I wrote about Robinson Cano a few days ago, with the possibility that the Rangers could still be in play for his services, even after dealing second baseman Ian Kinsler, a signal that the time for Jurickson Profar at second base is finally here.
Today, we take a look at another possible suitor for Cano: the Seattle Mariners. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the Mariners are flush with cash. Their only long term contract commitment belongs to one of the best starting pitchers in the game-Felix Hernandez. After that, they control the salaries of every other player on their 25 man roster.
Which is a huge advantage for a team that wants to win, and has a plethora of young controllable players at the big league level now. Now is the time to bring in a few veteran hitters for a shot at competing for a playoff spot year in and year out. Felix Hernandez signed a long term deal in Seattle, and I am sure he wants to win. One would think he could have garnered a bigger contract if he became a free agent, but he signed a long term deal to stay in Seattle. Maybe they told him they were willing to spend to put a winner on the field once their young talent was big league ready?
So Olney wrote in his piece this morning that the Mariners could be the sleeper in the Robinson Cano talks. They have the money, and they own their own television network. Here is an excerpt from Olney's article this morning:
The Mariners have become a place to where veteran players don’t want to go, but the rival execs see that changing in a hurry, perhaps, because Seattle has enormous growth potential with its payroll -- monstrous growth potential, or, if you will, potential to become a baseball monster.
Felix Hernandez is signed through 2019. And…that’s it. They have no other long-term obligations after 2014. None. They are like a start-up company with loads of cash and talent and no debt.
The Mariners have told other clubs and agents that they intend to sign a No. 2-type starting pitcher this winter; there are four that possibly fit that description, with Masahiro Tanaka, Matt Garza, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez. They have indicated they will sign a closer, whether it be Brian Wilson or Fernando Rodney. They want to sign two power hitters, and maybe that’ll turn out to be Nelson Cruz and Kendrys Morales.
But, let's just say the Mariners want to go big, like the Nationals did a few years ago when they overpaid for Jayson Werth. That Werth contract told all of the future free agents in baseball, and 29 other teams in baseball, that the Nationals were serious about building a winner, through their farm system and free agency.
Overpaying for Robinson Cano's services would indicate to MLB that the Mariners were also serious about winning, about building a winner. They already have an ace at the top of their rotation, and an excellent #2 starting pitcher in Hisashi Iwakuma. They are looking for an established closer this offseason to anchor their bullpen as well. And, they are looking to add another #2 starting pitcher to add to King Felix and Iwakuma.
They seem serious about building a winner, and signing Robinson Cano, however expensive it will be, will tell the world they are ready to challenge for a playoff spot every year. Now is their chance to do so.
Olney also opined that Mariners have the resources to sign Cano and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury this offseason. Signing both of them, as a package, would be a huge sign that the Mariners are ready to go all in.
Could the Mariners be the surprise team that signs Robinson Cano this offseason, similar to how the Angels signed Albert Pujols two seasons ago? Like the Tigers signed Prince Fielder to that crazy 9 year, $214 million deal a few seasons ago? Could happen. It wouldn't the first time the Mariners made a big splash in free agency. I still remember my disgust when then Dodger Adrian Beltre signed with the Mariners after his monster 2004 season.
Let us know your thoughts in the poll and comments below.
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