Can you believe it? Has it sunk in yet? The Mariners outspent the Yankees making Robinson Cano say ‘See Ya’ to pinstripes. Cano was the biggest free agent prize this offseason and he got paid – $240 million dollars over ten years. The third largest contract in the history of the game, matching the deal Albert Pujols and the Angels came to in 2011. With the help of Jay-Z, ‘Money Ain’t A Thang’ for the rest of Cano’s career. The deal will take him through his 40th birthday. Now, if only Cano ran to first like he ran towards money… well he’d be even a better player.
How big is Robinson Cano’s $240 million deal with Seattle? Mariners have spent $239.2M in the previous 8 offseasons COMBINED.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 6, 2013
Good for Cano, but you have to think his fantasy value dips slightly as a Mariner. With that said, they can’t be done and this is most likely just the beginning of what could be a busy winter in Seattle. As of now, though, Cano has very little protection in that lineup and David Price doesn’t carry a bat.
Mariners believe they have the prospects to acquire David Price from Rays. We will see if they can shock us twice.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 6, 2013
The Yanks had their offensive issues last year too, scoring only 26 more runs than Seattle, but Cano would have been in for another prime year in 2014 with New York, given the return of a healthy Mark Teixeira and the addition of Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann. Cano will no doubt miss the short porch in right at Yankee Stadium. MLB Park Factors tells us that Yankee Stadium was 7th most offensive friendly park last season. When it comes to home runs allowed, the Rogers Centre, Camden Yards and Yankee Stadium all ranked inside the top 10 last year – ballparks Cano spent the majority of his season hitting home runs in. In Fact, 14 of Cano’s 27 home runs came in those parks and even though all of his homers last year suggest they would have cleared a much more spacious Safeco Field as well, I still think the production decreases. Sure he’ll get you 25 home runs, but the runs and RBI are bound to drop.
Cano leaves the AL East and heads to the AL West where it’s much more difficult to hit a big fly. Joe Blanton is no longer with the Angels to serve up taters, and Texas, Anaheim, Seattle (21) and Oakland ballparks all ranked in the bottom 12 in terms of home runs last season. Production was slightly higher at Safeco in 2013 compared to 2012 and some of that has to do with the dimensional changes. There were reductions between four and 12 feet from left-field to right-center. Problem is, 66 of Cano’s 79 home runs at Yankee Stadium since it’s existence have been to right field.
So what am I suggesting? Cano isn’t going to be the first second basemen off the board come fantasy draft day? Of course not! He will be, but the gap between him and the next best thing is not as large as we have been used to. He drops is out of the top 5 where he’s been selected in previous years to inside the top 10.
There are schools of thought that suggests that his anticipated drop in production will no longer justify a first round price tag when players like Jason Kipnis and Ian Kinsler, who changed uniforms as well are available at a more discounted price on draft day but there should be little debate that Cano is the best bet to finish the season as the number one second baseman.
It’s the average, home runs and RBI that separate Cano from the rest of the pack. Matt Carpenter and Dustin Pedroia finished with more runs, hits, doubles, triples and walks than Cano and all three batted over .300. Carpenter’s .318 averaged was .004 points higher than Cano. The 31-year-old has finished with at least 100 RBI in three of his last four seasons and if the season started today, I wouldn’t count on 100 from him this year. A slight increase in ribbies is expected. He’s had at least 25 homers in each of his last five seasons and that streak should continue.
I think were all still a bit shocked that Cano traded in his pinstripes. I have reasonable doubt he’ll be worth the money, but it’s a great move for Seattle. They needed a second baseman as much as they needed some production in the lineup. In terms of fantasy, second base is a position that drops off tremendously outside of the top five. Cano still leads the pack, but it isn’t by as much.
What do you think? Is Cano still a top five draft pick next year?