In one of the bigger surprises this offseason, the Seattle Mariners were the winners of the Robinson Cano sweepstakes, signing the superstar second baseman to a ten-year, $240 million contract as first reported by Enrique Rojas. The 31-year old Dominican was the top free agent in the market this offseason, and it was expected by many that he would re-sign with the New York Yankees, but it appears that the Mariners simply offered more years and dollars for his services--the Yankees reportedly did not offer Cano more than $200 million.
#Mariners and Cano agree. $240 million/10 years. Physical next monday in Seattle— Enrique Rojas/ESPN (@Enrique_Rojas1) December 6, 2013
Another former Yankee, Curtis Granderson, is leaving the division. The 32-year-old Granderson, who had three solid years with the Yankees between 2010-2012 before J.A. Happ and Cesar Ramos derailed his 2013 season, is moving across town to sign with the New York Mets according to Joel Sherman.
#Mets have a 4-yr agreement with Curtis Granderson, the Post has learned— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 6, 2013
Reportedly, Granderson will get $60 million for four years of service to the Mets. Granderson will miss the Yankee Stadium's right field stands, but he will still be a powerful threat behind David Wright in the lineup.
Back to Robinson Cano, although some Blue Jays fans (author included) held a tiny hope that he would be donning a Blue Jays uniform in 2014, it is perhaps good news--at least in the short run--he and Granderson are out of the Yankees lineup and out of the A.L. East. Despite signing Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann, not having to pay for Robinson Cano means that the Yankees might be able to fly under the $189 million luxury tax threshold this season, unless they sign someone like Shin-Soo Choo and Alex Rodriguez's 2014 suspension gets upheld. Being under the $189 million mark in 2014 means that their luxury tax rates reset for 2015, going from 50% down to 17.5%. That, plus the two compensation draft picks the Yankees will receive in June 2014, benefits them going forward.
Of course, this is great news for the fans in Seattle. The Mariners' rotation is fronted by Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma and other teams would fear that combination, but who will surround Cano in the lineup? I don't know if I can see a legitimate "powerhouse" if Cano is surrounded by the likes of Dustin Ackley, Nick Franklin, Michael Saunders, and Justin Smoak like come Opening Day. I would hope that their front office has plans to make a few more additions to make a legitimate run in 2014--one, or both, of Ackley and Franklin would be moved.
A very, very, very, happy Scott Weber at Lookout Landing (we remember that feeling, right?) writes this:
It's crazy. It's irresponsible. It is without question an overpay in an attempt to change the culture surrounding the Seattle Mariners. And right now, I don't care. Robinson Cano is one of the best players in baseball, and he's now a Seattle Mariner. Before we get caught up in the financial implications, just enjoy that Seattle just landed a star without giving up any future ones of their own. Seattle is relevant. That's a beautiful thing.
Yes, it is a bit irresponsible, and there are certainly good examples of large, lengthy contracts that have not panned out well. However, we have also seen recent examples of teams being able to move big contracts--Vernon Wells, Adrian Gonzalez, and Prince Fielder being just a few examples. The Cano deal might not turn the Mariners into a postseason contender, but having both Cano and Hernandez locked in through 2020 is certainly making the team in the northwestern corner of the league, using Weber's words, relevant again. Hopefully that will get more local fans out to the games (although it means Vancouver fans should grab tickets to the Jays' series soon). They will likely need to move some of their future pieces to fill out the team, but I am very happy for them and even happier that Robinson Cano is out of the Jays' division.
In other news, the Rangers are reportedly working on a deal with J.P. Arencibia, who was recently non-tendered by the Blue Jays. After hearing the news, Arencibia stayed professional, commenting that the move was "part of the business" and that he "love[d] the fans who supported [him] through the years."