New York Times News Service
POSTED: 10:06 a.m. HST, Dec 6, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 10:09 a.m. HST, Dec 6, 2013
Over the past seven seasons, the remarkably durable Robinson Cano appeared in virtually every game the New York Yankees played. But he won't be doing so anymore.
Cano, 31, the best player on the Yankees in recent seasons and the key to their attack, has decided to bolt the Bronx and accept a 10-year, $240 million offer from the Seattle Mariners, according to a person in baseball with knowledge of the situation.
In the wake of Cano's departure, the Yankees were able to work out a one-year, $16 million deal with Hiroki Kuroda, which means the veteran Japanese right-hander will return to the Bronx for a third season and fill one of the spots in a starting rotation that remains a work in progress.
But Cano's decision to leave the only team he has ever played for remained a stunning development. To the end, the Yankees held their ground, telling Cano and his representatives, led by the entertainment mogul Jay Z, that they would not go higher than seven years and about $175 million in a new contract.
The Yankees now face a significant challenge as they try to replace a player who consistently hit for power and average and provided impeccable defense at second base. His exit will create one more riddle in a Yankees infield that now has an incumbent shortstop, Derek Jeter, who is 39 and missed almost all of the 2013 season with assorted leg injuries, and an incumbent third baseman, Alex Rodriguez, who could end up suspended for much or all of the 2014 season in connection with the Biogenesis drug investigation in South Florida.
Coming off a season in which they failed to make the playoffs for only the second time in the last 19 years, the Yankees have been aggressive in recent weeks, spending more than $230 million to sign catcher Brian McCann and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. They wanted Cano to stay, but not in a deal that would uncomfortably mimic the $275 million, 10-year contract they gave Rodriguez in December 2007, a decision that has come to haunt the Yankees in recent seasons.
In nine seasons with the Yankees, Cano hit 204 home runs, compiled a .309 batting average and was named to five American League All-Star teams. He was sometimes criticized for not always running hard on the basepaths; at the same time, his ability to stay in the lineup game after game was sometimes taken for granted.