheaper, I’d think.

Gray is not cost-controlled and is worse than Quintana, so yeah he should be cheaper.

If the Yankees overpay for a pitcher its going to be Gerrit Cole.

The Yanks have a recent history of going after players that they’ve coveted for a long time.  The Headley and Ackley acquisitions weren’t based on their recent performance.  They love dusting off old amateur scouting reports and acting on them years later.  Hence Clint Frazier and Dillon Tate.

The drafted and nearly signed Cole when he was at UCLA.

Oh shit, I thought Gray had a couple more years left under control.  If you believe 2014-15 represents Gray’s true potential, he’s a nice piece. I don’t think the injuries last year were anything disastrous, just accumulating.

Though if you take a pitcher prone to nagging injuries and put him under control of the Yankees’ medical staff ...

Sanchez is at 12 on this list of players with most trade value.

Luis Severino was at 35.

I assume Judge is at or near the top.

The only prospect on the list was Yoan Moncada at 41 and Gleyber got a mention in the near misses.

Jose Quintana is 42 by the way.

If Cano is back with the Yankees, there’s a chance they trade either Judge or Sanchez to make a World Series run in ‘14 or ‘15, because those teams really would have been a piece or two short (instead of a whole deck) with Cano in the fold. Especially ‘15. Though Cano was dealing with the hernia that season. I’m just saying, Cano staying with the Yankees is a whole complicated alternate reality that’s four years in the past… that’s a lot to assume about the present moment. (not saying any posters did. I thought the article did)

All that being said, it still sucks that Cano left. Of course. But I can’t work up any anger over it anymore. If the Mariners were always going to offer ten years, then he was always going to leave. The best way to keep him would have been extending his contract during 2012 or 2013. That did not happen.

Not that it particularly matters, but Cano is nothing like already the fourth best second baseman of all time, after Hornsby, Lajoie, and Morgan.

By fWAR through age 34:

Eddie Collins 95.4
Frankie Frisch 70.4
Roberto Alomar 64
Charlie Gehringer 63.9
Rod Carew 62.2
Bobby Grich 61.7
Joe Gordon 58.5
Ryne Sandberg 57.1
Lou Whitaker 56.7
Chase Utley 56.7
Craig Biggio 55
Willie Randolph 55
Bobby Doerr 53.3
Billy Herman 51.8
Robinson Cano 50
Jackie Robinson 47.7 after starting MLB at age 28

[16] Damaso Marte

He’s at 64.3 in bWAR so there’s a discrepancy there. I assume due to different defensive ratings? Your point is still valid though.

It’s certainly possible he retires in the top 10 and maybe top 5 all time 2B

Actually he’s already in the top 10 according to JAWS, which tries to balance peak bWAR with career bWAR.

20 Exactly 11/22/63 TRO and Judge for Cano or not selling last year and no Gleyber and/or Frazier.  The law of unintended consequences.

[24] Are you suggesting we pack Ellsbury in a convertible and drive him around Dallas to see what happens?

14 Might’ve considered Frazier and Sheffield if Fowler had not gone down.  For Gleyber I would need a Chris Sale if that.

One Tyler down: Webb has been traded.

Coming back AAA 1B Garrett Cooper.

I guess this was a no brainer after Cashman dangled Webb for Quintana and got rejected.

17 HRs in half a season at Colorado Springs.  What does that translate to at sea level?

Seems like a decent enough flier.

[10] - So what? They shouldn’t have signed Ellsbury to that contract.  That would be just as true if Cano was below replacement level for his contract.

They shouldn’t have signed Cano to what he wanted.  That would be any more true if Ellsbury was Mike Trout the last few years. 

They have nothing to do with each other.  They had the option of signing neither.

[16] Cole has shown some decline, and that is with the greatest pitching coach in the history of the world working with him. He would probably implode in the Bronx.

Splits OPS .668 v. RHB / .885 v. LHB in 2017.

[29] Carter.

[31] Exactly, they made the right move with Cano. Unfortunately they then convinced themselves that stealing Elfsberry from the Bosox was a move of pure genius.

[24] Is there any evidence anywhere that the Yankees ever considered trading Judge?  I mean, feel free to keep rationalizing what was a horseshit contract as much as you want, but pretending that Smellsbury is the only reason the Yankees still have Judge is a reach.

[31] They signed Ellsbury to try and replace the star power they lost by letting Cano go.  Yeah, in an ideal world they sign neither, but they made the worst of the possible choices given the two contracts.

1) Sign neither.
2) Sign Cano.
3) Sign Ellsbury.

Can’s shittiest year with the Mariners is better than Smellbury’s best year with the Yankees.  I don’t expect that to change.

You don’t see a lot of talk about the value of a (free agent) win.  With all the money sloshing around I’m guessing it’s up closer to $8 million.

...FG says about $8 million FWIW.

But seriously I want to know how in hell could they have traded Fred McGriff for Dale Effing Murray and Tom Effing Dodd?

Steinbrenner must have found some really disturbing dirt on him.

[36] I can squint and see a 40 year old Cano falling slightly short of Smellsbury’s 3.3 bWAR in 2014.  But I have to squint to see it.

ETA: I don’t get trading a potentially useful lefty reliever with great AAA K numbers for a 26-year-old 1B who has never broken single digits in homers until this year in the PCL for Colorado Springs.  Then again, I didn’t get trading for Tyler Clippard last year and that has worked out really well.

Also will never forgive George for future ROY and MVP Willie McGee for no years of Bob Sykes.  I need a Valium now I’m hyperventilating.

[39] I’m pretty sure this trade is mostly a 40-man move that also happens to get them some needed 1B depth.

Not a huge fan either, but Webb is a middle reliever, it’s not like they gave up a ton of value.

You don’t think with townies throwing three LHPs and the ridiculous green monster Cooper will be here tomorrow? I kind of doubt coming off the DL they’ll use Holiday at 1B for more than one game.

Castro is slated to play for Trenton tonight and tomorrow and maybe return Saturday though with Sale slated to pitch Saturday might as well hold Castro out another day.

35. I didn’t mention Ellsbury in my post. The Ellsbury contract is terrible. They should have traded a pittance for Dexter Fowler, which the Astros (who are very smart) did. The Yankees basically said to themselves, “Cano won’t take seven years and Ellsbury will, let’s do it.” It was amazingly, amazingly stupid. The Red Sox took a similar “here’s the contract, who wants it,” tact with Holliday and Lackey, and that basically blew up in their face until Lackey had the TJ and pitched like himself in ‘13 and ‘14. But I don’t know why you are arguing I’m rationalizing Ellsbury’s contract in my post. I am not. I’m just saying if you are happy with the Yankees organizational depth at the moment, you really can’t complain that vociferously about losing Cano. There’s no way the Yankees have the farm system they do now with Cano in the fold. Its an alternate universe where they have a better team from ‘14-‘16 and very likely do not sell last season. Its actually likely they would have been aggressive buyers and could have traded Sanchez or Judge. I’m not saying it definitely would have happened, but if the Yankees are shooting for the World Series in ‘15 for example, is there a chance they outbid Toronto for Price? I mean, there’s at least a chance.

The Yankees did miss Cano quite a bit from ‘14-‘16.  Its the shitty side of being fan. Poor management decisions, players taking the better contract (as they should) Life goes on though. I mean, could the Yankees have won another World Series with Cano the past few years? Its very possible. But I can’t exactly walk around pissed about it every time I think about the team. The Yankees could have traded Cano for Randy Johnson or A-Rod. Or Beltran could have not flown over a wall in Tampa Bay in April ‘14 and struggled to hit for a year and a half, giving the Yankees a better chance that year even without Cano. Shit happens. The team has some exciting young players and is moving in a good direction. I don’t understand being so angry about it anymore.

I can live with not signing Cano. The mistake was not trading him at the deadline once they heard his asking price.

I also don’t understand cano going to Seattle. Sure he got an extra few $$...but he’s in Seattle! Will he ever make the playoffs? Get the kind of commercials he would get as the face of the Yankees? Do they even have Old timers day there? He would never have to pay for dinner again had he stayed in NY. Sometimes you gotta look beyond the pure $$$.

And yes if he keeps playing well he will end up top 5 of all time. 3000 hits and 400 HRs.

[44] Which is why my post was not directed at you.

[45] Maybe he doesn’t need to do commercials and can afford to pay for his own dinners now with the extra money?

It’s not like he went to play in Alaska or something.  Seattle’s a pretty nice city and he’s only there for 3 months a year anyway.

What do you think they could have traded Cano for in 2013?

Did they ever offer Cano 8/200?  If not, that was a mistake.  Nevertheless the whole thing is sunk cost/sunk mistake and barring an angel appearing on a bridge to Cash will never know if Boras (44) is right.

46. But to the point, it is true that two wrong’s do not make a right. The fact is if the Yankees were smart enough to keep Cano while not trading Judge and Sanchez, they would be in an amazing position right now. Although its possible things would have gone different, its at least worth considering. and my first post was probably too dismissive.

48. Probably Oscar Tavares, which is weird to think about.

[48] The only team that made the postseason that had a cipher at 2B is Atlanta (Dan Uggla).  Every other team had a decent to good player at the position.  So I’m not sure who would have paid a ton for him.

Of course, they lost the pick they would have netted for Cano by signing McCann/Ellsbury/Beltran.  So i guess the obvious answer is they could have traded him for something more than nothing?  Maybe to Atlanta, maybe for someone in their 2013 top 10 prospect list?

51. I would guess Teheran, Wood, and Peraza could be a hypothetical.

And just to sum up this discussion, it also occurred that the Yankees must have loved Ellsbury from afar to offer him seven years, but of course they passed on him in the draft for C.J. Henry. Classic.

Did they ever offer Cano 8/200?  If not, that was a mistake.

Nope and yep.

There clearly is cachet about being a “$200 million player” and the Yankees likely could have gotten Cano to agree to that, and if he had said no, then fine, let him go. That they never went past 8/$175 is just dumb.

Do you think the Yankees could offer a player who is signing their last contract a very long tail, like could the Yankees have offered 18/210MM and have the last 10 years at one million each with player opt outs after each of those years to circumvent luxury tax and ensure the player gets the opporunity for another contract if they are worth it at 40? 

These are things that keep me up at night.  It’s hard being me.

Do you think the Yankees could offer a player who is signing their last contract a very long tail, like could the Yankees have offered 18/210MM and have the last 10 years at one million each with player opt outs after each of those years to circumvent luxury tax?

It’s based on an average, so yes, they’d save money in the next few years, but then they’d be on the hook for $11 million a year for years after the player was gone.

I actually had an idea for dumping Ellsbury in the offseason. Why not Ellsbury for Adrian Gonzalez? If the Dodgers move Bellinger to first full-time they’ll have a need for outfield depth. They could platoon Ellsbury in LF or CF (he’s probably better defensively than Joc Pederson) Gonzalez has been horrific and injured this season, but its just a one year deal, and he can DH or provide insurance for Greg Bird. (who is now coming back this season??) Ellsbury on a three year deal isn’t *so* bad for the Dodgers, and after the shitty contract exchange of ‘18 between him and Gonzalez, they really wouldn’t have trouble trading him with only two years left on the deal. And 54, these are the things that keep me up at night. Trying to think of salary dump Ellsbury trades.

If you really want the Yankees to get rid of Ellsbury, it is possible.  I don’t think you’d like the return though.  Ellsbury for Heyward?  I bet the Cubs do it.  There’s a certain sure-fire HOF with over 600 HR who might approve a trade to the Yankees.

Actually, nevermind.  I don’t think the Cubs would do that trade.  It’s in the ballpark of similar contracts, but Heyward’s is frontloaded and he’s way younger.  The Ellsbury contract ending 3 years earlier, but that’s not enough to counteract the fact that Ellsbury is Ellsbury.

I really haven’t missed baseball. That’s something.

[55]  There are some contracts with lots of deferred money like I think the Scherzer contract?  You’re paying when the player is gone, but that is mitigated somewhat by inflation (though that has recently been very low, knock wood) and anticipated revenue increases, plus you’re hoping luxury tax threshold goes up.

You could have a ridiculous contract like 40/400 with years 11-40 at the minimum but at some point MLB would say nuh-uh.

Though we still have the amusing spectacle of the Bobby Bonilla contract, which pays him over a million a year through 2035.

I’m willing to bet that by the end of the Smellsbury contract, his total WAR for the Yankees will not equal Cano’s best year for the Mariners.

I don’t understand being so angry about it anymore.

I’m still mad they traded Drew Henson for Denny Neagle.

47: 69 degrees and partly cloudy skies as we speak. America’s best summer weather, thankyouverymuch. Though it’s hard to see Cano being sold on Norwegian cuisine.

[63] Don’t you know in the minors they called him Robinson “Lutefisk” Cano?

62. No one has ever received less credit for pitching pretty decent in a big game than Neagle in game four of the Subway Series. I mean, it wasn’t a masterpiece by any means, but it was way better than say, Kenny Rogers.

[65] If losing to the Mets in 2000 was the price of never hearing a thousand interviews where some dope reporter made Neagle do his train whistle routine, it would have been worth it.

I’m surprised they didn’t give Holiday another start tonight at Scranton.

[45] Legal weed.

So Yanks traded for Cecil Cooper from Brewers today. Isn’t he getting a bit old?

BP top 50 prospect busts very Yankee top heavy: 3B Drew Henson (No. 1), C Jesus Montero (No. 2), LHP Brien Taylor (No. 4), and OF Ruben Rivera (No. 5)

Yeah I mean I would take that Cano contract on retrospect. It’s not even close to Pujols bad, since he never had an elite season with the Angels. You don’t get elite players without buying some bad years at the end, but the 7 win seasons are worth it. So far that deal is lookong like a good one overall, not sure why we would call it bad in the context of all the other long-term deals.

[70] I don’t get including Taylor on there.  He injured his arm.  Doing something dumb and non-baseball related,yes, but big whoop.  It’s not like he was a heralded uber-prospect who blew through the minors before utterly imploding in the majors.

His mL numbers pre-injury were relatively pedestrian.

Also, I don’t think keeping Cano over Ellsbury changes the Yankees postseason chances that appreciably in 2014 and 15 that they don’t sell in 2016.  Who knows what retread the Yankees would have run out in CF or LF next to TPBG with Cano at 2B and no Ellsbury.  Remember, they thought Stephen Drew, Brian Roberts, and ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ were perfectly cromulent options at 2B. Swap Cano for Ells and they’re maybe a win or two plus, which still makes them 2nd WC contenders and not much else in ‘14 and ‘15.

[71] - Let’s not over rate Cano’s first 4 years in Seattle. In terms of position players (not overall, just position) he finished the season ranked in fWAR

2014 - 20th
2015 - 89th
2016 - 12th
2017 - 64th (currently)

He got an A-Rod or Pujols contract but we’re not talking A-Rod or Pujols level production here.  To be fair, he’s never been that tier of player though.  And he was also too old to be getting that kind of contract as the Pujols and 2nd A-Rod contract showed.  THAT’s why it’s a bad contract.  It’s a contract he never deserved and could never live up to.  It’s was just a silly overpay.

The cool thing about Tyler Webb is that they had him lost in the Rule IV draft, so getting anything for him now is a pretty cool result.

(74) I think it’s safe to say you’re not a fan of the Cano contract? Why did you bring up Arod and Pujols? They are all time greats, were paid as such, and Cano’s contract was a clear step down from them in terms of dollars.

Again, there is a huge gap between bWAR and fWAR for Cano. Why did you use fWAR for your analysis and why not use absolute values?  I hope it’s a good reason and not just an attempt to make Cano seem worse than he is in an attempt to make your point.

Why did you bring up Arod and Pujols? They are all time greats, were paid as such and Cano’s contract was a clear step down from them in terms of dollars.

It wasn’t a step down.  That’s the problem. Pujols got the exact same $240M/10 as Cano.  A-Rod got more but I think those were the only two players who got contracts bigger than Cano at the time of the signing.  That’s why I bring it up.  Those were the types of players getting those types of contracts and Cano isn’t on their level.

After trying to confirm that I see Joey Votto got a 251/10 extension in his age 28 season as well.  But yeah…

The point was you don’t give a “best player in baseball” type contract to a player like Cano.  You want to argue that those contracts are bargains, fine, you still give it to the best player in baseball type players.

In my head Pujols signed 300/10. My bad. He does get an extra 10-20 million based on milestones (probably 13MM)  So probably 253/10 when it’s done.

[77] Was Stanton after Cano?

64: That would be the best thing ever.

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