Who could have legitimately seen this coming? If you are a fan of the Seattle Mariners, did you really expect to sign Robinson Cano? I know I didn’t think they would. Think about it: for the past few offseasons, the Mariners have claimed to be major players for several of the top free agents: Prince Fielder, Josh Hamilton and finally Cano.
Of the three, they struck out on two before finally getting so desperate for a premier player that they offered Cano much, much more than the New York Yankees offered.
This isn’t the time to debate whether or not Cano will live up to his 10-year, $240 million deal. This is a time to look ahead to the upcoming season. The Mariners added a few players to go with Cano, including Corey Hart, Fernando Rodney and Logan Morrison. They are still in talks with Nelson Cruz and Kendrys Morales as well.
Despite adding Cano, unless the Mariners make another big move, they still won’t be contenders. They just don’t have enough talent around their star second baseman.
Cano was signed as an amateur free agent by the Yankees in 2001. His career is still relatively young, but he is definitely on track for the Hall of Fame. In nine seasons with the Bronx Bombers, Cano hit .309/.355/.504 with a 126 wRC+. His strikeouts are very low when comparing him to other sluggers around MLB. Of his 5,791 career plate appearances, only 11.9 percent of them ended in strike three.
His defense is looked at differently by different metrics. According to defensive runs saved, he is far above average with 23 career defensive runs saved above average. If you prefer looking at UZR and are a Cano fan, look away — he has a career -27.6 UZR at second base.
The Mariners, despite having to overpay both in years and money, have gotten themselves a legitimate MVP candidate for the first time since Ichiro Suzuki in his prime. Even though they aren’t likely to contend in 2014, they certainly have themselves in position to contend at some point in the upcoming seasons. Mariners fans should be excited.