Robinson Cano has signed the third largest contract in the history of baseball. For the sum of $240 million over 10 years, the talented second baseman will leave the New York Yankees and join the Seattle Mariners.
Although the agreement has yet to be officially confirmed, several reputable sources pushed the story into the media on December 6. Prior to this reported offer, the highest-value contract for a second baseman was $110 million, which the Boston Red Sox paid for an eight-year extension of Dustin Pedroia.
The deal was brokered by Robinson Cano’s management team, Roc Nation Sports, an agency run by hip hop mogul and entrepreneur Jay-Z and Creative Artists Agency. The superstar rapper got in a bit of hot water handling his first big-time client, violating MLBAP regulations by gifting his client with a watch worth over $30,000. Despite that snafu, Jay-z seems to have managed to hit a grand slam for both his client and his reputation in the sports representation business. Critics aside, the numbers don’t lie.
Cano, currently a free agent, came into the 2013 MLB season with 21 home runs, 65 RBI and a batting average of .302. He has hit over 200 home runs in his career, and has been playing in the majors since 2005. Prior to becoming a Yankee, Robinson Cano was a minor leaguer in the Yankee system, playing with the several affiliates, including Tampa Bay, the Gulf Coast, the Trenton Thunder and the Columbus Clippers.
It was from the AAA Clippers that Robinson Cano would be called up to the Yankees to take the place of Tony Womack at second base. In 2006 he had the third best betting average in the American League, and received three votes for the league’s Most Valuable Player.
Robinson Cano was the only American League hitter in the top 10 in doubles consecutively in 2006 and 2007, and showed remarkable resilience, as demonstrated by an ability to stay off the disabled list and play in a high number of games.
The Yankees extended Robinson Cano in 2008 for $28 million over four years, with additional options for the 2012-2013 seasons. Cano only missed a total of five games in the 2007-2008 seasons.
Robinson Cano began to heat up in the 2009 season, batting .320 and bringing in 204 hits and 25 home runs, with 85 RBIs. He ranked in the top ten American League players in almost every category, from hits to runs scored. He joined Derek Jeter to become part of the first infield duo with a combined 400 hits in the same season. Cano was first in hits of all second baseman in 2009.
2010 was another strong year for Cano. He started in the 2010 MLB All-Star Game, was Player of the Month in April and was selected to play in the Home Run Derby. He ended the season with 200 hits and over 100 RBIs.
Robinson Cano continued to perform in the postseason, putting up impressive numbers. His batting average was .343 and he had 4 home runs. His fielding percentage was .996, the best in baseball.
In the first game of the 2011 AL Division Series, Cano grand slammed in the 6th, his fourth of the year, to extend the Yankees lead to 8-1. In 2012 he hit 11 home runs in June, a career-high, and achieved a 23 game hitting streak. During the last 10 games of the season his batting average was a jaw-dropping .615.
The Yankees club option allowed them to extend Cano through 2013 for $15 million. He played shortstop for the first time, and hit his 200th home run this year, finishing with a .314 average, 27 home runs, 190 hits and 107 RBIs. Robinson Cano also won a Gold Medal playing for the Dominican Republic in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, in which he was named the Most Valuable Player.
By Mark Clarke