Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano was booed in his return to the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Initially, the “bleacher creatures” in right center field included him as part of their traditional roll call. After Cano acknowledged them, they began their chant of “You Sold Out! You Sold Out!” As a lifelong Yankee fan, I’m disgusted by the hypocrisy of what is normally an overanxious but well informed fan base.In his 9 years in pinstripes Cano hit .309 with 204 homers, 822 RBI, 799 runs and 40 stolen bases. Break that out annually and you have 9 seasons of .309-23-91-89-4. Those are some pretty impressive numbers for any position, much less second base. Each of his last 4 seasons he finished in the Top 6 for AL MVP voting. For good measure, he added 2 Gold Gloves to the mix. From his third season on, Cano played in at least 159 games every season, displaying amazing durability for such a demanding position. Based on those numbers alone he should have been celebrated for all that he accomplished while in New York.
So why did he leave? Well, the Yankees offered him $175 million and the Mariners gave him $240 million. That’s $65 million reasons right there. Now, we can all argue the merits or advantages of the $65 million. I said at the time and I still contend that Cano should have stayed in New York. That while $65 million is an insane amount of money to leave on the table, $175 million is already more than any man needs to live for a number of lifetimes. We are not talking about the difference between $2 million and $5 million. That’s only a $3 million difference but is more life changing that the $65 million spread that Cano could have passed on. That the fame and notoriety from playing your entire career in New York is worth a few extra million in endorsements to make up some of that ground. That with Derek Jeter retiring, you’d have truly become the face of the franchise. That because the Yankees offer was for less seasons, you could potentially recoup some of that difference at the end if you are still a player worthy of being in the major leagues. Playing for a team that is constantly fully committed to winning and not just throwing quick money hoping for a winner only to abandon ship if it does or doesn’t work out is worth a good deal of money. As a player, you play to win and be in the post season and no team does that more often than the Yankees. In any event, he opted for the money and while I think it wasn’t the best choice, it certainly has plenty of merit, I see why he did it loud and clear and I wish him well.