Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors writes that "Yankees 2B Robinson Cano's name comes up a lot (as trade bait), and NY will probably seek starting pitching in return (though a center fielder could also make sense). Cano won't necessarily be traded, but let's discuss some possible suitors."
One of the teams he mentions, among many, is the Pirates. He says "They might move Freddy Sanchez this winter. I could almost see Ian Snell being floated for Cano, but not Paul Maholm or Nate McLouth."
Hmmmm...Snell for Cano. Well, first Sanchez would have to go, and any deal would entail trading low on him after this season, though he did hit .348 for the last two months. Age and injuries will certainly drop his value.
But let's say for the sake of argument the suits are blowing up the team. Would that be a good deal for Pittsburgh to make?
According to the Elias ratings, as conjured up by Eddie at Tiger Thoughts blog, Snell is our top starter, just missing B status and tucked between Jason Marquis and David Bush. Pretty average ranking, overall. He scores 58 out of a possible 100.
Snell's worked 372-1/3 innings over the past two years, with a 16-24 record and 4.50 ERA. Nasty stuff, and he does eat some innings, but not very productively. Some think with his stuff and temperment that he should be a closer, not a starter, and his pitch counts would seem to agree even if his innings worked don't.
He'll be 27 at the end of October. Snell's contract is worth $8.6M through 2010, and the club has two option years after that, when the real money kicks in. His 2011 salary would be $6.75M and $9.25M in 2012.
Cano has put up a .289-33 HR-169 RBI-163 RS line in the past two years, and that's awfully solid for a middle infielder. His fielding average is .984, just about the league average, and his range is a little above average.
He'll turn 26 later this month, and has two arbitration years - 2009 and 2010 - left. Cano would fit nicely into that 2010-2011 window the Pirates are looking at now. He'd cost the team a big contract after that, though we think they'd try to tie him up at least into his first free agent year if they landed him. Cano made $3M in 2008.
Dealing Freddie would be a big PR hit for the Bucs, and losing Snell would take the guy with hands-down the best stuff on the club out of the rotation, and one who is under club control until 2012. And ya know what? We'd make the move in a New York minute. Would you?
Deaner wouldn't. For an alternate view of Cano, check out his links at Blue Collar Baseball.