The biggest free agent of this offseason, Robinson Cano, is now on the Seattle Mariners. It is hard to believe that the Mariners have signed Cano after their owner exploded and ended the meeting after Jay-Z, who was representing his first high profile baseball player, demanded a contract of 10 years and $252 million. The previous offer that the Mariners had on the table was an eight-year, $200 million deal with assurances that they would go up to nine years and $225 million.
The contract that he ended up signing with the Mariners is for 10 years and $240 million. This means that since last night and this morning they were able to negotiate one more year and $10 million less to settle on the current contract. This proves that the Mariners were all in on making a huge splash and signing their first impact free agent in about a decade. Free agent hitters have often spurned the Mariners because its location allows less marketing opportunities and Safeco Field, which is one of the best stadiums in baseball, gives pitchers the advantage because of its dimensions. The Mariners have also not made the playoffs since 2001. However, Cano obviously could not refuse that contract offer. He now has Jay-Z and CAA to handle his marketing.
The offer that the Yankees had given Cano was a seven-year deal worth between $165-$170 million. They are now proving that they care about getting below the $189 million luxury-tax threshold for next season while fielding a competitive team based on the signings of Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Kelly Johnson. Cano, who is 31, is the best hitting second baseman in baseball, has slugged more than 25 homers in each of the past four seasons and has been named to the All-Star team five times. He had also averaged an impressive 160 games played in the last five seasons, which the Yankees will hopefully be able to get out of Ellsbury. Cano was not worth bringing back for more than seven years.
It is hard to blame Cano for accepting $70 million more from the Mariners, but this proves that he values money much more than chance to win every single year. Jay-Z was able to seal the deal after it appeared that as of last night he might have been leading Cano to accept less money by causing the Mariners owner to “explode” last night. Cano was not worth giving a 10-year contract based on recent long-term ones that haven’t worked out.
The Yankees will now likely concentrate on signing Omar Infante who is now the best second baseman on the market. It has been reported that the Yankees have offered Infante an unknown contract as back-up for Cano, so now they obviously need to make the deal. Infante, who is 31, has played eight of his 14 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, is coming off a season where he hit 10 homers, drove in 51 runs and hit .318. He would be able to platoon with Johnson at second base. Johnson hit a combined 32 homers in the past two seasons.
The money saved from not giving Cano the contract that he wanted will be able to go to adding starting pitching, which is needed since they only have CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda, who had a 3.31 ERA last season after having an All-Star worthy first half of the season, will be returning on a one-year contract worth $16M. The deal was finalized on Thursday night. They also need another very reliable relief pitcher and a third baseman.
Providing that Kuroda does not suffer a drop off at age 39 and Sabathia bounces back from last season, the Yankees should be able to count on their top three starters.
Tonight’s game will be the first contest of a 10-game west coast trip that will go from Seattle, to Oakland and then to Anaheim.
The last time the Yankees faced the Seattle Mariners they lost two out of three games in the middle of May. The shocking part about that series loss is that the only game that the Yankees won was the game that Marines ace, Felix Hernandez, was pitching.
The Yankees have gone 9-9 since that series loss to the Mariners at Yankees Stadium. However, before this upcoming series in Seattle, the Yankees swept the Indians in The Bronx.
Seattle is coming into the series having lost three out of their last five games. They have allowed four runs or more in four of their last five games coming into this series. Since the Mariners have a 26-34 record, and are tied for third place with the Angels in the AL West, the Yankees need to take advantage of facing an inferior opponent. It will not be a successful series unless they can win three or four games.
Another reason that the Yankees should be able to win the series is that they are facing pitchers, besides King Felix, who are on the downside of their careers. The first three starters that they will face have had success (especially Harang and Saunders) with the Reds, Tigers, and Angels, but they are all struggling this season.
The offensive star so far for the Mariners has been Kendrys Morales. He has a .307 average, eight homers and 35 RBI. In 31 games, he has a .330 career average against Yankee pitching, so the Yankees will want to pitch around him at times.
In injury related news, it was announced that Derek Jeter is set to have his injured left ankle examined by Dr. Robert Anderson next week. After being examined, he will hopefully be able to increase his baseball activities.
Since CC Sabathia pitched in the final game against Cleveland, he will miss this series. Here are the pitching matchups for the series in The Emerald City.
Tonight at 10:10 p.m EST.
Phil Hughes (2-4, 5.27 ERA) vs. RHP Aaron Harang (2-5, 5.82 ERA)
Friday at 10:10 p.m. EST.
Hiroki Kuroda (6-4, 2.59 ERA) vs. RHP Jeremy Bonderman (0-1, 13.50 ERA)
Saturday at 4:10 p.m. EST.
Andy Pettitte (4-3, 4.17 ERA) vs. LHP Joe Saunders (4-5, 5.20 ERA)
Sunday at 4:10 p.m. EST.
David Phelps (4-3, 4.15 ERA vs. RHP Felix Hernandez (7-4, 2.58 ERA)