Mariners Make the Splash They Needed, Sign Cano - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

  • Do you agree with the Mariners signing of Robinson Cano?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Yes, best move in team history
    32%
    37 votes
    No, they could have spent the money better
    68%
    80 votes

Mariners Make the Splash They Needed, Sign Cano

Updated:

10 years, 240 million dollars is a lot of money.

Make no mistake about it, the contract the Seattle Mariners just handed Robinson Cano is likely to be an albatross by the time it ends. Ten years puts the free agent slugger at 41-years old by the time the contract expires.

Now make no mistake about this: The Mariners had to make this move.

What was once a proud baseball town has wilted away and shifted its allegiance to football and soccer. Attendance at Safeco Field has plummeted from 3.4 million in 2002 to 1.7 million last season. Failed attempts at free agent signings, inept management/ownership and flat-out bad baseball have destroyed a fan base that in recent years has become a punching bag for jokes.

Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and countless other free agents have all spurned the Mariners in recent years despite big-time offers. Justin Upton was so disillusioned about playing for the Mariners that he invoked his no-trade clause to Seattle during the 2012 offseason.

The Mariners had to make a move – and now they have.

If the Mariners were inevitably going to throw a truckload of money at a free agent in order to make a statement, at least they did it with a superstar. In the past four seasons, Cano has averaged 6.35 wins above replacement (WAR), making him one of the best players in the game. If sabermetrics arena’t your thing, consider this: during that same span, he’s averaged a .312 batting average, 98 runs scored, 107 RBIs and 28 home runs per season. Tell me you wouldn’t take production close to that over the next several years? Not to mention, Cano has been as reliable as they come, having not played fewer than 159 games in any season since 2006.

By all accounts, this is just the beginning for the Mariners. Every plugged-in baseball reporter out there believes Cano was just the groundwork for all the other moves the Mariners will make this winter. But Cano was the big fish; the Mariners had to get him in to make them a more attractive option to others.

General Manager Jack Zduriencik knew coming into the offseason that he was on the hot seat. He had to make this team significantly better or he would likely be out of a job come this time next year. He almost certainly won’t stop with just one big splash. Desperate times call for desperate measures, but it remains to be seen if that desperation will lead to franchise-crippling moves.

Expect the Mariners to augment their roster between now and Spring Training. Plenty of viable free agent options exist and the Mariners have the trade chips to make other big moves. Nick Franklin is the most likely player to be traded now that his spot is occupied by the best second baseman in baseball. Top prospect Taijuan Walker is the team’s most tradable asset, though any deal involving the potential star pitcher will surely be difficult to stomach. David Price remains an option should Seattle decide to unload some of those top prospects, as do Matt Kemp, Billy Butler and others.

Cano’s signing with the Mariners was as much, or more, about restoring credibility. By signing the winter’s top free agent, the Mariners have finally restored that credibility to their own city, not to mention the rest of baseball.

The Mariners knew they had to do something drastic.

They did. And it appears to be just the beginning.

Buckle up, Mariners fans

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