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Report: Robinson Cano Agrees to Deal with Mariners

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Cano has agreed to a 10-year contract worth $240 million to play in Seattle, leaving the Yankees.

Report: Robinson Cano Agrees to Deal with Mariners

As of this morning, Robinson Cano is no longer the second baseman for the New York Yankees. According to reports, Cano has agreed to a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Seattle Mariners. At that number, the contract ranks as the third-highest in MLB history and will keep Cano in Seattle until he is 41. That's a lot of money to be paying someone in their 40s when there is no idea whether or not he'll be able to produce at a high level, but the Mariners obviously aren't worried about that.

The Mariners only recently entered the picture. Cano and his representatives (including Jay-Z) met last night with Mariners' executives to discuss a potential deal. There were reports that talks hit a snag, but the sides clearly were able to move past whatever differences they had. The Yankees were never likely to come close to this kind of contract for Cano, especially after already handing out hefty contracts to Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury. It's a situation that looks eerily similar to what happened when they let Andy Pettitte walk back after the 2003 season after they had already gone out and signed guys like Jon Lieber. Pettitte ended up with the Houston Astros.

Contract numbers aside, the Mariners are getting themselves one of the best players in baseball who is right in the middle of his prime. Seattle hasn't seen much production from second base in recent years. Here's what the combined stats were at the position last season via Baseball Reference:

Here's what Cano did in comparison:

The M's are getting the best hitting second baseman in the American League (and arguably all of baseball). When he is on, there aren't many infielders as dangerous as Cano is. Cano has also been one of the more durable second baseman in the game, playing at least 159 games in each of the past seven seasons, At 31, he is still going to put up numbers like these for at least the next five years.

If the Mariners are able to retain someone like Kendrys Morales, their best hitter from last season, they would have a formidable duo to anchor the middle of the lineup. Filling out the rest of the order will be an entirely different proposition. Cano won't be offered much protection unless some of the young players like Justin Smoak, Nick Franklin (who was the incumbent 2B) and Jesus Montero start living up to their potential. If pitchers just start avoiding Cano and going after the rest of the lineup, he is liable to start becoming more impatient at the plate.

But if Cano can be the savior for the offense, he'll be able to improve an offense that was 22nd in R/G last year at just 3.85. That will be welcome news to starters Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma.

Cano is absolutely worth the money right now, but it's hard to imagine that he will be 10 years down the line. While his production has been pretty steady over the past four seasons (years where he's finished no lower than 6th in AL MVP voting), how will they be able to justify his contract in say six or even seven years when his production wanes? There is also no guarantee that the move will propel the roster as a whole, especially with the talent in the AL West. The A's don't appear to be going anywhere, the Rangers added Prince Fielder and the Angels are hoping to get any return on their big investments in Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. 

You can argue that the Mariners simply couldn't wait and do nothing while the rest of the division kept making moves. This is certainly a move that makes you at least think about Seattle, but for that length of time, it will likely end poorly in Seattle. That's why, although it is incredibly difficult to lose a homegrown player as good as Robinson Cano is, the Yankees were right to avoid giving him a 10-year contract. For a franchise that has made plenty of fiscal mistakes, making that kind of financial commitment would have been irresponsible. 

Robinson Cano in Seattle. Don'tcha know.

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