A memorable Friday of off-season New York baseball comings and goings
By Rich Mancuso
Robinson Cano exits the Bronx and the New York Yankees, signing the highest contract in Seattle Mariners history. Moments later, the cross-town NY Mets make a big splash and ink former Yankee Curtis Granderson to a four-year deal. Yes, it has been a memorable Friday of off-season baseball news in New York.
And this December, with the winter meetings next week, the complexion of baseball has changed. More so, the change is apparent in New York with the Yankees and Mets. Assuming Granderson is healthy, this was a monumental move for the Mets. They get a left handed bat in the lineup and protection for David Wright.
Sandy Alderson, the Mets general manager was reportedly informed by the so-called stingy Mets ownership to make the deal for Granderson. The Mets are looking better, have made a statement and for the moment have made their fans content. Alderson has made his first big splash in the free agent market since assuming his role as the GM.
As for the Yankees, congratulations! They were not willing to make another 10-year major investment with a player, as good as Cano is, and now a loss in the Yankees lineup. But, as history has dictated, the Yankees always find a way to recover their loss and they are not going sit still.
Of course they won’t sit still. With a Cano contract off the books, and the assumption Alex Rodriguez and his $25 million is off the books, pending an expected season long suspension, well the money is in place to keep the Yankees at that $189 million threshold that has been a target this off-season.
Of course there is the bitter sentiment of Yankee fans with the departure of Cano. He is considered one of the top ten players in the game. The Mariners will have a different look, so will the Yankees when they take the field in the Bronx in a few months.
Yes, the complexion of the game has changed. The talk of free agency and the long term mega contract is still strong, because Cano had the leverage with Jay-Z and the newest sports agents in town. The loyalty and pride of being a Yankee, well that is gone.
Because Robinson Cano, despite all he accomplished in the Bronx was a homegrown player and from the Yankees system, he will be a distant memory. Now he is headed to Seattle as one of six players in baseball history to achieve a contract of $200 million or more, and not considered a loyal New York Yankee.
Not considered a loyal player in Yankee pinstripes, so different from the “Core Four” of Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte, all raised out of the Yankees organization. Though Pettitte tested the free agent market and decided to return and retire in Yankee pinstripes.
Yes, the complexion has changed. And the cross-town Mets, with some money to spend made a statement. It is not unprecedented to see a player from the Bronx go to Flushing in the span of one baseball season to another. It has happened with a rare trade of the two New York baseball teams, or in this case via the free agent route.
Except in this case, Granderson is a big name player and comes from the Bronx. That makes a Yankee fan unhappy and a fan of the Mets smiling. Because anytime the Mets can obtain a player of this magnitude, as is the situation with Granderson, it is a major New York baseball story.
The Mets don’t make player acquisitions like this one. It is always the Yankees who make the big move, but the hierarchy in the Bronx did not want to get involved with another Alex Rodriguez type of contract, and who can blame them for that.
The Yankees will survive without Robinson Cano as they seek pitching, a bat without Cano, a possible third baseman and a closer out of the pen. This coming week at the winter meetings the search will continue to assure their fans that baseball will be played again in the Bronx come next October. Will Cano be happy with his new surroundings, despite all the money? That remains to be determined.
Granderson adds a different dimension to the Mets, a team that lacked power the past few years. If David Wright gets his home run trot back to form, and with Granderson having potential to hit 25 or maybe 30 long balls, well the Mets with a young and good pitching staff will make noise.
The wheeling and dealing will continue for both teams, as it will with many other teams in baseball who feel they are one or two players away from contention. The question always is, are these the right moves to get one step closer?
Friday, New York should have been focusing on their football, basketball and hockey teams. However, significant off-season baseball moves became the subject of discussion.
The Mets improved with a valuable addition in Curtis Granderson. And the Yankees, no matter how weird it sounds, will survive and do well without Robinson Cano in their lineup.
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