How Much is Too Much?
Professional baseball contracts are out of control, and what happens within one organization affects the Rangers and all the other teams. Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees is asking for a new contract. And why not, after hitting .314 with 27 homers and 107 RBI’s in the 2013 season, Cano deserves to be paid well for the next several years. But here’s the problem–he thinks that means he should become the first-ever $300 million dollar player. REALLY?… Robinson Cano the first $300 million dollar player! What the hell is he smoking? Does any fan of baseball pay to go see Robinson Cano play? The barometer that I use for things like this is; do none sports fans know who the the player is? In the case of Larry Bird or Michael Jordan or Brett Favre, even my mother had at least heard of them, or knew what sport they played. What non-sports fan has ever heard of Robinson Cano? ZERO. Is he an “all-time” type of player…not even close.
Or maybe it’s not him, maybe it’s his agent. We all know how an agent (i.e. Scott Boras) can dictate the terms of a ridiculous contract to a naive owner (i.e. Tom Hicks). Who is Cano’s agent? Oh yea, Jay Z. The guy has been an agent for like what, 10 minutes, and he’s going to set the market for salaries in major league baseball.
I don’t know this, but I’m guessing that Mr. Z thinks that his reputation in the hip hop world will give him some extra cred when negotiating with these awe struck baseball owners. Robinson Cano is no more worthy of a $300 million dollar contract than was Josh Hamilton or Albert Pujols. But at least those guys had put up some monster numbers in prior years, and even the lose-pocketed Angels were only willing to go as high at $240 for Pujols. Cano is 31…does anyone really think he will be playing at a high level at the end of his contract when he’s 41? Or even near the end when he’s 38 or 39? Both Pujols and Hamilton have fizzled after signing their huge deals, and Cano plays second base where top players all seem to peak around 30 and head down hill by 33 or 34.
It just goes to show the ridiculous state of pro sports when players and their ego-maniacal agents think they can ask for the moon…and just maybe get it. What the Yankees should do–and all other teams faced with similar circumstances–is send the message that you’re wasting our time and don’t call back. If players and their agents knew that a joke of a contract request would be met with the same reaction as the rest of the world’s contract demands, then maybe we’d have some sense of the real world in sports. But instead, teams just politely say, “that’s a bit too high for us” and leave the door open for the next round.
Cano’s stats last year were very good but he didn’t lead the Yankees to the World Series or lead the league in any major category. He deserves to, and will get paid handsomely for what he’s done, but owners and GM’s need to look toward the next 5 seasons and not the previous 5 when paying a player. Cano isn’t Derek Jeter (Mr. Yankee) so don’t pay him for his “loyalty.” Pay him what he’s worth going forward. And make a statement when you do, that insulting offers like his, show disrespect to the team and the game.