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Monday, August 13, 2012

Marchman: How Much Is Robinson Cano Worth?

After tonight’s 0 fer 3…NOTHING! (Sorry…a Yankee fan just asked me what was Derek Lowe’s record in Japan)

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.

Repoz Posted: August 13, 2012 at 09:19 PM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, yankees

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   1. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 13, 2012 at 10:37 PM (#4207674)
Funny that Jeff Kent didn't make the list of long-playing 2B. Tex is signed through 2016, at which point Cano will still be too good to move off 2nd.
   2. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: August 13, 2012 at 10:50 PM (#4207689)
Cano has way more power than Carew did.
   3. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 13, 2012 at 11:00 PM (#4207698)
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.

Cano will only be 33 when Teixeira's contract ends, assuming there is a need to move him off 2nd by then. That still leaves DH for A-Rod.
   4. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 13, 2012 at 11:04 PM (#4207700)
Good question. Cano looks like he is in fantastic shape and he might have the bulk to handle the beating that 2nd base dishes out. His bat is obviously awesome and will play any where for a while. If they have to shift him to LF or 3b or something down the line, he should have the bat and arm for those positions for a long time. I think it will be a long, long time before Cano is limited to first. I say sign him. He's a better bet than donkey face and way more likeable that ICR. I don't much care how smart of a move it is.
   5. RollingWave Posted: August 13, 2012 at 11:08 PM (#4207707)
@2: yes, but Carew played in an age where the majority of players were singles slappers that never drew a walk, from an OPS+ POV Carew is still quite frankly the better player, but not being a better player than Rod Carew isn't exactly a damning statement. If Cano holds up well he should easily be a comparable player to Jeff Kent (and probably less hated, even while being a Yankee)

For a long time, one of the Yankees’ greatest strengths has been how good they are at judging their own players.


Riggght... Austin Jackson and Tyler Clippard says hi, and they were also sorta / kinda wrong about Melky Cabrera (at least the post Braves version)

   6. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: August 13, 2012 at 11:29 PM (#4207720)
Riggght... Austin Jackson and Tyler Clippard says hi, and they were also sorta / kinda wrong about Melky Cabrera (at least the post Braves version)
It's not like they dumped Jackson or Cabrera. They traded Jackson for Curtis Granderson, and Cabrera for Javier Vazquez after getting Granderson. And a lot of people outside of NY were pissed that they got Vazquez for Cabrera.
   7. STEAGLES is all out of bubblegum Posted: August 13, 2012 at 11:43 PM (#4207728)
he's a fine player, but i'm not sure how much power he'd retain if he weren't playing half his games in a stadium with an absurdly short power alley in RF.

   8. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: August 13, 2012 at 11:48 PM (#4207735)
he's a fine player, but i'm not sure how much power he'd retain if he weren't playing half his games in a stadium with an absurdly short power alley in RF.


Cano has either opposite field (fastballs, mainly) or dead pull (breaking balls) power. He probably uses the RF power alley less than any lefty on the Yankees.

Tex and Granderson, on the other hand . . .
   9. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 13, 2012 at 11:56 PM (#4207741)
he's a fine player, but i'm not sure how much power he'd retain if he weren't playing half his games in a stadium with an absurdly short power alley in RF.

Looking at Cano's page on hit tracker, he really hasn't benefited from NYS too much. He picks up a couple HRs a year at NYS, but not more than that.

Cano is also a guy with a lot of line drive power to all fields. Put him in Petco and he will hit more doubles and triples. I'm really not buying the argument that a guy who hits the ball as hard to the opposite field as Cano is a product of the new stadium.
   10. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:08 AM (#4207751)
he's a fine player, but i'm not sure how much power he'd retain if he weren't playing half his games in a stadium with an absurdly short power alley in RF.

Cano's Home/Road Career OPS splits are .853/851. He is .346/.384/.575 at Fenway Park though.
   11. STEAGLES is all out of bubblegum Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:25 AM (#4207763)
Cano's Home/Road Career OPS splits are .853/851. He is .346/.384/.575 at Fenway Park though.
cano's career home split also includes his years playing in old yankee stadium.

his career batting line at new yankee stadium is .314/.364/.549, for a .913 OPS.


that's not entirely fair, though. he's a better hitter now than when he was playing at old yankee stadium, so his away split during the years he's played in new yankee stadium should also improve.


   12. Walt Davis Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:33 AM (#4207770)
Cano has way more power than Carew did.

Yes but a good chunk of that is era difference ... and of course Carew had that extra-sparkling BA. It also depends somewhat [which Carew you're talking about ... EDIT]

Carew 27-32: 354/420/482, 153 OPS+ (part 2B, part 1B)
Cano 27 -29: 312/368/540, 139 OPS+

The raw OPS's are practically identical and of course we'd prefer the higher OBP.

As to context, league SLG for Cano is 421, lgISO of 155; for Carew 384 and 121. So Carew had a slightly above-average ISO in this period -- which is still well behind Cano.

As a hitter but keeping it to 2B/3B/CF (roughly equal positions in Rpos terms), other mediocre-BB but good power comps (27-29) may be:

Brett (334/400/553 but 163 OPS+)
Puckett (342/373/515, 139)
J Hamilton (315/372/543, 137)
ARam (301/358/559, 129)
Alomar (320/386/493, 126)

Cano (as a hitter) as a LHB Puckett/ARam strikes me as about right. I'm guessing lots of folks would be stunned to see he has nearly identical numbers to Hamilton.
   13. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:51 AM (#4207775)
I wasn't making an assertion, really, about their relative quality as hitters. Mostly I was noting that their styles were very different, and I think they tend to get compared because they're Afro-Hispanics who play second base, not because of any substantive similarity. It's true that there's a context difference, but it's also true that Cano has way more power. His career high in HR is 29. Carew's is less than half that. In fact, Cano's career low is the same is Carew's career high. They're not particularly similar as hitters at all.
   14. Shoebo Posted: August 14, 2012 at 01:03 AM (#4207781)
Simply comparing to left handed hitters, and completely ignoring position, here are some interesting possible comps
based on

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers,
From 1901 to 2012,
Younger than 30,
Bats LH,
requiring PA<=6500, and At least 3500 plate appearances),
onbase_plus_slugging_plus>=110, onbase_plus_slugging_plus<=131,
HR>=120,
BB<.6*SO
sorted by greatest Adjusted OPS+

Report Link

Condensed Table:

Rk              Player OPS+   PA  HR  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1          Chase Utley  130 3813 161 360 606 .295 .379 .523 .902
2          Kirk Gibson  128 3672 150 380 713 .276 .355 .481 .836
3          Shawn Green  126 5557 253 529 962 .284 .357 .513 .870
4         Cecil Cooper  126 3912 122 236 491 .306 .346 .479 .825
5          Cliff Floyd  124 3981 150 398 693 .285 .363 .496 .859
6          Jim Edmonds  124 3594 163 377 725 .291 .368 .512 .880
7         Ray Lankford  124 4167 135 502 880 .272 .361 .470 .831
8         Andre Ethier  123 3789 120 363 642 .290 .363 .476 .839
9        Robinson Cano  121 4905 169 261 572 .308 .350 .502 .852
10     Johnny Callison  121 6119 189 532 888 .269 .337 .454 .791
11      Grady Sizemore  120 4047 139 430 816 .269 .357 .473 .830
12       Geoff Jenkins  120 3913 174 306 873 .281 .349 .508 .857
13           Al Oliver  119 5424 135 263 443 .296 .335 .454 .789
14       Harold Baines  118 5888 189 449 809 .288 .341 .462 .803
15   Curtis Granderson  117 4115 167 412 903 .267 .345 .493 .837
16        Adam LaRoche  114 3845 161 354 860 .271 .339 .488 .827
17         Aubrey Huff  114 4186 156 321 538 .284 .342 .472 .813 


I'd be careful with an extension here. A lot of sharp cliffs, falloffs in those comps.
   15. Shoebo Posted: August 14, 2012 at 01:16 AM (#4207785)
For those that want to ignore pre peak performance in their analysis, here is a report on similar type criteria for just ages 27-29

Report Link

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers,
From 1901 to 2012,
From Age 27 to 29, Bats LH,
(requiring onbase_plus_slugging_plus>=130, onbase_plus_slugging_plus<=148,
HR>=60, HR<=100,
BB<.65*SO
At least 1500 plate appearances),
sorted by greatest Adjusted OPS+

Condensed Table

Rk              Player OPSHR  BB  SO   PA   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1      Willie Stargell  144 73 175 328 1626 .273 .356 .491 .847
2          Cliff Floyd  142 81 185 289 1725 .302 .386 .548 .934
3          Dave Parker  141 72 149 262 1899 .314 .370 .525 .895
4          Kirk Gibson  139 84 202 347 1802 .280 .366 .510 .876
5        Robinson Cano  138 82 132 237 1869 .312 .368 .540 .907
6        Josh Hamilton  137 74 131 300 1640 .315 .372 .543 .915
7    Darryl Strawberry  136 94 206 340 1750 .257 .346 .493 .839
8          Chase Utley  135 87 177 325 2059 .310 .388 .542 .930
9        George Altman  132 62 134 248 1549 .300 .363 .516 .879 


Still seeing lots of cliff





   16. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 14, 2012 at 01:32 AM (#4207793)
cano's career home split also includes his years playing in old yankee stadium.

his career batting line at new yankee stadium is .314/.364/.549, for a .913 OPS.

that's not entirely fair, though. he's a better hitter now than when he was playing at old yankee stadium, so his away split during the years he's played in new yankee stadium should also improve.


From 2009 - 2011, Cano was .310/.360/.532 at New Yankee Stadium and .318/.361/.525 on the road. And .354/.390/.628 at Fenway Park. Doesn't look like there is much of a case that Cano's power numbers are significantly inflated by NYS.
   17. RollingWave Posted: August 14, 2012 at 01:54 AM (#4207799)
However, it shows that if Cano was a career Red Sox he'd probably won a few MVP by now :P

   18. Jim Wisinski Posted: August 14, 2012 at 02:45 AM (#4207807)
Still seeing lots of cliff


I'm only seeing one on that list.
   19. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: August 14, 2012 at 03:05 AM (#4207808)
Cano is the player I thought Todd Walker would be.
   20. NJ in DC Posted: August 14, 2012 at 07:10 AM (#4207817)
I just want zop to do the Dave Cameron thing.
   21. Scott Ross Posted: August 14, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4207893)
Carew basically stopped playing 2B after his age-29 season.
   22. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 14, 2012 at 10:30 AM (#4207903)
I wasn't making an assertion, really, about their relative quality as hitters. Mostly I was noting that their styles were very different, and I think they tend to get compared because they're Afro-Hispanics who play second base, not because of any substantive similarity.
I think Cano was a lot more like Carew* when he came up. His 2006 season (.342 AVG, .182 ISO) reads a lot more like a Carew season than it does one of someone like Kent or Utley. People haven't quite adjusted to the idea that Cano isn't a Carew-type, which is why--as I've said before--I think you still get some media-types saying that Cano still has a chance to "put it all together."

*Not as good, but you know what I mean
   23. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 14, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4207909)
I just want zop to do the Dave Cameron thing.

That joke is more used up than Amare Stoudemire's back.
   24. NJ in DC Posted: August 14, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4207923)
That joke is more used up than Amare Stoudemire's back.

Whatever. He went to Dream School this summer so all is well.
   25. AROM Posted: August 14, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4208045)
From Shoe's list in #14, the ones that are most like Cano are Al Oliver and Cecil Cooper. Mostly because they also stand out as low walk, low strikeout hitters. Partly because they were both great in 1982, and that being the first year I seriously followed baseball, their images are firmly implanted in my memory.
   26. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 14, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4208072)
According to Hit Tracker, Cano has been "gifted" two homers at YS this year. The vast majority of his homers have a "# of Parks" of 20 or better.
   27. jwb Posted: August 14, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4208079)
Several of those cliff divers had significant injury histories by the time they were Cano's age. Cano's only DL stint was a hamstring strain in 2006. The problems Parker and Strawberry had seem irrelevant - weren't Cano and Melky clubkids? - as he seems to have grown out of that scene. While he is still a secondbaseman, he's a better bet than most.
   28. AROM Posted: August 14, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4208129)
My favorite Robinson Cano fact: He was teammates with Roger Clemens. Clemens was in his 6th MLB season when Robinson's father Jose made his major league debut. OK, that's more of a Roger Clemens fact.
   29. Shoebo Posted: August 15, 2012 at 12:24 AM (#4208554)
From Shoe's list in #14, the ones that are most like Cano are Al Oliver and Cecil Cooper. Mostly because they also stand out as low walk, low strikeout hitters. Partly because they were both great in 1982, and that being the first year I seriously followed baseball, their images are firmly implanted in my memory
.

I focused on those guys too, for the same reason, low BB low K guys. Oliver didn't hit as many homers, but not hard to imagine him doing so in 2012 Yankee Stadium/ American league.

Several of those cliff divers had significant injury histories by the time they were Cano's age. Cano's only DL stint was a hamstring strain in 2006. The problems Parker and Strawberry had seem irrelevant - weren't Cano and Melky clubkids? - as he seems to have grown out of that scene. While he is still a secondbaseman, he's a better bet than most.


Maybe. I think the main thing that stands out to me is Cano's peak hasn't been so high that we should expect an extremely high level of production once he leaves his peak ages. Guys that post up over 150-160 OPS+ and higher in their early and peak years tend to come in for a softer landing. Guys that are in the low 100's and then peak around 140 something a couple of seasons, tend to go back to the low 100's over their last 5-6 seasons, even if they play into their middle and late 30's.
   30. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4208897)
and they were also sorta / kinda wrong about Melky Cabrera (at least the post Braves version)

Apparently they weren't wrong.
   31. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:13 PM (#4208916)
Yup, Melky has been suspeneded for 50 games!
   32. billyshears Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4208933)
Yup, Melky has been suspeneded for 50 games!


Wow. That's going to cost him a lot of money.
   33. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 15, 2012 at 04:26 PM (#4209035)
Are there seriously no contract guesses yet?

I'll go....5 years, $100M.

EDIT: for Cano, not Melky. Oof.
   34. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 15, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4209043)
I'll go....5 years, $100M.

Too low! This is the Yankees, even under the new CBA. 6/130, with a team option for like 28 million.
   35. cardsfanboy Posted: August 15, 2012 at 05:29 PM (#4209094)
Several of those cliff divers had significant injury histories by the time they were Cano's age. Cano's only DL stint was a hamstring strain in 2006. The problems Parker and Strawberry had seem irrelevant - weren't Cano and Melky clubkids? - as he seems to have grown out of that scene. While he is still a secondbaseman, he's a better bet than most.


It's always interesting to see all the different theories about why "this guy is different" when compared to a list of similar players. I think ultimately it doesn't matter why an individual cliff dived, but when you look at a collective group and see the same tendency it's something that shouldn't be just wished away.

We'll start with the position Cano plays, he's a second baseman, they have the shortest careers on average of any position on the diamond except catcher and first base. Multiple reasons why, but ultimately second baseman's careers are shorter, even among all the greats, second baseman pale in career plate appearances compared to the other positions. (lot has to do with the fact that they don't usually have the bat to move across the defensive spectrum)



To expect Cano to have a career past his age 33 season goes against tremendous amount of history at his position, and when you compare to his similar list, those who don't play his position don't have a great track record of sticking around either. He's double pronged doomed. He could be the exception, the Jeff Kent if you will, but if you have money to burn and are in vegas and can get a bookie to give you odds, take the under for 300 plate appearances from Cano in his age 34 season.

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