MLB on Sling TV: Yankees at Mariners on ESPN; All of Tuesday's Action on FOX Sports Regional Networks

Aug 23, 2016 by Scott Ross

(All times Eastern, starters subject to change)

New York Yankees (Sabathia 7-10, 4.49) at Seattle Mariners (Walker 4-7, 4.10)
10pm ET on ESPN

The New York Yankees are in Seattle for a reunion with old friend Robinson Cano, who, after 9 years as the Bombers’ second baseman is now in his third season patrolling the keystone for the Mariners. Following the 2013 season, the Yankees balked at Cano’s salary demands, and so, under the guidance of Jay-Z, the perennial all star signed with the M’s for $240 million over 10 years. Were the Yankees right to move on? Did the Mariners overpay for Cano? It’s a little early to make a definitive declaration, but let’s take a look:

In the nearterm, it’s clear the Mariners have gotten their money’s worth thus far. At the time of Cano’s signing, each win above replacement (WAR) cost about $7 million on the free agent market, meaning that Cano will need to post 34 WAR over the decade of the deal to work for the Mariners. Cano is on pace to put up 16 WAR over his first three years with the Mariners, for which Seattle will have paid $72 million, or $4.5 million per WAR. Over the next seven years, the Mariners need Cano to post just 18 more WAR from age 34 to 40. But second basemen, like NFL running backs, are notorious for collapsing in their early 30’s. Only Eddie Collins, Nap Lajoie, Charlie Gehringer, Jeff Kent (Jeff Kent?), Joe Morgan, and Lou Whittaker have put up 18 WAR from 34 to 40 – Cano is definitely better than Kent and probably Whittaker, but not quite in the class of the other four who are all-timers.

On the flip side, since Cano’s departure, playing second for the Yankees has been only marginally better than drumming for Spinal Tap. In 2014 the Yankees paid Brian Roberts $5.5 million for .9 WAR and Stephen Drew was paid roughly another $5 million for -.6 WAR. In 2015 Drew made another $5 million for .4 WAR, and this year Starlin Castro is being paid roughly $10 million (average of his salary over 2016 - 2020) to put up what will come to about .9 WAR, – that’s a total of $25.5 million for 1.6 WAR, which comes to just under $16 million per WAR. And that’s to say nothing of Jose Pirela and Gregorio Petit whom the Yankees paid the league minimum to combine for -1 WAR between 2014 and 2015. So over the first three years, the Yankees will have shelled out about a third of the cash for about about a tenth of the production.

What did the Yankees do with the money they saved on Cano? Well, they signed Masahiro Tanaka for $155 million over 7 years, Jacoby Ellsbury for $153 million over 7 years, Brian McCann for $85 million over 5 years, and Carlos Beltran for $45 million over 3 years. Tanaka is on pace to have been paid $66.4 million for about 11 WAR, Ellsbury $65.5 million for 8 WAR, McCann $51 million for 6 WAR, and Beltran, before he was shipped off to Texas, $41.25 million for 2.5 WAR, for a grand total of $225 million for 27.5 WAR, or about $8 million per WAR. It’s not a disaster, but it ain’t $4.5 million per WAR.

When you factor in Cano’s durability (since 2007 he’s missed fewer games – 26 – than Stephen Drew missed in 2015, the stability of not having to go 2B shopping every 9 months, the t-shirt and jersey sales, and all the other things that are tough to quantify, it’s pretty clear the Mariners are the winners thus far. And given that Cano is going to have a higher WAR this year than Beltran, McCann and Ellsbury combined, it’s likely the Yankees will be the ones filled with regret come the end of Cano’s contract.

Last night, Cano went 3-for-4, scored 2 runs and threw to first for the final out of the game as the Mariners came out on top 7-5 against the Yankees. The M’s are now 67-57, and are now just a game behind Baltimore for the second Wild Card berth, while the Yanks dropped to 63-61, 5 games behind B’more.

Watch the New York Yankees vs. the Seattle Mariners at 10pm ET Tuesday on ESPN by subscribing to the Sling Orange.

Here’s the action from the FOX Sports regional networks across the land:

Los Angeles Angels (Skaggs 1-2, 5.19) at Toronto Blue Jays (Dickey 8-13, 4.51)
7:07pm ET on FOX Sports West

Boston Red Sox (Buchholz 4-9, 5.42) at Tampa Bay Rays (Archer 7-16, 4.18)
7:10pm ET on Fox Sports Sun

Kansas City Royals (Ventura 8-9, 4.46) at Miami Marlins (Cashner 4-9, 4.92)
7:10pm ET on FOX Sports Florida & FOX Sports Kansas City

Texas Rangers (Holland 5-5, 5.20) at Cincinnati Reds (Straily 9-6, 3.72)
7:10pm ET on FOX Sports Cincinnati & FOX Sports Southwest

Colorado Rockies (Gray 8-6, 4.69) at Milwaukee Brewers (Anderson 7-10, 4.97)
8:10pm ET on FOX Sports Wisconsin

Detroit Tigers (Sanchez 6-12, 5.94) at Minnesota Twins (Gibson 5-7, 4.90)
8:10pm ET on FOX Sports Detroit & FOX Sports North

New York Mets (Niese 8-7, 5.30) at St. Louis Cardinals (Garcia 10-8, 4.11)
8:15pm ET on FOX Sports Midwest

Atlanta Braves (Whalen 1-2, 5.73) at Arizona Diamondbacks (Bradley 4-8, 5.04)
9:40pm ET on FOX Sports Arizona & FOX Sports Southeast

Cleveland Indians (Salazar 11-4, 3.57) at Oakland Athletics (Manaea 4-8, 4.73)
10:05pm ET on SportsTime Ohio

Chicago Cubs (Arrieta 15-5, 2.75) at San Diego Padres (Friedrich 4-9, 4.69)
10:10pm ET on FOX Sports San Diego

New York Yankees (Sabathia 7-10, 4.49) at Seattle Mariners (Walker 4-7, 4.10)
10:10pm ET on YES

Watch baseball on FOX and FOX Sports Regional Networks by subscribing to the Sling Blue.

All stats courtesy of ESPN and Baseball Reference

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