The Robinson Cano era has begun, and the Seattle Mariners have to be excited…mostly. Signing a big star to a lucrative contract is a double-edged sword. Stars have abilities, but they also have opinions. And ideas.
Cano is in uniform and on the field at spring training. As you might expect, he has been asked his opinion on various subjects. One of them is lineup protection.
Among other things, Cano had this to say:
“I wish we had Nelson here, but we’ve got a front office,” Cano said. “They know what they have to do, and they can decide. It’s out of my hands. I know Nelson. He’s a great guy, and we all know what he can do with his bat.”
Hmmm…is that a demand? A suggestion? A not-so-subtle hint to Jack Zduriencik?
We do tend to jump on these comments and treat them as if Cano chased down reporters and said, “Hey, I have something to say…and here it is!” He was asked a question, and he answered it.
You can read between the lines and come to the conclusion that Cano is not necessarily sold on his supporting cast. Can you blame him?
After all, Cano does not have a great supporting cast.
If he did, he would have said something about the great bats that will be surrounding him. He wouldn’t mention Cruz’s name. Granted, people probably don’t expect him to make such a statement, even if it were a franchise-supporting thing to say. Truthfully, it would be a little disingenuous.
Kyle Seager will give Cano some good protection. If healthy, Corey Hart might provide some much-needed swagger. Cano’s presence may help Dustin Ackley, Michael Saunders, Brad Miller, Nick Frankin, Justin Smoak and Mike Zunino to gain a little confidence and elevate their productivity.
Until that happens, Cano is going to look at historical performances. Cruz has put up numbers in the past. The current crop of Mariners? Not so much.
It will be interesting to see how many of these comments we hear over the next couple of years. For now, it is likely that Cano will continue to state that he is happy to help the Mariners move forward. However, if this team continues to struggle at the plate, we might hear a few more suggestions.
In the future, they might be just a little bit louder.