Just a few days ago Matt wrote extensively about the second base dilemma for the Seattle Mariners. He proposed a number of viable and plausible solutions, one of which the M’s will likely go with.
But for the sake of argument, and because I think it would be awesome, I propose another solution:
The Mariners should sign Robinson Cano.
This idea may seem like it is coming out of left field, but it isn’t. It’s coming from second base… I apologize for just writing that. But earlier today I was reading the first offseason Hot Stove article by Tim Kurkjian on ESPN. It was about the ten hottest offseason stories in the MLB.
One of them was of course about Alex Rodriguez, another about Brian McCann and his possible landing spots (though unfortunately the Mariners weren’t named as one). But the hottest story of the offseason, in Tim’s opinion, will be how much “dough for Cano?”
He wrote, and I quote: “the Yankees have to re-sign him; they have no choice. And, it appears, there isn’t a strong second team out there that needs him so much to give him $200 million.”
If you recall, the Mariners just signed a new TV deal this offseason that will net roughly “$2 billion over 20 years.” That amounts to tens of millions of dollars more each season to be spent on free agents and re-signings.
So why not sign Robinson Cano? As Kurkjian wrote, there doesn’t seem to be another team that is vying hard for his services. The Mariners could be that team– and if in the end they don’t end up signing Cano, they can at least drive up the price for the Yankees and give us more things to speculate about over the offseason.
Cano would solve the second base dilemma because, let’s face it, he is one of the best defensive and offensive second basemen in baseball.
His career and season numbers are something to write home about. His 2013 triple slash was .314/.383/.516, giving him a .899 OPS. Those numbers would be far and above team leaders for the Mariners. His career numbers are equally consistent and drool-worthy: .309/.355/.504. He had 27 home runs on the season and 204 in his career. 27 dingers would have been second best on this years Mariners, because Raul Ibañez went all Benjamin Button on Major League Baseball.
If the Mariners signed Robinson Cano second base would be a non-issue for at the very least the next six seasons. This would allow the Mariners to lock Dustin Ackley into the left fielder role, or he could remain in centerfield as well. What’s more, the signing of Cano would open wide the possibilities for Nick Franklin, whether that is a trade for Giancarlo Stanton, or a trade for Ryan Braun, or a season as the utility infield backup, or something we haven’t yet considered.
Regardless, Cano would do wonders for this team. He would anchor a potentially strong defensive infield, while providing a sure-fire approach behind the dish. He would surely get fans out to Safeco Field to watch him play, and he would sell plenty of merchandise.
But he wouldn’t come cheap. Reports say Cano wants $304 million. That isn’t going to happen. IF the Yankees got zero competition for his services, he would like get a 7 yr/$175 million or an 8 yr/$195 million.
The Mariners can pay him though. Something like 8 yr/$200 million with millions in incentives is a lot to invest but it would also yield a sizable return. He and King Felix Hernandez would be the rocks that this young core of players cling to, and grow with, over the next season or two. Then the Mariners would be poised to contend with regularity.
If the Mariners were willing to pay Josh Hamilton $125 million with his checkered track record, they ought to be willing to give Cano the dough he deserves and get him to play in the Pacific North West.
Just think how cool it would be to have King Felix and Robbie Cano don’t-cha-know on the same team. For the rest of the decade.
That sounds like good old fashioned baseball fun, and we all want baseball fun in Seattle again. That second base dilemma- a serious concern for the Mariners- would not be.
Give him the money to play in Seattle, and legitimize this organizations desire to bring championships to Seattle.