Yankees wise to let Robbie Cano go

So the Yankees probably dodged a lethal bullet in not trying to match the Mariners' offer, even if it does remove their best hitter from the lineup for now.

But the fact is, they'll probably survive this blow, for a number of reasons. For one, the money they are saving on Cano can now be applied toward adding another power bat, maybe Shin-Soo Choo or Carlos Beltran, and another starting pitcher.

In fact, the Yankees can say that on balance, they had a good Friday because Hiroki Kuroda, their ace for five months of the 2013 season until his September fade, had agreed to return for another year.

And assuming MLB and the Nippon Baseball League come to an agreement on new rules for the posting system, they will be all-in for Masahiro Tanaka, should he become available.

Plus, Ervin Santana, Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez, all viable short-term solutions, are still on the board, and Michael Pineda, more than a year removed from shoulder surgery, will be in camp competing for a spot in the rotation.

Those are the players who are likely to have more of an impact on the 2014 Yankees than Cano would have had. After all, Cano had an outstanding 2013 season -- .314-27-107 and an .899 OPS with virtually no protection in the lineup -- and the Yankees still finished only four wins above mediocrity and out of the playoffs for only the second time in nearly two decades.

Besides, even if the Yankees don't pursue a high-profile second baseman to replace Cano -- free agent Omar Infante and the Cincinnati Reds' Brandon Phillips, signed through 2017, have been mentioned as possible targets -- they can at least start the season with a veteran, Kelly Johnson, at second. Johnson is a left-handed hitter who hit 16 home runs last year and should benefit, as Cano did, from the lefty-friendly dimensions of Yankee Stadium.

The bottom line is, both sides did well for themselves here. Even if he didn't get the $300 million he had reportedly been asking for, Cano got his 10-year deal and a contract the equivalent of Albert Pujols', which is the third-most lucrative in baseball history.

And the Yankees both avoided the trap of another anchor of a contract, and freed up some resources to attend to the numerous and very real needs of their aging roster.

To paraphrase Jay Z, who is said to have masterminded Cano's deal with the Mariners, the Yankees may have had 99 problems, but now Cano ain't one of them.

Now they can attend to the 98 that remain.

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