Friday, November 9, 2012

The Robinson Cano Dilemma

A debate among New York Yankees fans has been heating up over the past few days: the debate to trade Robinson Canó, or extend his contract, to a nine-figure deal, keeping him in the Bronx for the next several years.

Some Yankee fans want the Yankees to honor their team's heritage of spending more and more money, always improving the team, never acknowledging any fiscal limitations.

Other fans are wary of issues signing players, who are good today, to long-term contracts that will continue to pay them like superstars through their post-prime years.

Alex Rodriguez is most often used as the example of this argument, but the truth is there are dozens of examples since the Yankees signed Catfish Hunter on the last day of 1974.

Over at the MLBTR Yankees Facebook page, one commenter states: He's a talent that you see every once n a while but if he wants much than I say....let him walk.

We're not trying to poke fun at this fan's opinion, but my question is how often is "every once in a while"? Does he mean every few years? Every 20 years? Once in a lifetime?

I'm thinking that Robinson Cano is about as good as any second baseman we can expect to see for the next 15 years, at least.

There are many ways of measuring Robinson Cano's greatness.

For one, here is how he ranks among Second Baseman of the past 50 years, with at least 750 games played through their Age-29 season, by OPS+ (SPOILER ALERT: He ranks 3rd)...

Rk Player OPS+
1 Rod Carew 130
2 Joe Morgan 129
3 Robinson Cano 123
4 Pete Rose 123
5 Bobby Grich 122
6 Craig Biggio 120
7 Roberto Alomar 119
8 Dustin Pedroia 117
9 Ian Kinsler 114
10 Jose Vidro 113
11 Chuck Knoblauch 112
12 Ryne Sandberg 112
13 Jorge Orta 112
14 Alfonso Soriano 111
15 Bill Doran 111
16 Lou Whitaker 110
17 Rickie Weeks 106
18 Kelly Johnson 106
19 Jeff Kent 106
20 Robby Thompson 106
21 Jim Lefebvre 106
22 Ron Hunt 106
23 Howie Kendrick 105
24 Willie Randolph 105
25 Mike Andrews 104
Rk Player OPS+
26 Davey Johnson 104
27 Marcus Giles 103
28 Carlos Baerga 103
29 Johnny Ray 102
30 Brian Roberts 101
31 Juan Samuel 101
32 Tony Bernazard 101
33 Ray Durham 100
34 Delino DeShields 99
35 Steve Sax 99
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/9/2012.

I never would have guessed that, over the past 50 years, only 33 second basemen had an OPS+ over 100.

More detailed looks will show that Robinson Cano is among the league leaders in OBP, SLG, Hits, and Extra Base Hits.

Dating back to 1902, only Rogers Hornsby played at least half of his games at Second Base and hit more Homeruns than Robinscon Cano through their Age 29 seasons...

Rk Player HR ▾
1 Rogers Hornsby 180
2 Robinson Cano 177
3 Alfonso Soriano 162
4 Joe Gordon 142
5 Ryne Sandberg 139
6 Bobby Doerr 138
7 Chase Utley 130
8 Rickie Weeks 130
9 Ian Kinsler 124
10 Dan Uggla 121
11 Carlos Baerga 121
12 Juan Samuel 116
13 Tony Lazzeri 114
14 Roberto Alomar 113
15 Brandon Phillips 112
16 Jeff Kent 107
17 Joe Morgan 103
18 Jose Vidro 101
19 Aaron Hill 98
20 Ray Durham 97
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/9/2012.

Let's open the floor to discussion... Should the Yankees extend Robinson Cano for the next 5, 6, or 7 years, at an expense over $100 million? Or, should they trade him for prospects, before losing him via Free Agency?

How many more games will Robinson Cano have
as a Yankee? How many more should he have?

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