Contract Forecast: Robinson Cano

Contract Forecast: Robinson Cano
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Contract Forecast: Robinson Cano

With a contract set to expire after the 2013 season, Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano is quietly beginning to generate major buzz for what surely will be a historic middle-infielder contract. While we here at Spotrac Premium have been fortunate enough to project dozens of contracts in the past few years, we've never had a situation come forth quite like this one. In all of our other predictions, the focus was deep comparison and analysis between our player and variable players of his position.

While stepping through this progression with Cano, it became evident VERY early on that this approach just simply doesn't fit the bill. Cano may lineup at second base 160 games a year, but his value at the plate, in the lineup, and as a Yankee all catapult his status above all other middle-infielder company.

This left us with the difficult and somewhat objective decision to hand-pick our variable players to compare Cano to for purposes of logical forecasting. We've focused on elite, multi-facted position players who have signed maximum deals within a reasonable amount of time. Our premium team analyzes these recent signings, comparing financially and statistically just how Cano holds up - in order to forecast the terms of what his new deal could be.

Quick Points
  • In 2012 Cano's WAR (Wins Above Replacement) was an elite 8.5, 2nd only to Mike Trout (10.5)
  • In 2012 Cano led all 2B in G, R, H, 2B, HR, RBI, AVG, OBP, SLG, and OPS.
  • Cano has been awarded 4 All Star Appearance, 4 Silver Sluggers, and and Gold Glove
  • Cano placed 2nd in the 2005 Rookie of the Year voting - to Relief Pitcher Huston Street
Comparable Elite Position Players
Cano is an even 30 years old a target we used carefully in selecting our variables. We've located five position players who signed deals around this age, all with top contracts and statistical value in recent seasons. To determine a more likely starting point for our Cano numbers, we'll perform a linear regression of each contract breakdown listed below.
Player Length Value Avg. Salary Age When Signed
Ryan Braun 5 $105 million $21,000,000 28
Josh Hamilton 5 $125 million $25,000,000 30
Prince Fielder 9 $214 million $23,777,778 28
Miguel Cabrera 8 $152.3 million $19,037,500 25
Albert Pujols 10 $250 million $25,000,000 31
Averages, 7.4 $169,260,000 $22,763,055 28.4

Note: A linear regression is a formula that plots the provided points of data for Length and Value of the contracts, and then generates the best-fit line for those points, resulting in a "slope" value that translates to an average annual salary.

View the list of Top Average Paid Players in MLB

In order to account for the fact that Fielder, Cabrera, and Braun were younger than 30, and Pujols a year older we'll adjust the lengths of their above contracts to match his age. Once a linear regression is performed on these new numbers we're given the following terms to begin with:

Length Value Avg. Salary (slope)
8 $194,383,046 $24,297,881
Statistical Analyzations, Prime Percentage
Now let's analyze these players statistically in the two years prior to signing their second contract by showing Games, Hits, Runs, Home Runs, RBIS, Earned Run Average, and On Base Percentage.
Player Games Hits Runs HR RBI ERA OBP
Ryan Braun (2009-10, MIL) 157.5 107 195.5 28.5 108.5 .312 .375
Josh Hamilton (20011-12, TEX) 134.5 87.5 152.5 34 111 .291 .350
Prince Fielder (2010-11, MIL) 161.5 94.5 160.5 35 101.5 .280 .408
Miguel Cabrera (2007-08, FLA) 157.5 101.5 191.5 30 116.5 .329 .415
Albert Pujols (2010-11, STL) 153 110 175 39.5 108.5 .305 .390
Averages 152.8 100.1 175 33.4 109.2 .303 .387
Robinson Cano (2011-12, NYY) 160 104.5 192 31 106 .308 .364
% Difference 4.71% 4.40% 9.71% -7.19% -2.93% 1.52% -6.09%
Overall Prime % 0.59%
Are you surprised with the results? - We were. Cano's percentages even out to within less than a percent difference - meaning the combination of these players positives and negatives average out to the player that Cano is. It's clear that Cano deserves to be placed in this company in terms of negotiation and average salary.

We'll factor his slight Prime Percentage of 0.59%, into our previously determined base numbers.

Length of the Contract
At 30 and with an excellent track record of durability (160 games per year), Cano may attempt to push the envelope in terms of length of contract here. Our averages provide is with an 8 year deal to work with, so we'll stick with that (knowing far well that 10-12 years is a more likely target).

Value of the Contract
Our initial age-adjusted regression provided an average annual salary close to $24.3M, a figure that would place him 9th highest in MLB, and the top paid 2nd basemen by more than $8 million. By factoring in our 0.59% Prime Percentage figure to our original base value we're able to increase the terms to the following forecast:

Spotrac's Prediction: 8 years, $205,851,646

  •  Average annual salary: $25,731,456