By Sweeny Murti
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— It’s not even Thanksgiving. Why is everyone so worked up about Robinson Cano’s market not shaping up yet?
As the biggest prize in this year’s free agent market there is no reason to expect Cano to sign anywhere quickly. The winter meetings begin December 9 in Orlando. Some of the big fish have come off the board there in recent years (Josh Hamilton in 2012, Albert Pujols in 2011). Others have been signed in the days and weeks immediately following, like Cliff Lee in 2010 or CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira in 2008. And still others have waited until January, like Carlos Beltran after the 2004 season and Prince Fielder after the 2011 season.
Fans get antsy this time of year, while GMs preach patience to get the best deal possible. Players and their agents hope that owners act like fans, get antsy and jump up to throw big piles of money at their feet.
Cano is waiting, and the money will be there. And if it comes from somewhere else, the Yankees will have a hard time filling that giant offensive hole.
— I am still amazed by the number of people I run into who are amazed that Derek Jeter wants to continue playing. The thinking is that he has nothing left to achieve, and that may be true. But I think what we are all forgetting is what drives not only Jeter, but every great player in sports we’ve ever seen.
There is a competitive desire that–combined with exceptional talent–takes the great ones to the heights they achieve. To think that goes away when somebody else wants it to go away is naive. The mental side that drives a player like Jeter stays much longer than the physical side. There is a rare exception like Mariano Rivera, who seemingly could have pitched forever.
But I think we tend to underestimate the will inside of an athlete like Jeter, because they can’t simply say, “Well, I’ve had a good career. I might as well give up now.” The same thing that has driven a player like that to greatness is what’s keeping him from letting someone else tell him it’s time to hang it up.
That’s why the body usually gives out first. We will see if Jeter’s body can bounce back in 2014.
— Curtis Granderson’s power is viewed largely as a product of Yankee Stadium, and that’s just not accurate.
While Granderson’s swing was remade to take advantage of the Yankee Stadium short porch in right field, it is a complete falsehood to think that all his home runs the last few years were 320 foot flairs over the right field fence.
Granderson hit 115 home runs as a Yankee from 2010-2013 (that’s averaging nearly 30 per year despite missing most of 2013). Anyway, Granderson hit 52 of those home runs on the road. That means 45 percent of Granderson’s home runs as a Yankee were away from Yankee Stadium.
With power at such a premium now, Granderson will receive a healthy multi-year deal from a power-starved team like the White Sox or Mariners or Mets or somewhere else. Executives all over baseball keep telling me that power is down and a guy who has proven to hit 40 home runs will get paid.
— I would think Joe Torre is almost certain to get into the Hall of Fame as a manager on this year’s veteran’s committee balloting, which will be announced during the winter meetings next month. George Steinbrenner is on the same ballot, and while there is great sentimentality amongst some Yankee fans to get the Boss into Cooperstown, I’m not sure it will happen this quickly.
Let’s keep in mind that there are some black marks on King George’s resume as Yankee owner as well. It’s not all about the later life nostalgia that has driven this campaign. And remember that Jacob Ruppert, the owner who built the Yankee dynasty in the Ruth and Gehrig era was only elected last year, more than 70 years after his death.
Maybe there will be a place for George Steinbrenner in the Hall of Fame, but it’s not time yet.
— While Mariano Rivera gets honored a lot these days, here’s another wonderful opportunity to pay tribute to a sure-fire future Hall of Famer and support a great cause. The Speak Out Against Hunger benefit for The Hillside Food Outreach is hosted annually by Bernie Williams, and this year his special guest is Mariano.
The evening features an always entertaining Q&A (humbly hosted by me) and a musical performance by Bernie and his band. There are bound to be a few surprises as well. Last year the great Paul Simon performed with Bernie and it was pretty special:
This year’s event is scheduled for January 18 in Danbury CT. You can purchase tickets here.
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