So when does Ben Zobrist get his $300 million?

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

I suppose that $300 million and Robinson Canó will forever be linked in our minds, or at least until Canó's next contract (after this one), when he might actually get $300 million and it doesn't even seem like so much money.

But unless some MYSTERY TEAM jumps in, it sure doesn't look like he's getting $300 million this time around. Lots of good bits from Ken Rosenthal in here:

The Yankees, according to the New York Post, offered Cano a seven-year deal for about $165 million. The interest of other clubs is unclear, but two factors will work in Cano’s favor – the consistency of his performance, and the increase in each team’s annual national television revenue from $25 million to $52 million starting next season.

Cano, 31, leads all major leaguers in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) over the past five seasons, according to baseball-reference.com’s calculation of the measure.

He is fifth according to the Fangraphs version of WAR, behind Miguel Cabrera, Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist and Joey Votto, who also are in the top five according to baseball-reference, though not in that order.

Teams also value Cano for his durability; he has missed only 14 games in the past seven seasons. And while the Los Angeles Dodgers, another presumed bidder, have indicated they will not bid for Cano, the booming state of the industry might create openings for other clubs.

The next time someone tells you that baseball's in trouble because of national television ratings, feel free to mention that baseball's national television revenues are more than doubling. Seems relevant. (Or you can send them here.)

But yes, those new revenues are going to help Canó in his quest to become ever more wealthy. But it's not just the national revenues. While the Yankees don't have a new local deal kicking in next year, a lot of franchises will have new, much larger deals in the next few seasons. And that money's going to lift all boats, as teams are willing to spend not just the money they've got now, but the money they believe (with good reason) they're going to have.

Three cheers to Rosenthal for referencing Wins Above Replacement ... and referencing two versions! Which gives a better picture; that's why I'm endorsing a composite Wins+ when I write about these things. Or maybe I should just call my composite figure Wins+, invent a whole new metric. I'm sure that will catch on immediately never.

Just for fun, though, let's look at those top five over the last five years, composite Wins Above Replacement (Wins+!) ...

66 Miguel Cabrera
64 Robinson Canó
64 Evan Longoria
63 Ben Zobrist
60 Joey Votto

Leaving aside Joe Maddon's brilliance, if you're looking for the top two reasons for the Rays' consistent success, there they are. Here's another way to look at these five outstanding players, this time through the eyes of baseball writers ...

1673 Miguel Cabrera
745 Joey Votto
652 Robinson Canó
239 Evan Longoria
48 Ben Zobrist

Anyone care to guess what those numbers describe? Those numbers describe the support these players have received in Most Valuable Player balloting. I realize that Ben Zobrist's contributions aren't necessarily easy to see, and perhaps it's a sign of progress that he's won any points at all, and that he was actually an All-Star this year. But when I look at the attention given Ben Zobrist by the people who are well-paid to give attention to players as good as Ben Zobrist, I wonder if there's still some progress to be made.

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