Mandatory Credit: John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
While Seattle Mariners fans are patiently waiting for the top brass to do something this offseason, one name that keeps popping up is that of Robinson Cano.
The 31-year old second baseman has indicated that he wants a 10-year $310 million deal. The Yankees are not prepared to offer Cano that kind of cash. I’m not sure the Mariners are either, but they could be in the hunt.
George A. King III of the New York Post recently wrote about the situation and how the perennial big spenders are already set at 2B, therefore the market for Cano could be diminished:
"The wild card in the picture could be Seattle, which has the finances to make a splash. But would Cano really go all the way to Seattle to play for a losing ballclub?And what about the marketing factor Cano said played a part in him leaving Scott Boras for Jay Z? There isn’t much money to be made in pitching coffee and bad baseball."
Not much money in pitching coffee? Tell that to Starbucks.
But that’s all beside the point. Why would Cano want to come to Seattle? Here are some reasons why it would work.
The Mariners could give Cano the money he wants
Cano wants $310 million. The Yankees are offering a 7-year deal worth $160 million. The two sides are apart by over $8 million a year and three years.
The Mariners could come in with a 10-year deal worth$270 million with incentives that could push it to the $310 he wants. The scary thing is, the Mariners would still have money to get other free agents.
If Seattle signed Cano at $27 million/year, they could still add Jacoby Ellsbury ($20M), Carlos Beltran ($14M), Matt Kemp via trade ($21M) or Nelson Cruz ($16M) along with Matt Garza ($14-$16M) a DH ($10-$12M) and some bullpen help ($8-$12M) and be around $115M for 2014’s payroll.
Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
We know the Mariners have money to spend. Not sure if they want to go that high, but they could. And those moves in addition to Cano would go a long way to convince Cano that he wouldn’t be coming over to a loser.
The Stadium isn’t a problem
Yes, the Mariners moved in the fences this past season. It was designed to generate more offense and it worked. The Mariners were 2nd in the majors in round-trippers in 2013.
One thing that people point to as a negative for Cano coming to Seattle is that playing 81 games in Safeco would diminish his power numbers.
According to ESPN.com’s Home Run Tracker, every one of Cano’s 27 homers in 2013 would have cleared the wall at Safeco.
Single season turnarounds aren’t impossible
Finally, for those who truly think Cano wouldn’t come to Seattle because of their recent struggles, I point to the 2012/2013 seasons of the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox.
Both teams had abysmal 2012 seasons (68-94 for Cleveland, 69-93 for Boston). In 2013, each team made some offseason acquisitions, hired a new manager and had dramatically different seasons in 2013 (92-70 for Cleveland, 97-65 and a World Series for Boston).
Insert an asterisk or something of course. Results may vary, see store for details, offer expires Dec, 31, 2013. So on and so forth. I am not in any way suggesting that if the M’s sign Cano and a handful of other free agents that they will go from 91 losses to 91 wins. But it is possible.
Maybe it’s a pipe dream, but think about what the lineup would look like in 2014:
- Jacoby Ellsbury (CF)
- Dustin Ackley (LF)
- Justin Smoak (1B)
- Robinson Cano (2B)
- Mike Napoli or Kendrys Morales (DH)
- Kyle Seager (3B)
- Mike Zunino (C)
- Abraham Almonte (RF)
- Brad Miller (SS)
I think a turnaround in 2014 would be certain. I think Cano knows it, his agents know it and that’s why I think Seattle has a shot.