Of Robinson Cano’s much publicized change in representation from Scott Boras to Jay-Z, The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo considers the free agent’s purported $310 million aspirations horribly misguided, claiming the second baseman “hasn’t done his image any favors”. “Maybe Jay-Z is trying to shape him into an off-the-field superstar,” muses Cafardo. “It’s troubling that Cano wanted that so badly. He could have had Boras negotiate the biggest deal of his career. Instead, Cano is leaving it up to an entertainment agency that knows nothing about baseball.” And even worse, he compares unfavorably to the gutty-gritty-lunchpail-toting Dustin Pedroia, whom the last time I checked, was not actually available on the open market and won’t be for a very long time.
Cano is being “marketed” as an entertainer as much as a ballplayer. Major league teams want ballplayers, not another pretty face who does commercials. Teams don’t care about that. They want to know their major investment in a player is going to mean 100 percent commitment to the field and the team.
That’s what Yankees president Randy Levine and general manager Brian Cashman are committed to. So, when Levine says the Yankees have a Plan B, we believe him. The Yankees want Cano, but if he is being outlandish in his demands, then the Yankees are bigger than Cano. The team already has been burned by A-Rod’s deal, so they’re not about to get crazy with Cano.
While Dustin Pedroia left millions on the table with a team-friendly deal of eight years at $110 million, Cano isn’t twice the player (salary-wise) of Pedroia. Cano is also an excellent defender and hitter, with a better WAR than Pedroia, but worth more than twice the money?
And in this case, forget the sabermetrics. If you watch Pedroia every day, he’s an off-the-charts player doing things that can’t be quantified. If you could measure heart in dollars, Pedroia would be incredibly rich and Cano would pale in comparison, but the whole package?
“Pedroia is all baseball,” said one National League GM. “He wakes up, lives it, breathes it, wants it. I think Cano does too, but not to Pedroia’s extent. That shows up on the field. Cano is a great player, but of the two I’ll take Pedroia any day of the week.”