“Yo Jeter, I just made $240MM! Let’s celebrate!”
The slew of recent transactions in the baseball world continued yesterday as two former Yankees, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson, signed with new teams. Cano inked a lucrative 10-year, $240MM deal with the Mariners while Granderson went next door to the Mets for $60MM over the next four years.
While these deals will definitely bolster the bank accounts of both players, they may not bolster their numbers. Yankee Stadium is one of the best ballparks to call home for a hitter, and the Mariners and Mets were among the lowest run scoring teams last year.
What kind of change in production should we expect and how should you value them in 2014? Keep reading to find out!
Also check out our analysis of other notable offseason transactions:
Moving from a hitter’s haven to a pitcher’s paradise will definitely have an effect on Cano in terms of power, and that’s evident by looking at his splits since New Yankee Stadium opened in 2009:
- Yankee Stadium: 79 HR in 1,648 PA (32.9 HR per 685 PA, his annual average over last 5 years)
- On the Road: 63 HR in 1,723 PA (25.1 HR per 685 PA)
- Safeco Field: 3 HR in 103 PA (small sample size alert, 20.0 HR per 685 PA)
While he obviously won’t play every game at home, he’ll now be stepping up to the plate in Seattle for about 300 at-bats, which means a slight drop in home runs can be expected. I would peg him for about 24 home runs next year.
In terms of run production, however, the drop may not be too bad
The Yankees 1-2 hitters averaged an OBP of just .326 last year and the Mariner’s projected 1-2 hitters combined, Kyle Seager and Dustin Ackley, have a career OBP of .320. In addition, Yankees 4-5 hitters slugged just .360 last year while the Mariner’s projected 4-5, Justin Smoak and Nick Franklin (who could still be traded since Cano has stolen his job), have a career .384 SLG. I predict that hitting third for a very weak Seattle lineup, Cano’s run production drops slightly and ends up with about 80 R and 90 RBI next year.
If you looked at Cano’s 2013 season with 80 R, 24 HR, and 90 RBI as opposed to the totals of 81 R, 24 HR, and 107 RBI that he actually put up, he would have ranked 23rd instead of 13th last year.
He’s still going to be solid no matter who he plays for, but I think that signing with Seattle bumps him down a few slots in my personal rankings. While before I would have taken Cano in the top five overall, he now slips to the bottom of the first round for me. He’s still one of the most consistent players in the game — he’s averaged 160 games played over the past seven seasons — so while his production will drop a little, Cano is still elite nonetheless. Don’t be afraid to grab him in the first round.
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