Cano: ‘No respect from Yankees over new contract’
SEATTLE (AP) — Robinson Cano seemed to be next in line as the player to wear New York Yankees pinstripes for his entire career, all set to follow the path laid before him by mentors named Jeter, Posada and Rivera.
And then the Seattle Mariners blew him away with an offer of financial and career security the Yankees never came close to matching.
“I was looking for a contract where I would just be able to play and focus on the game and wouldn’t wonder when I’m 37, 38 would I have a job one day. Would I be able to play?” Cano said. “The one thing in Seattle is I get the chance. Am I going to keep working hard? Yes. Even harder? Yes. I’m going to do my best and play the same way I was playing in New York and go out there and do my business and win games.”
Cano never stopped smiling late Thursday as he was introduced as the Mariners’ new All-Star second baseman. He had $240 million reasons to grin after signing a deal that tied for the fourth largest in Major League Baseball history. He has security for the next 10 years knowing that at age 31, he’ll likely never go through the process of needing to seek another contact.
With music mogul Jay Z watching from the side of the room, his first client with Roc Nation Sports inked the fifth deal in MLB history to top the $200 million mark.
“Today isn’t about me. It’s about him,” Jay Z said as he declined interview requests.
Cano and his negotiating team spoke glowingly of working with the Mariners and Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik. But Cano felt the Yankees lacked in their efforts to keep him.
Asked if he ever thought he’d leave New York, Cano said, “Honestly, no.” Later, Cano said he never felt the Yankees wanted him back.
“I didn’t feel respect. I didn’t get respect from them and I didn’t see any effort,” Cano said.
The Yankees’ top offer was $175 million over seven years. Cano said he didn’t want to go through the contract process in his mid-to-late 30s. Seattle’s willingness to push the contract out to 10 years — and the whopping monetary commitment — sealed the agreement.
Cano was New York’s most feared hitter for the past several years, and the loss of a middle infielder who bats .300 and hits 30 homers stings. Cano posted a .899 on-base plus slugging percentage last season and finished fifth in American League MVP voting.
Only the two deals signed by Alex Rodriguez — first with Texas and then the Yankees — and Joey Votto’s contract with Cincinnati were worth more. Albert Pujols also signed a $240 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Cano will make $24 million per season from 2014-23 and the contract includes bonuses for awards.