Derek Jeter understands why Robinson Cano left, since it's the same reason Jeter stayed in New York
"I learned a long time ago I'm not going to be surprised by anything. With Robbie, I played with him for nine years. He's the second baseman I've spent the longest time with, so I'm going to miss him a lot. We got pretty close throughout the years, but I understand it's a business. I wish him the best. Everyone knows how I feel about him as a player. I would've liked to have played with him longer, but it's a business and guys move on."
Of course, it makes sense that Jeter isn't surprised. After all, like Jeter said, it's a business. Cano went to Seattle for the same exact reason Jeter has stayed in New York all these years: The money.
There will be a lot of people, particularly Yankees fans, who will tell you that their beloved captain would never leave the Bronx for any amount of money, and that he's a team-first (and Yankees-first) type of player, but there's no evidence whatsoever to back that up. If anything, there's evidence that points to Jeter being as much about the money as anyone else.
Many Yankees fans criticized Cano after learning the news of him signing with Seattle, saying that he's a traitor (sometimes even a 'trader') and saying that his legacy will forever be tarnished by the fact that he won't stay in pinstripes for his whole career.
What these fans fail to realize is that when all is said and done, Robinson Cano will go down as one of the best second basemen of all time, regardless of his laundry. He's already the greatest Yankees second baseman of all time, and had nothing else to prove in the Bronx.
In order for Yankees teams to properly evaluate what Cano did, they need to evaluate what many of the their own players did, when given the chance to decide where they would play. Did they choose a team based on loyalty? Or did they take the contract that offered them the most possible money?
Jorge Posada: Took the money.
Andy Pettitte: Took the money (both in Houston and NY)
Derek Jeter: Took the money.
Jason Giambi: Took the money.
Mike Mussina: Took the money.
Mark Teixeira: Took the money.
C.C. Sabathia: Took the money.
AJ Burnett: Took the money.
Alex Rodriguez: Took the money.
Hiroki Kuroda: Took the money.
Jacoby Ellsbury: Took the money.
Brian McCann: Took the money.
Carlos Beltran: Took the money.
And what did Robinson Cano do? He took the money.
What's the difference between Cano and the rest of those guys? The difference is this: The Yankees decided every time that they had no problem shelling out millions of dollars over market value to secure the services of all of those guys. When the time came to do the same for Cano, they changed their strategy and decided that they no longer were willing to pay a premium for the best second baseman in baseball.
Derek Jeter is the most revered player in recent Yankees history, but does anyone remember what happened when he actually hit free agency? At the end of the 2010 season, he actually spent about the same amount of time in free agency as Cano, taking until December 6 to decide that he'd take the Yankees' EXTREMELY generous offer of 3 years and $51 million.
Why did Jeter accept the Yankees' offer? Was it because he cherished the history, tradition and legacy of the New York Yankees? Nope. Jeter took that offer because it was by far the best offer on the table, and no other team was willing to shell out anywhere near that much for Jeter's services as a mercenary. He tested free agency, realized the Yankees were where the money is, and he stayed for that very reason.
How's that any different than what Cano did? Answer: It's not. Not even a little bit. Jeter and Cano (and everyone else the Yankees signed) did the same exact thing. Except this time, the Yankees weren't the team willing to shell out the cash.
Jeter understands it. Why don't you?