In some ways, the player Cano is most like might be Carew, the seven-time batting champion to whom Joe Torre compared him when he managed the Yankees. Carew aged well, picking up 1,595 hits from his age 30 season on, but spent nearly all of that time at first base. Cano has the bat to carry the position, but with Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira signed to thousand-year contracts, it’s hard to imagine him playing there in the Bronx any time soon, even if he wears down in the middle of the field.
Which is, essentially, the issue: In coming years, those two will struggle just to be adequate regulars while taking up two lineup spots and a good chunk of the payroll. Were Cano to collapse while drawing a salary of more than $20 million, a larger part of the budget than even the Yankees could easily tolerate would be dead money.
For a long time, one of the Yankees’ greatest strengths has been how good they are at judging their own players. They have missed on outside talent, but it’s hard to think of a homegrown star they’ve kept when they shouldn’t have. With every immaculate swing, Cano is making it all the more important that they keep getting this right, because Boras is unlikely to give them a discount.