10 years for Cano is bad enough, now the M’s must find some good hitters to surround him.

Terry Mosher 3


Terry Mosher

Count me among the few that think the Seattle Mariners’ signing of Robinson Cano for a reported $240 million over 10 years is dumb and dumber. The Mariners can spend their money any which way they want, so I have no qualms about that. I just think it’s dumb, and here is why.

Robinson Cano

Robinson Cano


The six-foot tall Cano is one of the top position players in the game of baseball today. I don’t think there is a lot of argument about that. He’s right there with guys like Mike Trout (LA Angels), Miguel Cabrera (Detroit), Paul Goldsmith (Arizona), Andrew McCutchen (Pirates), Joey Votto (Cincinnati) and a few others, including Dave Ortiz (Boston) who is moving toward 40 and is in decline.

My point, though, is not to rank them. It’s to look at it through a common sense lens. Cano is 31 years old, which means at the end of his contract he will be 41 and way past his prime unless he can start taking PEDs as guys like Barry Bonds allegedly did and somehow mask them so they go undetected by MLB tests. Then he might be gangbusters just like Bonds suddenly became in his mid-30s.

I have also read that Cano is extremely friendly with the nightclubs in New York City and other major cities. If he is a night-lifer that doesn’t bode well for him or the Mariners.  The great Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle got by playing with a severe case of hangovers – he was once asked how he managed to hit so well in that condition and he said he just picked out the middle pitch of the blurry three he saw – but he declined over his last four years and it probably was because of his partying ways, He last played at the age of 36 in 1968.

In addition, the peak year of athletes, especially baseball players who play a 162-schedule on top of six weeks of spring training and the post season, is 32.  A player who reaches his 30s and works extremely hard in the off-season to stay in shape and doesn’t do a lot of partying may be able to play to 40, as Big Pap (Ortiz), has done, being named the 2013 World Series MVP.

So I question whether Cano is a good risk. I think not. But since he is here the question is mute. However, Cano alone can’t carry the M’s to newfound heights. If I’m the opposing manager I work around him in the batting order. Why would I pitch to him when I can pitch to Mr. Magoo? I wouldn’t.

That means the suddenly under-fire-from-the-press Jack Zduriencik, general manager of the M’s, has to be looking for some additional Superman hitters to act as bookends around Cano. I know the Rangers are looking at Shin-Soo Choo, and he would be a good catch for a team like the M’s who suddenly are opening the pocket book (thanks to some long term contracts off the books and fresh TV money now that the franchise has purchased Root Sports).

Nelson Cruz is a hitter who the M’s appear to be pursuing. A trade for the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp also has been rumored. At any rate, you have to have more than Kyle Seager in front or behind Cano in the lineup.

As for pitching, I’m glad to read that Jack Z says he will not trade Taijuan Walker. There had been rumors he would be included in a trade. That would be a big mistake. That kid can pitch.

I’m not surprised by the story written by Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that basically said the M’s are a dysfunctional franchise in terms of the baseball side of things. I know that when Howard Lincoln came aboard as team CEO a strain developed with then manager Lou Piniella, who is the ultimate competitor and a man whose competitive juices can not be described with mere words. You have to be around him to understand how strong he stands even when the sands shift underneath him. He always believes he will beat you no matter how bad the sands shift against him.

Lincoln arrived in 1999 and Piniella left three years later to manager in his hometown with the Tampa Bay Rays. Two strong jawed men in the same territory just could not exist, and the man lowest on the totem pole was Piniella.

Since Lincoln arrived, the value of the franchise has zoomed up toward a $1 billion. He has been good for the franchise from a business standpoint. But the baseball side? Not so much.

I believe managerial hires since Piniella have been, and are, men who while good baseball people, are not anything resembling Piniella. They are there to take orders and do what they are told. Piniella probably right now is in his favorite hangout in Tampa swishing his whiskey glass and smiling at the absurdity of it, and thankful he is not in Seattle.

It appears Jack Z is good at following orders, and if the Baker Report can be believed, is also good at pushing off the blame on underlings.  Time will tell whether Jack Z survives for another year, but It would appear to me that he better finish the job he started with Cano and build a powerful lineup around him or this team might be as bad as the rest of them in recent years.

And pray that he doesn’t give up some of that good young pitching to achieve it.