Robinson Cano is heading into his walk year with the Yankees. He is represented by agent Scott Boras and has made it clear that he will not provide the Yankees with a hometown discount in the upcoming off-season. Cano is said to be looking for a deal in the Alex Rodriguez territory. He would like ten years at an annual salary of $25 million. There is no question that he is worth it but Cano is going into the 2013 season at the age of 30. Any contracts signed by players on the wrong side of thirty is scrutinized. For the Yankees, they may have no other option but to sign him. At this point Robinson Cano is undoubtedly the best hitter in the Yankees lineup. The next tier of hitters are not even half as good as Cano is. The Yankees should have been astute enough to sign Cano to an extension before the 2012 season but stuck to their rules of not handing out contracts until free agency. Times are changing and the Yankees' contract policy is simply inane. If the Yankees wanted to remain under the luxury tax threshold for the 2014 season, they bit themselves in the behind by not taking care of Cano earlier.
In 2012, Cano was average by his standards for the majority of the season. He wasn't as clutch as he used to be in previous years, and he looked like he didn't show up mentally on the field at times. There was an infamous incident at Tropicana Field against the Rays where Cano didn't dive for a ball and allowed the tying run to score in a crucial game between the Yankees and Rays. Cano faced a lot of scrutiny after that game and since then has been diving a lot more for balls that he would ordinarily allow to roll into right field. All that aside, Cano is still by and far the best second baseman in the game. He was the AL second base Gold Glove winner in 2012, beating out Pedroia of the Red Sox for the hardware. In addition to his stellar defense, Cano provides the Yankees with power. Not often is there a second baseman who will hit 33 home runs for you in a season. Cano keeps breaking his own season highs in all he major categories and something tells me that 2013 will be a great season for him since he will be looking for that payday.
If he wants to do even better in 2013, Cano needs to have more plate discipline. He swung at bad pitches too much in 2012, getting away from something he improved on in previous years. Also, Cano had an awful time against lefties last year, hitting .239 against southpaws when he crushed lefties in previous years. Cano is a hard worker, so I have no doubts that he will improve on all his shortcomings from 2012 and translate them into strengths in the final year of his contract with the Yankees.
My 2013 predictions for Robinson Cano: .328 BA, 35 HR, 120 RBI