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Overtime: On Saying CaNO

Robinson Cano could make a return to the Yankees, but he shouldn’t. (Keith Allison/The Fordham Ram)

Robinson Cano could make a return to the Yankees, but he shouldn’t. (Keith Allison/The Fordham Ram)

Robinson Cano could make a return to the Yankees, but he shouldn’t. (Keith Allison/The Fordham Ram)

Robinson Cano could make a return to the Yankees, but he shouldn’t. (Keith Allison/The Fordham Ram)


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By Emmanuel Berbari

Nostalgia often clouds the bigger picture.

When you really enjoy a person, object or idea of the past and it resurfaces down the road, you cannot help but imagine a reunion.
This notion applies to the Yankees and Robinson Cano—more specifically, the fanbase and its former beloved second baseman.

The offer of Jacoby Ellsbury’s brutal contract in exchange for Cano’s egregious five remaining years, placing him back in the Big Apple, was on the table. It came and it went.

Let’s move on.

Sure, the idea and nostalgia pertaining to Cano is massive.

The 36-year-old was part of the Evil Empire’s last championship, was a flat-out superstar from 2009-2013 and was admired by the Bronx faithful.

The time to lock arms was 2014 free agency, when he walked in favor of three additional years, albeit less AAV, in Seattle.

Now, it proves to be an utter catastrophe.

Let’s start with age and years. The same reason Brian Cashman did not hand out a 10-year deal the first time around is the reason the organization should not welcome him back.

The Yankees have an incredible core of young talent at the major league. The last thing they need is a 41-year-old Cano in 2023, especially at $20-plus million.

While shedding Ellsbury’s deal would be a significant help, as his ridiculous seven-year, $155 million deal still looms over the franchise, only two years remain.

If Ellsbury comes into 2019 Spring Training a healthy man, he is a more than capable fourth outfielder. Acquiring Cano only ensures a couple of years of production.

Beyond that, you’re dealing with a full-time designated hitter, a troubling proposition that the team has tried to avoid since Alex Rodriguez, a first baseman who has played 10 career games at the position or, dare I say, another salary dump.

There is no guarantee that Ellsbury will ever return to full health as a Yankee, but his contract is finally dwindling down, as well as the insurance that has bailed the front office out of an albatross deal that made no further sense at the time than it does right now.

Yes, Cano is a lefty bat that the team lacks. Sure, he provides a position of need, at the moment, with Didi Gregorius sidelined. However, Cashman has made an honest attempt to avoid the reactionary moves that hurt the timetable. This one will sting, as the Yanks knew back in 2014.

Not to mention that the slugger is coming off a performance enhancing drug suspension. His next potential violation entails a 162-game ban, and you cannot help but question the effectiveness of his production minus PEDs. Oh, and not to mention, post-Alex Rodriguez, a PED saga is the last thing this revitalized, somewhat likeable Yankee group needs.

After all, while he is somewhat unnecessary to the team’s current needs, there exists a younger and better version of the man who was once on the fast track to Monument Park, and he’s on the free market. His name is Manny Machado.

He’s 10 years younger, arguably more talented than Cano in his prime and directly fills the vacancy left by Gregorius, rather than shifting Gleyber Torres over to short.

In a not-too-unrealistic world, the Yankee infield, from left to right, can consist of 23-year-old Miguel Andujar, fresh off a brilliant rookie year, a 26-year-old bona fide superstar in Machado, a 22-year-old budding star in Torres and a combination of Luke Voit and Greg Bird. All this while Ellsbury provides speed and defense off the bench until his deal expires.

The window to reunite is closed, and the bridge has already been burned.

Unless the Mariners eat every last dollar of a deal they currently regret, for the Yankees and Cashman, a forthright (Ca)no would suffice.

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