A trove of internal documents acquired by RJG show that the Yankees held extensive discussions about Cano's age prior to determining that a long term deal was not in their best interest. According to these documents, the Yankees questioned giving so many years to a player under the age of 35, pointing out that their current road map is based on the principle that a player's most productive years are between ages 37 and 43.
"Look," explained one Yankee official who insisted on anonymity in order to speak freely about internal strategy meetings, "when you look at our track record, we only like giving multi-year deals to players like Ichiro, or old Jeter. On the trade market, we generally go for older players with multiple years left on their contract like Wells and Soriano. We're not about to blow up our whole plan of having the oldest roster in baseball by doling out contracts to guys in their early thirties or late twenties. That's just not how we're built."
When it was pointed out that Brian McCann was signed to a multi-year deal at age 29, the official defended the consistency of the team's position.
"That's not fair. You have to understand that at McCann's weight, he's at least 36 in catcher years, which is a metric developed internally to ensure a consistent rate of passed balls from year to year. If there's one thing we don't like, it's change. And youthishness. Cano was youngish for a second baseman. McCann is in a different category."
Despite their average age, the Yankees have been remarkably consistent over the years, generally making the playoffs and entering most years as World Series contenders. Some, however, are wondering if the Yankees are currently reaching the limits of their approach to team building.
"The Yanks' decision making seems to be ruled by a lot of weird, old-timey values that don't make sense anymore," suggested one rival executive. "They like old vintage style ball players, like those videos from the 20s and 30s where the legs are moving really fast but the player is moving really slow. That's why they sign guys like Teixeira, or Posada. The fans don't help either. Their best hitter and defender doesn't run out a bunch of automatic outs and they get mad. The franchise responds but the team gets worse. Maybe it's time to play 2014 baseball and not 1927 baseball, even if that was Murderer's Row."