Pundits weigh in on Mariners’ deal with Robinson Cano

Dec 6, 2013, 4:22 PM | Updated: 5:44 pm

Analysts who spoke with 710 ESPN agreed that breaking the bank for Robinson Cano was a necessary move. (AP)

By Shannon Drayer

A look at what others are saying about the Mariners’ reported agreement with free-agent second baseman Robinson Cano:

Initial reactions to the news:

• “I was surprised. It just seemed like at some time the Mariners had to do something dramatic here. This was a desperate team in a very good division that really needed offense in several different positions. The best free agent available and they took him from the New York Yankees. I think this is the start of the Mariners moving forward. They obviously have a lot more work to do to surround Cano with some more offensive players, but it has got to start somewhere.” – ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian on “Bob and Groz”

• “The first thing you think about is the money. I mean, you go. ‘Wow. Hold on, 240?’ That’s a lot of money. That’s one of the richest contracts in all of baseball. Then you have to sit back and start looking at why. I wasn’t excited about the deal, I said so on our air a couple days ago because I thought you could take that type of money and be able to spread it around. But I think now that I’ve had some time to absorb it, understand the contract a little more and see where the state of Mariner baseball is at, you had to get a player in there that’s going to make other players want to come to Seattle, and you have to overpay for that. And they may have overpaid a bit, but you got a great player in Robinson, and that’s the one thing you can’t debate is how great a player he is.” – MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds on “Wyman, Mike and Moore”

• “I think it is a great move for Seattle. Everyone is going to break down the contract in terms of years and money, but you have to think about the cost of acquiring a player. And to get Robinson to leave the New York Yankees you are going to have to outbid the New York Yankees, and that’s not easy to do. The question is how much is enough to acquire the player, and I think the Mariners understood that the difference is going to be about $70 million to convince Robinson Cano to leave New York.” – Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci on “Brock and Danny”

On the reported length and total value of the contract:

• “This one isn’t going to work out very well six or seven years from now, but that is not what the Mariners should be worried about now. They have to get back on the market immediately. This is the time to start to add some expensive pieces and make this organization more viable. I applaud them for trying, no matter how much of an overpay this may be.

• “In today’s Major Leagues, all these contracts are ridiculously high. These payrolls are getting way out of control but with TV money, teams can afford this. The Mariners are all in now and that means they need to do more now, and they need to do it this winter, not next winter.” – Kurkjian

• “I think in this case the Mariners wanted Robinson Cano more than the Yankees. And right now the Mariners are obviously a better team and a more relevant team at a time when the fanbase had started to check out on them and for a team that doesn’t have anybody other than King Felix signed beyond next year and with lots of money coming down the pike in terms of TV revenues. It really was a step the Mariners had to make. There was no guarantee they could convince him to leave, but in terms of a business plan it was a great move.” – Verducci

On Cano on and off the field:

• “There basically hasn’t been a better player when it comes to advanced metrics than Robbie Cano over the last seven years. When you watch him play you are just dazzled with just how strong he is and how nimble he is. He can play the piano and he can move it, too.” – Kurkjian

• “When you look at what he has done, his numbers? Obviously he is going to produce. And he has missed how many, 13 games the last season? You know he is going to play.” – Ken Griffey Jr. to Shannon Drayer

• “Robinson Cano is a very durable player. He’s a guy who has put up the numbers year after year without missing really any games. You’re not going to find his offense at second base anywhere else in baseball. He has one of the strongest arms of any second baseman. I really felt in watching him in the WBC, for the Dominican Republic he became the team leader and he was very deferential with the Yankees knowing it was Derek Jeter’s team – in fact got knocked for playing the game not hard enough – but when I watched him play for the DR and he was really the de facto captain, he was in every way a leader on that team and I think you will see more of that in Seattle than in New York.” – Verducci

• “One of the greatest defensive players you’ll ever see. I mean, he’s amazing. You can look historically with him and you’re not going to find many guys who can do the things he does. The great range up the middle, to the left, tremendous arm, pivots off the chart. You’re going to see that in flawlessness that is amazing to watch every day. He brings it every day. The other thing on the offensive side, you’re going to see a great bat. The guy is as good a hitter as you’re going to see in Major League Baseball. He’s consistent throughout the year, he’s going to hit you 30 home runs, he’s going to hit .300, he’s going to be consistent all year. He’s not going to have peaks and valleys where he’s hot one week and he’s cold for two. That’s not how he does it. He does it consistently throughout the year. You can count on that.

“He’s a great kid in the community. He understands his place. I think the one thing you’ll see from him is genuineness. He is genuine, great human being. I’ve watched this guy hop on the subway, he’s that humble. He doesn’t have to fly on the private jet. He handles his money well, he handles himself with class. He reaches out in communities, and he’s bilingual. He speaks fluent English and Spanish. I think that’s important in today’s game and society. I know a lot of people are hearing that he wants to be a global icon, and caught up in all the hype and different things like that, that’s far from who he really is about. I think when you get to know him, he is a quality human being.” – Reynolds

On the chances of this move catching the attention of other free agents:

• “I think now you can actually say, ‘Hey, listen, you want to come play for the Seattle Mariners for the next seven years then you are going to have Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano, two guys who are probably going to go into the Hall of Fame with Seattle Mariners caps on and maybe get this franchise to a World Series. You want to hop aboard that train. We are a lot more attractive today than we were yesterday.’ ” – Verducci

• “The next free agent may now look at it and say the Mariners are serious. The worst thing you can be is irrelevant. People not coming to watch you and players not wanting to go a certain place and I think that was what Seattle had become, but now they have drawn a really big hitter there. We will see where they can go from there. This has to be the starting point; they can’t stop here.” – Kurkjian

• “When one guy produces, it snowballs. He can’t do it alone, but there will be other moves. It could be an exciting few weeks. He is a proven winner, he has played on championship teams. It can help in bringing in other players. You hope it gets people to say, ‘Hey, the Northwest is not bad.’ ” – Griffey

On protection in the lineup for Cano:

• “It has to be a guy that they can’t just sit there and say, ‘We don’t care, you are going to first base.’ That guy could be there in free agency, it could be there in trade, it could be on the team. I am a firm believer that Justin Smoak can do it. He just needs to settle down. You have got to remember that he is a switch-hitter and that is double problems. They talk about Chris Davis; he is Chris Davis. I am not trying to put any pressure on him but he has a good eye and he will hit. He’s had four hitting coaches in four years and he is trying to figure it out and trying to please everyone. Just settle down and go out there and have some fun. It’s not fun when you are struggling, but it is in there. You don’t need a guy who hits home runs behind Cano; you just need a guy who hits.” – Griffey

Last thought:

• “Enjoy it. You got one of the best players in the game. You took him away from the New York Yankees, and the team is not done yet, by the way.” – Verducci

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Pundits weigh in on Mariners’ deal with Robinson Cano