[Note: I understand that due to the recent success this wonderful franchise has achieved there is seemingly less and less hatred for the New York Yankees as each year files into the next. I fully understand it, and have absolutely no qualms with it. As a native New Englander, forced to relocate to New Jersey as a young man, my hatred for the Bronx Bombers is as strong as it was the night Aaron Boone made me cry myself to sleep in 2003. Forgive me if it has covered my eyes with a blindfold of bias, but please...hear me out.]
Imagine if in one acquisition you could change a tapestry that took nearly a century to weave. Decade after decade, this textile grew to tell you a story ceaselessly reminding you of your inferiority to a seemingly "chosen" entity. This entity, this Evil Empire, was always reigning supreme. There was one time, at the verrrrrrrrrry beginning of this saga, a chance to lay early claim to the crown of this forever continuous victor, in the form of a left handed hitter who swung with the force of a thousand gods, Babe Ruth. But alas, it was not meant to be for this franchise. The story goes on for almost a full century with a similar tone...the Yankees from New York almost always striking gold, often times in the same location the Red Sox struck out.
All of this is of course nothing more than a history lesson, as the most very recent of threads have been weaved to show a new picture. A picture where the local nine from Boston have won three of the last ten championships. A fantastic start to a century that has proven to be not nearly as kind to the rivals from New York. This is all well and good, until you consider one thing...the Yankees will not go away. Every year they are one year away from being a 70 win team, and (seemingly) every year they dig deep into their proverbial pockets and nab the crown jewels of free agency, finding themselves competing in the playoffs once again.
This year has proven to be no different. After a season where you thought maybe, just MAYBE the Yankees would play by everyone else's "rules" and stay under the "189" forcing them into at least a solitary year in the pits of mediocrity, they go and grab a perennial All Star catcher in McCann along with a wonderfully gifted center fielder in Ellsbury. Grabbing those two would of course be enough to send any fanbase into a glee induced coma, appears to just be the start for the Yankees. Meanwhile our beloved Red Sox have played the role of cautious spender, with it's most notable move acquiring a catcher everyone seems to despise on a simple one and done deal. And why not play this role? With half of the janitorial staff still scrubbing the stench of Carl Crawford out of the clubhouse, it's easy to see why they've done it. There are however exceptions to be made, and it is my personal belief that with one move the Boston Red Sox have before them the best chance they have ever had to not only improve their team in a dire area of need until the end of the decade, but at the same time hitting the Yankees so hard, they truly may not be able to recover in the foreseeable future.
Yes, there are a million reasons why spending the twenty seven million over seven years isn't the best financial decision. I know Cano has said he wants more, and there are rumors of Seattle offering 200+, but in my opinion 190 over 7 is a deal Cano and Jay Z would take, as there is no way they wish to market Cano out west in Seattle, nor can Cano realistically want to play for a perennial loser (or he would have already signed the deal, right?). There are always a million reasons to not do anything, but there are three VERY good reasons why this absolutely should be BC's next move.
He makes the team better, even at third base.
First and foremost, Cano moves to third. We have an equally effective defensive second basemen (not to many teams can say that much) and he is unquestionably the heartbeat of the team. He moves for no one. Cano's athleticism, natural abilities at second, and huge salary make me feel a move to third is far from too much to request. With that said the ease and well above average play Cano shows at the position I feel it far from ludicrous to think he could at least match what Will Middlebrooks brings to the table defensively (not saying much there). That, of course, brings us to the first huge plus of this theoretical move. This move would end the discussion of what to do with Will Middlebrooks (trade him), and change a question mark at third, to an extra participant at the All Star Game on a yearly basis. Why so sure Tito? Not only would this man add more to this lineup offensively than any free agent or prospect could conceivably add for the next five years, he would do it day in and day out. While the Yankees just spent 153 million on a player who virtually missed two of the last four seasons, we would be adding a player who plays 159 games year in and year out with great consistency. While certainly admirable, Ellsburys hustle had landed him two lengthy trips to the DL, whereas Cano's lack of hustle almost ensures he will stay off it. We don't need to talk about the fact you can basically pencil this guy in for a 900 OPS, 140 ops+, 330+ total bases every single year. We all know this much. We're worried about bad contracts! Overpaying for guys who won't produce down the line! Except it did work for us once...it worked out damn well for us...or have we forgot reason number two?
8 years. 160 million dollars. A kings ransom for a 29 year old machine of a left fielder back in 2000. Manny Ramirez provided us with a machine to the tune of a 1.000 OPS, 160 ops+, and about 320 total bases every single year (see what I did there?). We didn't just spend money, we spent it on a machine on the right side of 30. While Cano is turning 31, He's only had one more season than Ramirez had at the time of his signing, and has missed less time in the last seven seasons, than Manny missed in the year before the Red Sox signed him. Manny was a character, and played a laughable left field. His production at the plate however,was unforgettable, the stuff of legends even. It's not often players of that caliber are available to your franchise, and when the Red Sox grabbed him they grabbed a key cog in a wheel that rolled to two World Series titles (and very well could have have been three if not for his departure halfway thru 2008).
F#$% The Yankees
This brings me to the last reason. Lets crush the fucking Yankees souls. We did it on the field to the tune of a sweep of a four game series this past September. Now let's beat them at their own game. We have the money available, and with (if what I've seen is correct) only $148 ish million on the books, we'd still have money to do some shoring up in the outfield, or first base. Yes this does some damage to the books of the future, but with Lackey coming in cheap next year, and with Peavy and Dempster being gone, we have a whole different picture being painted (plenty of money for Lester at the very least). Why can't we take their prize for once? Why can't we give them a feeling of sickness in their stomach? I felt that this morning. I loved Ellsbury, and knew he wouldn't come back. But he's a fucking Yankee, and good for him on the contract, but fuck that. Everything the Yankees have done to this point in the offseason revolves around one thing "If we don't get Robbie back, these moves don't matter". He is the center of the Yankees offense, and for some very peculiar reason the Yankees have balked. They just gave Ellsbury $153 million, but won't go over $170 for Cano? Why? He's certainly worth it, and we should give it to him. It would be the first time in the history of our history that we could buy the guy everyone in the Yankees universe needed to have. And it wouldn't cripple us financially. And it would help our team. And it makes sense.
One move. C'mon Ben.