The Seattle Mariners put $240 million worth of pressure on Robinson Cano when they signed him to that massive contract in the offseason. Obviously no one is going to feel bad for Mr. Cano, considering that he gets paid that kind of money to play a game for a living. Still, the Mariners have creating a situation where Cano is expected to do more than collect a few hits at the plate.
Why is the pressure on Cano? Simple. The Mariners did not get him a lot of help.
Look at the supporting cast. Kyle Seager is a nice player, and could be a solid contributor for a number of years. Beyond Seager, there is a long list of question marks.
Corey Hart has bad knees. So does Logan Morrison. Justin Smoak, Michael Saunders and Dustin Ackley have never proven to be consistent hitters. Brad Miller had a nice season in 2013, but there are no guarantees that he will do that again. Nick Franklin may not have a role and Mike Zunino is simply unproven. Jesus Montero is, well, Jesus Montero.
Did I miss anyone?
Cano is not necessarily expected to do everything on his own. After all, the superstar is theoretically supposedly to make everyone around him better. Granted, when you look at the situation it may not take a great deal for the offense to get rolling in a positive direction. If Cano can hit somewhere close to his lifetime average of .309 and the rest of the lineup can hit 20 points better than last year, that could have a huge impact on base runners, scoring and ultimately wins.
Farfetched? It shouldn’t be. We’re not talking about a monumental shift. In this case, we are talking about noticeable but not ridiculous improvement.
Obviously things could end up going the wrong way. Cano could struggle and essentially replace what Kendrys Morales provided in 2013. The young hitters could remain mired in the .220-.240 range.
Fans hope this year will be different and that Cano will not only produce, but inject a measure of confidence and swagger into this lineup.
New star. New contract. New expectations.