The rumor mill keeps on spinning, and the Seattle Mariners keep coming up day after day. Robinson Cano is not a new name connected to the Mariners, but there seems to be a renewed sense that Jack Zduriencik might actually be making a push for the talented second baseman.
Zduriencik, of course, is playing his cards close to the vest. This is expected. He recently told ESPN:
We’ve talked to everybody. There’s not a free agent we haven’t talked to. We’ve cast a wide net.
That is GM-speak for “I’m not going to tell you anything. Go ahead and try to read between the lines.” Truthfully, Jack Z should not be more candid. Negotiation is all about playing hard-to-get.
I can’t help but feel like this is yet another misunderstanding between correlation and causation. The logic is that the Mariners are desperate for offense. Seattle has money to burn. The New York Yankees are saying that they are not going to meet Cano’s demands for a long-term deal. Ergo, the Mariners could leap into the fray and overpay just enough to put Cano in Safeco Field.
This obviously works in the minds of the fan-based GM, but it may not be happening in the real world of baseball. Certainly there is value in talking to Cano. That is Zduriencik’s job. He should talk to every free agent.
In addition, there may be no harm in discussing a few numbers. However, this is where the Mariners have to be smart. Maybe they are desperate for offense, but there should be a limit to desperation.
$200 million? Over the limit. A 10-year contract? Way over the limit.
Cano is obviously a talented player, but he is 31 years old. Offer him five years. Six, at the most. Is he going to hit .314 when he is 37 years old? Doubtful.
Also, the Mariners should not focus on the power. You sign Cano because he has a career .309 average and has been extremely durable over the last seven years. The Mariners need consistent baserunners, not more home runs.
Go ahead and be aggressive, Mariners. However, be careful. There is much room for error.