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Sunday Mail: Will Robinson Cano come to regret departing Yankees for Mariners?

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  December 8, 2013 10:17 AM

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LEADING OFF

I suppose Robinson Cano's departure from the Empire State to the Emerald City really is as simple it seems. The Mariners offered him 10 years and $240 million dollars, or three years and $65 million more than the Yankees did. So he took it.

While he's the first prime-of-career Yankees star I can recall to ditch the Bronx as a free agent, the news did not cause earth did not screech to a halt on its axis.

It did, however, lead to one immediate suggestion in the New York tabloids that the stratospheric salary won't prevent Cano from having second thoughts -- and soon.

This, from Joel Sherman's Saturday column in the Post:

"Doesn't it feel like you will have the first despondent player on the way to his introductory press conference?" [an NL] executive said. "He had to take the $240 million, but you know he didn't want to leave for a bad ballpark with the worst travel in the league. You are always on a plane when you play for the Mariners. He went from the center of the universe to Pluto, and how soon will it be before he wants to get off of Pluto?"

To be fair to Seattle, Pluto is much colder and doesn't have nearly as many good seafood restaurants. Seattle is a great city, one of my four or five favorites, and it's a fine sports town as well, as proven by every ear-splitting crowd at a Seahawks game.

There's probably some East Coast arrogance in the he'll-regret-leaving-us mind set. Heck, I searched for evidence to confirm my suspicion -- that the Yankees underestimated Cano and his representation and thought he'd come back at their price, even if the margin was tens of millions of dollars between their offer and the highest elsewhere.

But the search for evidence seems to confirm the opposite -- the Yankees knew he would take the highest offer, even if it came from a place northwest of Pluto, where he'd have to settle for being a ludicrously well-compensated faraway star.

It doesn't sound like he made the decision on a whim, so I doubt he'll regret it, at least until he reads up on the people for whom he'll be working.

Let's take a wild hack at an all-Hot Stove edition of ...

THE MAILBOX

Jacoby Ellsbury and Curtis Granderson a wash? Seriously? When is the last time Granderson stole 50 bases? Please.
-- Mark

This was in relation to a chat question asking whether McCann and Ellsbury will equal or surpass Cano in value to the Yankees. I replied that Ellsbury and Granderson were "pretty much a wash,'' more as a reminder that Granderson is also out of the equation there than anything else. But the answer Mark's question specifically, Curtis Granderson last stole 50 bases as a junior at Lansing Fractional South High School in Lansing, Illinois in 1998. He stole 53. No, I made that up. (Though that is where he went to high school.) Granderson has never stolen 50 bases, at least in the big leagues. But he did lead the majors in home runs over the 2011-12 seasons with 84, led the league in runs and RBIs in 2011, and over his four years with the Yankees contributed 14 wins above replacement, which is only slightly less than Ellsbury's 14.8 over the same span. I'd take a healthy Ellsbury over a healthy Granderson -- younger, faster, better outfielder. But there is room for debate there.

He is not a positional replacement nor an exact skill set match, but in my mind the man who smoothly replaces the talent presence of Jacoby Ellsbury on the Red Sox is Xander Bogaerts. Your thoughts?
-- Luke

That's a really great point, Luke. If Stephen Drew doesn't come back -- and I still think he does, though it will probably require the Red Sox to trade a pricey pitcher in the interim to keep them below the $189 million threshold -- and Bogaerts starts at short, then I think it's entirely possible to expect the Bogaerts/Bradley combination to produce similar numbers (minus the stolen bases) to what Ellsbury/Drew totaled last year. Don't know if you guys happened to see them, but FanGraphs posted Dan Szymborski�s ZiPS projections for the 2014 Red Sox a few days ago. They tend to be a little more conservative than the Bill James projections, and yet they have Bogaerts at a perfectly fine .267/.331/.429 with 16 homers and 48 extra-base hits in '14. And his top comp? Troy Tulowitzki. I think he ends up being the Red Sox' third-best offensive player next year.

No one gets the Yankees first-round pick. With the new CBA it disappears. Atlanta and Boston both get picks in between the first and second round.
-- Chris

Yeah, messed this up in the chat the other day, and Chris was the first of many of you to help me see the error of my ways. Wrote that the Braves got the Yankees' No. 1 pick for signing McCann, with the Sox getting a comp pick for losing Ellsbury.

Does this offseason feel a little like 2005 where we said good-bye to some key guys, tried to replace them and then had a miserable year? Personally, I'd be happy to have this be the rebuilding year and unload John Lackey, Jake Peavy, etc. for some high-ceiling prospects. I mean...wasn't last year supposed to be the one that stunk?
-- BoggsFan26

Sheesh, this has to be the first time in history someone has longed for a bridge year after winning the World Series. It got lost a little bit because the Sox were a damned good team all year, but it actually was a bridge year. Jackie Bradley Jr. made it to the big leagues. Xander Bogaerts, who began the year in Double A, was an October star. Brandon Workman, the Sea Dogs' opening day starter, got huge outs in Game 6. And several other prospects took huge steps forward. It was a bridge year in the sense of how Theo Epstein originally meant it, that the next generation of prospects would arrive. It just happened to be one in which the major league team didn't stink. As for the part about 2005, well, I never wanted Derek Lowe to leave. Letting Pedro Martinez go was the right move. But replacing both with David Wells, Matt Clement, and Wade Miller was fairly uninspired. That season wasn't miserable, though -- they did win 95 games and make the playoffs before running into that A.J. Pierzynski buzz saw known as the future champion White Sox.

Until next week, the mailbox is closed. Exit music, please.

Thirty-three years ago today, Howard Cosell told us during a Patriots-Dolphins Monday night game that John Lennon was dead.

I was in fifth grade and didn't understand the magnitude until the next morning, when my mom, ironing our clothes for another day of school, began sobbing as she heard the news on "The Today Show." She was nine years younger then than I am now, from a generation that had already shed so many tears because of horrifyingly abrupt endings. I don't need Cosell's words to remember that day. My mom's heaving sadness told me all I needed to know about what John Lennon meant.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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