Mariners Land Robinson Cano – More Moves To Come
The Seattle Mariners stunned the baseball world by signing New York Yankees superstar Robinson Cano to a near record breaking 10-year/$240M contract. The contract represents the third highest contract in baseball history equaling Albert Pujols contract with the Los Angeles Angels. Alex Rodriguez owns the other two contracts at 10-years/$252M with the Texas Rangers and more recently 10-year/$275M with the New York Yankees.
Robinson Cano along with his agent Brodie Van Wagenen from the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and rap mogul Jay-Z from Roc Nation Sports traveled to Seattle on Thursday night.
The talks seemed to end on a sour note as the New York Daily News reported that Jay-Z may have overplayed his hand requesting a 10-year/$252M contract which caused Mariners President Howard Lincoln to become enraged.
After the New York Daily News report broke ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick said he had spoken to a source who said that the New York Daily News was “inaccurate” and that the “talks had been productive on all fronts.”
News that agreement had been reached between Cano and the Mariners was reported by Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com.
Why Robinson Cano?
Since 2010 the Seattle Mariners have won 61, 67, 75, and 71 games respectively. Their attendance has fallen from 2,195,533 (27,106 per game) in 2009 to 1,761,546 (21,747 per game) in 2013. The teams struggles can be traced to a woeful offense that has ranked below league average in OPS (on-base% + slugging%) each of the last four seasons. In 2013 they finished at .695 (10th out of 15th) and last in the AL in 2012 (.665), 2011 (.640), and 2010 (.637).
Over the past four seasons Cano has posted a slash line of .313/.373/.533 with 117 home runs and 428 RBI. In terms of wins above replacement (WAR) only Miguel Cabrera (27.3) has amassed more than Cano (25.4). He has only struck out 12.8% (354 strikeouts in 2,755 plate appearances) while walking 8% (221 walks in 2,755 plate appearances).
Finally, after chasing Prince Fielder and Josh Hamilton the organization landed the superstar that they had been chasing. Cano’s addition to the Mariners organization adds immediate credibility when it comes time to luring other free agents to the Northwest. He is not a star — he is a superstar and is the type of player that can change the fortunes of a franchise.
Where Did The Mariners Get the Money?
All teams receive a boost of approximately $26M dollars per year between 2014 and 2021 from new television contracts with Fox, TBS, and ESPN.
On top of the National Television Revenue the Mariners own a stake of a Regional Sports Network that pays them an estimated $2-billion over the next 17-seasons.
Are the Seattle Mariners Finished This Off-Season?
The Mariners are just getting warmed up. The Mariners were a dismal 71-91 last season and although the addition of Cano should boost an offense their are holes throughout the lineup. As noted the team finished 10th out of 15 American League teams in OPS but their starting pitchers struggled as well finishing 10th in the American League in ERA at 4.18 and innings pitched 460 innings.
The Mariners will look to add another complementary bat (Carlos Beltran, Kendrys Morales, Mike Napoli, Nelson Cruz, etc) to the lineup but their next big move may be to trade for Rays ace David Price. A rotation spearheaded by Felix Hernandez, David Price, and Hisashi Iwakuma would be quite formidable and second only to the Detroit Tigers rotation.
The Rays and Mariners align well as the Mariners have the prospects that an organization like the Rays covet. They will target a package that includes Taijuan Walker (a must in any deal) along with a handful of prospects that may include Mike Zunino, Nick Franklin, and Dustin Ackley.