Can U Cano? Or What Does Steamer Say About 2014 Value Targets?

Suppose Robinson Cano were one of the most cost-efficient ways to add WAR in the off-season . . . would you favor blowing the entire off-season budget on him?

Below is a table that compares some of the in-house and free agent position players that have been near the Mets radar this off-season. Starting with shortstops (we'll get to the OF and Cano in a minute) here's the chart:

Est 2014 Salary (AAV)

Steamer 2014 Projection fWAR/PAs

$/WAR based on Steamer

2013 fWAR

2 yr fWAR avg PAs

3 yr fWAR avg PAs

4 yr fWAR avg PAs

J Peralta I








J Peralta II




Stephen Drew

$13.25m est







Ruben Tejada








We immediately run into the limits of Steamer which only projects Peralta to get 401 PAs in 2014 because it can't tell the difference between injury and suspension. So I've listed him twice - his second listing extrapolates his fWAR up to 2.7 based on 600 PAs. This drops his $/fWAR from $7.2m to $4.9m. At that point he looks like a big bargain compared to Stephen Drew at the same AAV.

I also included our in-house option Ruben Tejada. Again Steamer only projects 96 PAs for Ruben but we need to know how he'd look at 600. (I know many of you think he'd look uglier than roadkill.) I doubt Steamer would extrapolate Ruben's 0.3 fWAR to 1.8 over 600 PAs. If they thought he was that good they'd have given him more PAs.

So we're left where we started - guessing. But look at the 3-year fWAR averages. Drew comes in at 1.6 vs. Ruben at 1.0 - an extra .6 fWAR for $12m. That doesn't mean Ruben will rebound but Drew is no lock at all to break 2.0 fWAR - both his 2 and 3 year averages are well below.

Now on to outfielders and Cano.

Est. 2014 AAV

Steaner 2014 projection fWAR/PA

$/fWAR based on Steamer

2013 fWAR

2 yr fWAR avg PAs

3 yr fWAR avg PAs

4 yr fWAR avg PAs

Chris Young








Shin-Soo Choo

$18m 5/$90m est.







Curtis Granderson

$15m est.







Carlos Beltran

$17m est.







Robinson Cano

$25m est.







Robinson Cano

$30m est.



We start with Chris Young who's a relatively cost-effective $5.6m/fWAR based on his Steamer projection. That's what a mid-level salary and slightly below average projection will do for you. At 5/$90m Choo is a reasonable $6m/fWAR for 2014, then Granderson comes in at $7.1m/fWAR and Beltran at $9.4m/fWAR.

Choo is no shock as his 3.0 fWAR projection dwarfs Beltran (1.8), Granderson (2.1) and Young (1.3). But if you buy those numbers (that's another discussion) then Young (1.3) compares very favorably w/Beltran (1.8). And when you look at the three and four year average fWARs he's never more than 1 fWAR behind any of the other three. Of this course all boils down to who you think is more likely to over/underperform their projection - as it always does.

So what about Robbie Cano? Well if Steamer is right he's either by far or by a little the best bargain of them all. Of course, that's because his projection of 5.4fWAR dwarfs everyone else. So can he hit that number? Well a look at his prior fWARS screams YES. He was 6.0 this past season and his two, three and four year averages range from 6.3-6.8.

Of course Cano is all about what you think will happen in the out-years. But shouldn't that also be the case with Choo? Choo's track record is much less consistent than Cano's and of course much less impressive even when it's good.

So if you want to add 5fWAR to the lineup these guys provide two choices - one of which is no longer on the table: Pair Perala with Choo and pay $31.5m for 5.7 projected fWAR or pay $25-30m for 5.4 projected fWAR from Cano.

There are three readily evident benefits to the Cano play:

  • He's cheaper on a per fWAR basis.
  • He's much more likely (to my eyes) to hit his target than both Peralta and Choo are of hitting theirs.
  • You have another position free (SS or RF) where you might pick up another 1-2 fWAR on the cheap.

Of course the downside is that you're putting all your dollars into one basket and an injury or rapid regression leaves you holding an uncooked omelet riddled with shell fragments.

So if the Yanks, as rumored, sign Beltran and pony up for Tanaka and find out ARod's only suspended for 50 games - is there an opening for an 8/$200m Cano deal? Maybe.

But how on earth do you get the Wilpons to pony up the dough? Well, if you a) really do believe in our young pipeline pitching and b) don't mind the risk of so much WAR in one basket then a $95m budget might get it done.

You have to trade both Ike ($3.5m-ish) and Murphy ($5.5m-ish) and dump Quintanilla, Turner & EY2 in favor of minimum wage guys. Based on reports let's assume you'd get back either Matt Joyce ($3.7m) or Aoki ($1.5m) for Ike and I'd guess either a good prospect or a big league 7th inning reliever for Murphy and the club looks like this:

1. Matt Joyce or Aoki ($3.7m or $1.5m) - 2. Chris Young $7.25m - 3. D Wright $20m - 4. Robinson Cano $25m - 5. Lucas Duda/Wilmer Flores $1.8m+$.5m - 6. Travis d'Arnaud $.5m - 7. Juan Lagares $.5m - 8. Ruben Tejada $1m

Jon Niese $5m - Zack Wheeler $.5m - Dillon Gee $3.4m - Jenrry Mejia $.5m - Rafael Montero/Jacob deGromm $.5m

Parnell $3.75m - Vic Black $.5m - Jeurys Familia $.5m

Turner/Quintanilla/Eric Young replacements $1.5m total

Tommy John Twins Hefner & Harvey $1m

That costs $77.4m to fill twenty slots which leaves $9.6m fill the final five spots if the overall budget is $87m. That's not really enough to even fill out the pen. But if you can push the overall budget to $95m total you've got $18m to fill the final five. That would be enough to build a decent pen, find a platoon mate for Joyce or maybe bring in a $7m starting pitcher if such a thing exists.

If you're Sandy, the pitch to the Wilpons is this:

Unless you're willing to front a LOT more money BEFORE attendance picks up the odds are you're not going to break out of this downward attendance spiral. The market will not allow me to get the upgrades we need given the irreversible salary increases that are now the baseline. It will take another 3 years to get the position player pipeline to look like the pitching pipeline does now but by then you'll be in a revenue death spiral that will force you to trade off Wright and Harvey.

And if I go out and trade for two of a RF, SS and SP we'll no longer have the young pitching we need so you've got two choices: hope I'm wrong and risk another decade of failure and declining revenues or give me an extra $8-$10m and roll the dice on Cano.

He could become the next Keith Hernandez-like cornerstone. Stealing him from the Yankees will create an overnight backpage buzz that dwarfs when you landed Johan Santana. That gives us a chance to sell tickets for this year even before we start winning again - unless you're willing to expand the budget by 20-30 million there's no other way to do that.

Yeah, his final 3 years might be a problem but our analysis shows there's a (makeup number here) percent chance that he will be creating $x million of surplus value over the first four years of the deal. That means we're selling tickets in 2014, likely winning more games in 2014 and with more tickets sold have enough cash to add one more big piece in twelve months. With Harvey's return, Cano, Wright and another piece next season - we'll be co-favorites for the division title.

Easy right?

This FanPost was contributed by a member of the community and was not subject to any vetting or approval process. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions, reasoning skills, or attention to grammar and usage rules held by the editors of this site.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Amazin' Avenue

You must be a member of Amazin' Avenue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Amazin' Avenue. You should read them.

Join Amazin' Avenue

You must be a member of Amazin' Avenue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Amazin' Avenue. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.