And like that, Robinson Cano has left for the coast.
The Yankees off-season began by-the-book, paying a hefty sum to fill a gaping hole. It then took a wild and unexpected turn, as the Yanks turned a former enemy into a very rich man, spending $21 million a year to slightly upgrade a position that had already been filled for far less. But then this morning, the whole enterprise careened right off the rails.
Insulted by both the Yankees lack of urgency to sign him, and the lavish sums thrown at an outsider, Cano took his proverbial ball and went home. To his new home, that is, to Safeco Field in Seattle. There's little question that Cano had wanted to remain a Yankee, and I believe he would have come back to the Bronx for less than what it cost the Mariners to reel him in. But if the Yankees wanted him back, they had a funny way of showing it.
Now I'll grant that the Mariners overpaid for Cano and gave him too many years. Experience has shown that 10-year contracts are just not good, not for the player, not for the team and not for baseball. And while Cano is the top 2nd-baseman in baseball, in 6 or 7 years, he won't be, even though he'll still probably be paid like he is. As Albert Pujols will tell him, he'd better get off to a fast start, too. But unlike with Pujols and the Cardinals, Seattle's mistake is most certainly not the Yankees gain.
The Yankees now have no second baseman and have lost their top offensive player. They have no one at third -- whether or not A-Rod plays in 2014 -- and several holes in the rotation. But that didn't stop Brian Cashman from giving a ridiculous contract -- length and dollars -- to the wholly overrated Ellsbury while they already had a bonafide center-fielder and lead-off man in Brett Gardner. What sort of signal did that send Cano?
The Winter Meetings haven't even started and the Yankees have already achieved an entire off-season of drama. The 2014 Yankee team is far from complete, and the team still has time to fix a lackluster yet top-heavy roster. But by losing their home-grown star in a game of chicken, the Yankees haven't shown any organizational leadership or plan for building a team beyond opening a checkbook and seeing who wants their money. Should the Yankees fail to right the ship and miss out on the post-season two years in a row (for the first time since the '92-'93 seasons, by the way) it should spell the end of Brian Cashman's tenure in the Bronx. I'd be willing to sit out the playoffs again for that.