Does Anybody Seriously Think Robinson Cano Will Sign with the Mariners?

By Mike Cardillo

In the last 24 hours, depending whom you believe in the nonstop baseball winter Hot Stove Twitter maelstrom, the Seattle Mariners have emerged as a potential landing spot for free agent second baseman Robinson Cano. We’ve seen the standard boilerplate terms, “very close” and “serious” associated with Seattle, whom we’ll assume would have to offer Cano a Godfather-type deal in order to get him to move away from the Bronx to the Pacific Northwest. (More on that later.)

For months we’ve known Cano was going to test the open market, a point hammered home when he hired Jay-Z as his agent. Together the duo were going to change the world of baseball as we know it, or so their plan went. Somebody eventually floated the idea of a $300 million deal for the 31-year-old.

The only thing that makes sense is the Jay-Z/Cano camp assumed the Yankees would be desperate enough, coming off an 85-win, playoff-less season to pay him whatever he wanted. This ‘blank check’ scenario was quickly rebuffed by Randy Levine. The Cano camp also didn’t anticipate a) they’d be bidding against the Yankees exclusively or b) Brian Cashman would drop close to $240 million on Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann before bridging the gap with Cano, all the while scoffing at baseball’s luxury tax threshold.


That’s where the Mariners come in. As the title of this post says, does anyone realistically think Cano will pack up for Seattle? If Jay-Z wants to make Cano a cornerstone of his budding empire, it’s a lot easier to pull off in the media capital of the world compared to Seattle. Jay-Z is all about pushing the Brooklyn Nets brand. He wrote an anthem about the City. So his first major sports client he’s going to push to … Seattle? It doesn’t make a lick of sense, even if Bovada has installed the Mariners as an even-money pick to land Cano.

Unless …

  • The next Nintendo console will be called the Wii Cano.
  • Howard Schulz sells Cano and Jay-Z the rights to the roughly 400 Manhattan Starbucks franchises.
  • Jay-Z and Pearl Jam collab on the greatest rap/rock mash-up since Anthrax and Public Enemy brought the noize.
  • Boeing agrees to manufacture a gold-plated private jet for both Cano and Jay-Z so they can jet off to Belgium to party at a moment’s notice.

A far as using Seattle as a leverage with the Yankees, it probably will go about as well as breaking up with your girlfriend of three years because somebody with a cute profile picture on Instagram randomly liked one of your posts.

Let’s even, briefly think about this from a baseball standpoint. In recent seasons Seattle has earned the reputation as the place free agents go to die. Adrian Beltre spent five forgettable seasons at Safeco Field. Since moving away he’s made the All-Star team three times and last year he should have been on it, but still finished seventh in the MVP voting for the Rangers.

Or think back to Chone Figgins. He signed with the M’s in December 2009 for four years/$36 million and promptly fell off the face of the earth … or more specifically hit .227 before being released in 2012.

This is the power play Jay-Z & Co. are going to use to squeeze every last dollar from the Yankees? To paraphrase the immortal Jake Taylor, “Couldn’t you have at least said you were from the Tigers.” Oh right, there were leaked stories last month Cano took a small plane to a private Michigan airfield. (And stories about a Jay-Z dinner with Mets’ ownership but nobody believed they even seriously discussed Cano.)

Adding another wrinkle to the brinskmanship, the Yankees offered a contract to veteran infielder Kelly Johnson — a second baseman mainly by trade over his eight seasons. Perhaps the Rangers, now that Ian Kinsler’s in Detroit, open up the wallet for Cano.

All signs after the Ellsbury contract point toward the Yankees having a definite Plan B beyond signing Cano. Jay-Z and his star client are now, to borrow a song title from a famous Seattle band, a “Man in the Box.”

Related: David Ortiz Will Be An Executive Producer on New MTV Baseball Show That, Sadly, Isn’t a Revival of ‘Rock ‘N Jock’
Related: Jay-Z Had Clandestine Dinner with New York Mets Brass, Reportedly Talked About Robinson Cano