Robinson Cano has signed a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Seattle Mariners. Cano spent nine seasons with the New York Yankees.
I don’t see how this is going to work.
This move reeks of desperation for both parties. I’m sure Cano would have rather played in New York or Los Angeles, but only Seattle was willing to offer him and Jay-Z north of $200 million. As for the Mariners, they have had four consecutive losing seasons and have finished under .500 six out of the last seven years. Lloyd McClendon becomes their seventh manager since 2007. Their attendance has declined in half since the Mariners won 116 games in 2001. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik is in the hot seat and needed to make a move, a very big move.
Cano is certainly one of the premier players in MLB. He has hit .300 or better in seven of his nine big league seasons and has had 100 or more RBIs three of the last four years. He is also a two time Gold Glover at second base.
The Mariners do have two solid starting pitchers in Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwamura. Their offense is another story. They hit .237 in 2013 and aside from Kyle Seager and Justin Smoak, the Mariners don’t have much protection for Robby in the lineup. Safeco Field is also a lot bigger than Yankee Stadium. Cano will still hit .300 but he’ll be lucky to hit 20 home runs a season.
While it is possible the Mariners could make other moves, I suspect that they have put all their eggs into one basket. If a team is going to spend $240 million then I believe it is better spent on five or six quality players rather than one superstar. The Red Sox would never have won the World Series without the likes of Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Mike Carp and Koji Uehara.
These long term contracts don’t really mean anything anymore. Prince Fielder signed a nine-year contract with the Detroit Tigers prior to the 2012 season. Yet after two seasons, the Tigers dealt Fielder to Texas and let’s remember the Tigers are a perennial contender. If Seattle can’t compete against Texas and Oakland in the AL West in the next couple of years then look for the Mariners to look for a buyer.
So who plays second base for the Yankees in 2014? The Yankees just signed Kelly Johnson to a one-year deal. Johnson is an experienced second baseman and has some pop in his bat. He hit 16 HR with the Rays in 2013 and 16 HR with the Blue Jays in 2012. But there’s a good chance Johnson could spend a lot of time at third base next year if A-Rod’s 211-game suspension is upheld. Could the Yankees try to acquire four-time Gold Glove second baseman Brandon Phillips from the Cincinnati Reds? Of course, what do the Yankees have to offer the Reds? Their minor league system is nearly barren. Although I’m sure the Reds could probably use Brett Gardner and Ivan Nova.
While Cano is moving from the East to West Coast, former teammate Curtis Granderson is moving from the Bronx to Queens. The Grandy Man has signed a four-year, $60 million contract with the New York Mets. Granderson missed 100 games in 2013 due to a broken right forearm and later a broken knuckle on his left pinkie finger. I’m not sure if Granderson will hit 30 HRs in Citi Field, but he should be a positive influence in the Mets clubhouse.
As for Robinson Cano, he will put up good numbers with the Mariners. But it remains to be seen if the Mariners will be any better with Cano in the lineup.
UPDATE: Hours after saying goodbye to Cano and Granderson, the Yankees said hello to Carlos Beltran, signing him to a 3-year, $45 million contract. Beltran spent the past two seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and played in his first World Series this season. The 36-year-old outfielder is no stranger to New York, playing with the Mets between 2005 and the middle of the 2011 season. The departure of Cano and Granderson not to mention the retirement of Mariano Rivera is offset by the additions of Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, and now Beltran.