While not everyone seems to be thankful for Robinson Cano in a Seattle Mariners uniform, I am. Former Mariners coach, Andy Van Slyke, even went as far as blaming Cano for the firing of multiple coaches with his 2015 on-field performance including Lloyd McClendon. Rumors swirled this week about Cano not being happy in Seattle after a report by John Harper of the New York Daily News. I’m not convinced that he isn’t happy in Seattle. Even if he is unhappy just let the M’s have some playoff success, and he will be like a kid in a candy store.
This week’s report caused some people to wonder about a trade back to the New York Yankees and others in Seattle to turn on him. Remember, he only won one championship and one American League pennant while with the Yankees. So, it’s not like he won multiple championships before he came to Seattle. It’s hard for a second baseman to lead his team to a title when the rest of the lineup can’t hit and the young starting pitchers flounder. But enough about that, it’s time to be thankful.
So, why am I thankful for Robinson Cano? First, he isn’t Josh Hamilton. The M’s could have made a huge mistake in 2012 when they made a substantial offer to Hamilton. Instead of signing with the M’s, Hamilton signed with the Los Angeles Angels. Then Angels general manager, Jerry Dipoto, signed him to a five-year, $125 million contract. If Hamilton had signed with the M’s, they wouldn’t have been able to sign Cano. Hamilton hit just 31 home runs over 240 games with the Angels. In 2013, he hit 32 home runs in 151 games with the Texas Rangers. He slashed .255/.316/.426 in his brief stint with the Angels before being dealt back to the Rangers last season. To compare, Cano has played 313 games for the Mariners and slashed .300/.358/.450. He also played through a couple of nagging injuries including a stomach ailment in 2015. Not to mention he has hit 35 home runs while playing his home games at SafeCo Field. I think we can agree that all M’s fans should be thankful that Hamilton chose the Angels over the M’s. Even if several years down the road it looks like an awful contract, Cano gives Seattle a better chance to win a championship than Hamilton.
Next, I’m thankful that one of the best, if not the best, second basemen in baseball plays in Seattle. In 2015, while having a down year by his standards, Cano still had the seventh best average (.287) among qualified second basemen in MLB. He ranked second with 21 home runs, again, all while playing half of his games at SafeCo. Cano led in RBI with 79. All this was in what was supposedly a poor season (if you think that was a poor season, ask the New York Yankees what a poor second baseman season looks like) for Cano. The argument could be made for Jose Altuve possibly being the best second baseman, but Cano can singlehandedly take over a game with his bat unlike Altuve.
I’m thankful that Cano is using his fame to make a difference in the world. Just this week, Cano and his RC22 Foundation opened the doors to his RC22 DREAM School in the Dominican Republic. The school will help underprivileged children in his hometown of San Pedro de Macoris. The RC22 Foundation helps disadvantaged children in both Seattle and in the Dominican.
Finally, I’m thankful that the Mariners organization opened up their wallets to try to win a championship. Bringing in players like Cano and Nelson Cruz while holding onto Felix Hernandez and Kyle Seager shows that management is willing to do whatever it takes to win it all instead of just stuffing their wallets. If the Mariners can win one (or two) titles during the life of the Cano contract will it have been worth the $240 million? I don’t think you can put a price tag on winning a World Series, just ask the Kansas City Royals fans. This contract may look like a bad investment during the last two or three years, but the fact that the Mariners even handed out a 10-year deal worth $240 million is something to be thankful about.