As much as we love baseball's post-season, thoughts are already starting to drift to the off-season, the trades and the free agent signings and seing how teams will revamp or reload or rebuilt for a run next season.
With rightfielder Hunter Pence resigning with the Giants for five years and $90 million, one can only imagine what someone like Yankees star second baseman Robby Cano could get on the free agent market.
It was floated by someone in Cano's camp that he wants $305 million over 10 years. It seems like an outrageous amount for a soon-to-be 31-year-old middle infielder. Still, Cano's timing couldn't be better with Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte retiring, Derek Jeter in injury limbo, and Alex Rodriguez possibly to be suspended for all of next season.
Personally, I believe the Yankees will find a way to sign Cano and keep him a career Yankee but it's not hard to see a few other well-heeled teams getting in on the bidding.
The Dodgers, who've been spending money hand over fist, could sign Cano and give themselves the best offensive double play combination in the Majors along with their shortstop Hanley Ramirez. It would also solidify their hold on the L.A.-Anaheim market.
The Giants have already shown they will spend money with the Pence contract. On top of that, they could use some more star power in their line-up after dropping from 94 wins a year ago and their second World Series title in three years to just 76 wins this year and a fourth place finish in the NL West.
In the American League, another potential suitor is the Rangers. They're still looking for that elusive first World Series title after losing in agonizing style in 2010 and 2011. Signing Cano would keep their "window of opportunity" which appeared to be closing, open for a few more seasons.
The most intriguing possibility would be if Cano simply moved from the Bronx to Queen's and signed with the Mets. That move could turn New York into a Mets town for at least a couple of seasons until the Yankees retool.
That last option isn't likely to happen, even though Mets GM Sandy Alderson has said his club is hoping to make a big splash on the free agent market in the off-season. It's almost as though there is a gentleman's agreement between the two franchises not to steal each other's players, especially the stars.
The most famous Yankee to leave the pinstripes to play for the Mets is a bit of a trick question. Yogi Berra did indeed play four games with the Mets at the tail end of his career, but then became their manager.
Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden and David Cone all started with the Mets and went on to play with the Yankees. However, all three took circuitous routes and played with other organizations first.
If Cano somehow choses to leave the Yankees, my bet is he lands with Texas. He would stay in a familiar league and would be in a weaker division with a greater chance of adding to his World Series victory total.
One caution flag for would-be Cano suitors. In 11 career post-season series, he's just a .222 hitter with eight homers and 33 runs batted in.
Crunching The Numbers
The Blue Jays finished this season with just 74 victories, albeit one more than a year ago. To just reach the level of Tampa Bay and Texas, the two teams involved in the play-in game, the Blue Jays would have needed 17 more victories to reach the total of 91.
Then consider this, from last season to this, only two teams in the Majors upped their victory total by that amount or more. Boston rose from 69 wins a year ago to 97 this year, a gain of 28 wins while Cleveland climbed from 68 to 92, or plus 24.
In the National League, Pittsburgh was the only team with a double digit increase in victories from 2012 to 2013 at 15. I'm not saying the Blue Jays can't turn it around next season, only that it will not be easy.
The Dodgers National League pennant hopes have taken a bit of a hit at the worst possible time. Matt Kemp is done for the year with a swollen ankle and their other top option in centre field, Andre Ethier is out indefinitely as well with an ankle injury of his own. Ethier likely won't know until next week if there is any hope of him playing in the playoffs at all. It looks as though utilityman Skip Schumaker will be force-fed into centre for Don Mattingly's crew.
My picks are Texas and Pittsburgh to emerge from the play-in and Wild Cards frays over the next couple of days.