This is a very tough decision for the Yankees involving a very good and popular player. Letting Cano go at a time when the rest of the team is aging and there is limited promise in the farm system would make it hard for the Yankees to contend in 2014 and 2015. Keeping him would ensure that the latest cycle of Yankee dysfunction, overpaying for aging stars, will continue unabated while other teams are getting smarter in this regard.
Cano’s place among Yankee second baseman is framed by the same question the Yankees will have to ask after 2013: whether or not Cano will, by that time, be in the decline phase of his career. If Cano can hit the way he did in 2009-2011 between 2012-2015, he will, assuming he stays with the Yankees, have a strong claim on being the greatest Yankee second baseman ever, with more games at the position than any other Yankee and offensive numbers comparable to Lazzeri and Gordon. There is, of course, no guarantee that Cano can achieve this. If he begins his decline after 2013 or 2014, he will probably be remembered as only the third greatest Yankee at his position; and the Yankees will find themselves with a contract that will be very tough to move.
The question of whether or not Posada is one of the twenty greatest Yankees will have to be left to future, and longer, subway rides, but his place in the top 25 is reasonably secure. The same ambiguity around Posada’s place in Yankee history will probably surround his Hall of Fame candidacy, but there is no ambiguity around his role in the last four Yankee championships. If game five of the LDS was indeed Posada’s last game, he will be missed by all Yankee fans, whether hunched over their computers looking at numbers or cursing A-Rod while semi-conscious on the subway.