Van Riper: Yankees should trade Robinson Cano and Mariano Rivera

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This is an, uh, interesting column by Tom Van Riper for Forbes.

But [Cano is] also 30, and heading to free agency next fall represented by Scott Boras, who will no doubt be looking for a deal that pays his client well over $100 million until his 40th birthday, give or take.

Even if Van Riper’s hypothetical Robinson Cano contract is for, say, $175 million, the average annual value ($17.5 million) would still be good for the Yankees. Dream bigger!

But because most clubs continue to overvalue closers against all the evidence (95% of all ninth inning leads result in victories, rendering a top closer a marginal contributor), the Yanks could probably get a nice haul of young talent by dangling Rivera to a contender.

Conventional wisdom says this will never happen, because public relations rules dictate that Rivera must retire a Yankee.

Mariano Rivera also has 10-5 rights, which makes things a bit more difficult.

April is going to be the hardest month for the Yankees. They’ll start getting players back from the disabled list in May and should be running on all cylinders by the time summer arrives. There really isn’t any reason for the Yankees to throw in the towel now. Even with the new and improved Blue Jays, the AL East is still very winnable.

The Giants might be ready to part ways with Hunter Pence

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Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.

The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.

Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.