Well it’s October 31, and that means that in addition to being Halloween tonight at midnight marks the deadline for players and clubs to exercise option decisions. The Yankees were busy over the weekend, extending both Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano through the 2012 season. At the risk of sounding obvious and cliche, I’ll note that both of these extensions were no-brainers.
Cano is one of the best players in all of MLB, so his $14 million option for next season is a steal. The Yankees also have the option to extend Cano through 2013 for $15 million, which, barring injury, is still far less than Cano could demand on the open market. Overall, Cano’s 4 yr/$30M deal with 2012 and 2013 options is proving to be one of the best, most cost-effective contracts in recent Yankees history. Scott Boras will undoubtedly make sure that Cano gets a big pay day in 2014, but until then the Yankees will benefit from a significant discount on an MVP-caliber player.
Some would disagree that Swisher’s extension was such an easy decision, but I believe that for the price ($10.25M) extending Swisher was a great move. A few weeks ago I looked at Beltran and Cuddyer as possible replacements for Swisher in right field, so I’ll just give the gist of that analysis here. Basically, Beltran could have a very high upside if (and that’s a big if) he stays healthy. But for the money he would command and the 3 year deal Boras wanted for his 34-year old client, his contract could easily turn into a financial liability that the Yankees just don’t need. As for Cuddyer, while his career average is a bit higher than Swisher’s (.272 compared to .254), Swisher gets on base more often and has higher production numbers in terms of home runs and RBI. Couple all of this with the fact that Brian Cashman has ruled out putting Jesus Montero in right field and Swisher was clearly the best option for the price. After all, the Yankees could always include Swisher as a trade piece if the right deal comes along.
Overall I’m very happy with the Yankees’ decisions on extensions this year. Declining Damaso Marte‘s option a couple weeks ago was unsurprising, Swisher had a good upside for the money, and Cano is going to be one of the top players in MLB for years to come.