Earlier this week, I asked a buddy if he thought there was anything the Mariners could do to get him excited about the future of the Mariners. Our swift consensus was: no, the Mariners are hopeless (utterly, utterly hopeless) and that’s that.
At the time, of course, I believed there was exactly a 0% chance they’d actually manage to land the white whale that is Robinson Cano (10 years, $240 million, just announced today). All of the talk surrounded names like Nelson Cruz (who is still out there, lurking), Willie Bloomquist (who was just signed recently); and about all the names we could never even dream of getting, because why would they come to a non-stop loser like the Mariners?
In short, I was as depressed as I’ve been since 2008, and it didn’t help that the Huskies lost their head coach (more on that development later).
And now look at what’s happened! The Mariners got Cano to come out here and they fucking SIGNED HIM!
We, as Mariners fans, have been so conditioned to look at “the future” (because “the present” is so fucking miserable), that you can’t help but look at the deal and think, “Yeesh, that’s a lot of years and a lot of money. What are we going to do in 2021 when Cano’s bat is legally pronounced dead, he can no longer play in the field, and we’re paying $24 million for a poor man’s Jose Vidro circa 2008? Have we learned NOTHING from the Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder deals?”
And, I’ll admit: that’s a legitimate concern that won’t be going away anytime soon. As with any deal (and, really, anything in life), it can all fall apart in an instant. Robinson Cano can come here and immediately start batting .265 for the rest of his career. He could also tear an ACL or a labrum and be out for extensive periods of time (after a career to this point that has seen him be ruggedly healthy). Anything. Anything can happen. And we can focus on all of that now, lamenting on all the What If’s until the cows come home … or, we can just be fans.
Just be a fan! For one day, put down your analytical cap. Remember what sports used to be like when you were 10 years old. If you were a Mariners fan in the late 80s, remember what it felt like when the Mariners brought Griffey up to the Majors. Sure, there were probably people who worried, “Is it too soon?” But, for the most part, there was nothing but excitement from the naive fans. Fans who only wanted someone too root for! Some reason to care about this fucking team.
We have 10 years with Robinson Cano. There will be PLENTY of time to obsess about what his contract means in the grand scheme of things. We can piss and moan about what an albatross he is if-and-when he actually becomes an albatross!
For now? Guess what! The Mariners just signed the #1 single greatest, bestest, most amazingest free agent in all of baseball! They opened up their wallet and instead of the usual cloud of dust and a couple of moths, out fell real, actual MONEY! That they used to buy a person! To play baseball in the city of Seattle! With the hopes of making this team BETTER! Now! Not soon, not sometime in the future, not Someday … NOW!
Granted, Robinson Cano by himself isn’t going to change this from a 90-loss team into a 90-win team. But, as countless others have pointed out: there’s more where that came from. There’s more money, there’s more trades, and there’s a whole lotta openings on this team! No longer do we have to be concerned with The Kids somehow figuring it the fuck out. No longer do we have to surround said Kids with over-the-hill assholes who have no business playing the field and only provide one type of benefit (dingers). Now, we can get the talent we need to succeed.
And this is so much better than what the Royals did last year, because the Royals last year brought in relatively SHITTY players! At least, when compared to Robinson Fucking Cano!
Going forward, this is what we have to look forward to:
- 2B – Robinson Cano
- 3B – Kyle Seager
Sure, there are others. We have Brad Miller who’s pretty good (we hope). We have Zunino who will probably share time with another veteran catcher. We have others …
But, we’ve got those two! 2/9 of our lineup is set in stone! And they’re real, legitimate baseball players! Guys who can contend for All Star appearances!
On our pitching staff, we have these shining beacons of hope:
- Felix Hernandez
- Hisashi Iwakuma
Again, it’s only two guys, but look at them! Aren’t they glorious? When you take this foundation of 4 guys and you look at what we have available with regards to money to spend and prospects to trade away, it’s pretty exciting to think about what the Mariners could do to fill out the rest of our 25-man team.
People like Shin Soo Choo, Mike Napoli, and Carlos Beltran by themselves don’t really give me the throbbingest of boners. But, when you pile them all together and know that we’ve got that foundation of Cano/Seager/Felix/Kuma, now you’re talking.
And, while we’re at it: I say fuck it, let’s trade Taijuan Walker for David Price! You’ve never heard me say anything like that before – and in the future, if it turns out to bust on us, I’ll deny having ever said it – but why the fuck not? Everyone always talks about how starting pitchers are the most volatile of all baseball prospects, what with their proneness to arm injuries. There’s no guarantee that Walker is going to be the Next Felix! We thought The Little Unit was going to be the next Big Unit, and look at where that got us! Not every deal is the Erik Bedard deal. Sometimes, you trade away your best prospect and he turns out to be nothing (or nothing special, anyway).
If we’re truly in a win-now situation, then here’s the thing: you can’t afford to wait for Taijuan Walker to develop. Especially not when you have an opportunity to bring in a second Ace to go with Felix, the best pitcher in all the land! Walker, if he’s even able to crack a starting rotation this season, is likely to be a 5-innings-and-done type of guy. He’ll be on horrendous pitch counts and innings counts, and if you’re playing it safe (which is the smart thing to do with a guy like Walker), then you have to figure Walker is at least a year or two away from really unleashing his arm to its full potential.
Let the Rays deal with that bullshit. Sure, they may reap the rewards of a future All Star. But, we could also reap the rewards of re-signing David Price to a nice, fat contract extension. We have the money, anyway!
And that’s why we’re better than the Royals. Because they got Shields (who sucks) and we can get Price (who is awesome).
I’m not ready to give myself back over to the Mariners fully just yet. They’ve danced on my emotions for too long. But, this Robinson Cano signing is a helluva start. You had me on the brink, Mariners. The brink of renouncing the game of baseball altogether. With this signing, it’s like you called out my name, and against my better judgment I’m turning around to see you holding flowers, chocolates, and a “Please Forgive Me” balloon. In my mind, I know better than to try to take you back. But, the heart wants what the heart wants. I hope I don’t live to regret this.