Cano to Go?
Will we still see this in spring?
Three of the last four players to reach 3,000 hits were Seattle Mariners. Key word: were. They either were drafted by and made their names as Mariners (A-Rod), spent their rocky prime years with us (Adrian Beltre), or will forever be identified with the team (Ichiro). But none of them actually reached 3,000 hits as a Seattle Mariner:
- Alex Rodriguez had accumulated 966 hits when he left us after the 2000 season for a massive free agency deal with Texas that the team (and he) soon regretted. (He hit his 3,000th, a homer, in 2015 as a Yankee.)
- Ichiro had 2,533 hits when we traded him mid-2012 to the hated New York Yankees. (He hit his 3,000th, a triple, in 2016 as a Miami Marlin).
- When Adrian Beltre desperately left Safeco Field after his prime middling years with us, he was at exactly 1700 hits. (He hit his 3,000th, a double, in 2017 as a Texas Ranger.)
I bring all this up because apparently the Mariners are shopping Robinson Cano, who still has five years left on his massive 10-year deal, and I assume all the no-trade clauses that go with high-end free agent signings. I was against signing Cano back in December 2013—nice thing about a blog: You have evidence—but I‘ve also loved having him on the team. The very thing that bugged Yankees fans—his looseness, which they took as laziness—I’ve loved. The nonchalance most players display he's able to turn up to 11. He makes tough plays look easy, and he makes routine plays look as if he could do them in his sleep; as if he were bored halfway through. Yeah, this. Got this. Man, I'm already in the dugout.
And beyond his banned-substance suspension, and his acid-reflux slump in 2015, he's done as well or better than I thought he would: .296/.353/.472. 23.6 WAR.
But now comes the tough part—the final five years. Ages 36 through 40 at $24 mil a pop. When a player hits a cliff, it's usually not pretty. So if the Mariners could unload him for the worst years of the deal, that would be an unexpected boon. Depending, of course, on how much we have to pay to unload him.
Drawbacks? For now, he's still good (.303/.374/.471 last year). And barring disaster, or more PED-inspired longterm suspensions, he has a good chance at 3,000 hits. He's 530 short, at 2,470, and for a full season as a Mariner he's never had fewer than 166. Last year, despite being suspended for half the season, he came through with 94 hits. I could see him getting his 3,000th in 2021 or ‘22.
I know it’s a small thing, but the Mariners have never had someone in their uni get his 3,000th. I'd assumed, given the size of his contract, he would be the one.