After Robinson Cano made comments accusing the Yankees of disrespecting him in their negotiations during his introduction in Seattle on Thursday, the Yankees front office heads spoke out, as reported by Chad Jennings of the Lower Hudson Journal News.
Cano told reporters:
"I didn't feel respect [from the Yankees]. I didn't get respect from them and I didn't see any effort."
Cano's issue with the Yankees appears to be their refusal to go more than seven years and $175 million. He signed with the Seattle Mariners for $240 million over 10 years.
Robinson Cano was the Yankees best player by fWAR and rWAR from 2008 to 2013 and owner Hal Steinbrenner, team President Randy Levine and GM Brian Cashman all acknowledge his importance to the team in their statements.
"Robbie was a great Yankee. He's a great player and we wish him all the best. He's going to do great there and he's going to be a big part of that organization."
"First, let me say Robbie Cano was a great Yankee. In all my years, I thought Robbie Cano was a really good person and a good guy."
"I think Seattle and the Yankees both agree on the type of player that he is. He's a Hall of Fame caliber guy. He's having an amazing career that we were fortunate to have while we had him. But at the same time, business is business. Everybody has to make tough decisions, and sometimes those decisions can feel personal, but there's nothing personal about it. We all agree he's a tremendous player, he's a great person. We'd rather have him here than there.."
However, the team felt that anything greater than the seven-year, $175 million offer commitment would be too great a risk. Levine expressed that sentiment clearly:
"We just don't believe our policy is for players over 30 years old, we don't believe in 10-year contracts. They just have not worked out for us, they have not worked out - I believe - for the industry. When we signed Derek Jeter to a 10-year contract I believe he was 26. In that context it makes sense. If Mike Trout was here, I'd recommend the 10-year contract. But for people over 30, I don't believe it makes sense. I don't think Hal thinks it makes sense. We're very clear about that."
Both Steinbrenner and Levine expressed their belief that the team showed Cano respect in the negotiations.
"There was nothing disrespectful about the last offer that was on the table, which was $25 for seven. I'm not quite sure why he feels that way, but it is what it is. ... If I had to pick a word, I guess I would be able to pick surprised."
"We treated him with the utmost respect. We respect him to this day. We tried very hard to re-sign him. As I said the other day, we offered him $175 million for seven years, $25 million a year. If that's not trying hard, I don't know what trying hard is. To put it in context, an average annual value of $25 million, except for Alex Rodriguez and Justin Verlander, that's the highest average annual salary in baseball. At $175 million, that's right up there as one of the most lucrative contracts in all of baseball history."
While Cashman didn't suggest any disrespect on the Yankees part, he did at least acknowledge that Seattle may have shown him just a bit more respect where it matters most.
"Sometimes, the business of baseball can create some hard emotions I guess, but we loved Robbie and he's a great player. We made an offer that we were comfortable with making, and it fell far short of where Seattle was.
In terms of respect, they showed a lot more respect financially than we did."
These comments might not do much to ease Cano's brused ego, but at least one statement from the Yankee brass might have some lasting effect, though presumably not the effect that the organization would want. The inclusion of Mike Trout's name in Levine's comment above could result in the league looking into tampering by the Yankee president, according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times, though it appears unlikely at this point. Levine told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that he apologized to Angels' owner Art Moreno and he believes "the matter is over."