By Brady Henderson
Before Robinson Cano’s introductory press conference, the Mariners’ $240 million man spent a few minutes with 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Bob and Groz”.
The conversation can be heard here. Highlights are below.
Mariners made impression. The Mariners gave Cano a franchise-record $240 million contract to lure him away from New York. The money certainly talked, but Cano said a factor in his decision was the impression the Mariners made on him when he and his representatives came to Seattle to meet with the club. “That day that we flew in, we flew in to talk to the team’s ownership and team’s staff, and the way that they showed me love and the fans here,” Cano said, “that’s one of the things that made me decide to come here to Seattle.”
Leaving the Yankees. Cano signed with the Yankees as an amateur free agent in 2001 and had been with the organization his entire career before signing with Seattle. He was asked if he could have ever imagined playing for a team while he was with New York. “Honestly, no,” he said. “But like I said, this is life and this is a business. My dad and a lot of friends used to tell me that this is a business and anything could happen in this game.”
Taking on a leadership role. Cano, 31, might have been the Yankees’ best player during the latter portion of his tenure with the club. He was never the most established, though, and for that reason he said he typically deferred to older players like Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. The most recent World Baseball Classic – which Cano and the Dominican Republic won – was his first chance to assume a leadership role. “This year I got a chance to be able to play on that team and take that role as the leader,” he said, “and then able to win the championship, which has meant a lot not only to me but all the Dominicans in the whole world. It was more like a dream come true.”
Friends with Felix. Cano said he spoke with Felix Hernandez before agreeing to the deal with the Mariners. “You know what? You’re going to feel like family here, like home,” Hernandez told Cano. “And that’s what I’m looking for,” Cano said. “Looking forward to being part of the team.”
Hitting at Safeco Field. Cano has hit .309 with a .350 on-base percentage and an .837 OPS in 40 games at Safeco Field, averages that are similar to what he has posted throughout his career. “I love hitting here,” he said. When asked about whether he noticed the altered dimensions after the fences were moved in last offseason, Cano said, “Yes, of course. If they move them in a little more it would be nice.”
Getting to work. Cano said he is heading home Thursday night so he can begin his offseason training, which he typically begins in early December. “I don’t like to miss days because I feel like every day that I miss, it’s like I’m going backward,” he said. “So I’m going back home to start working out again. It’s almost January, so after that you don’t have that much chance to get ready. I like to get ready, and I want to be 100 percent when I get to spring training.”