The Robinson Cano sweepstakes are over—and much earlier than anyone expected. He will not be wearing a Texas Rangers uniform next season. That is wonderful news for Rangers fans.
According to Enrique Rojas of ESPN, Cano agreed to a 10-year deal worth $240 million with the Seattle Mariners.
Rojas originally reported a few days ago that the Mariners were were willing to offer Cano a nine-year deal in the range of $225 million. Earlier this morning, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that there was a potential snag in the talks between Cano and Seattle.
In the report, Heyman said that Cano and agent Jay Z flew to Seattle from Los Angeles on Thursday. En route to Seattle, both Cano and Jay Z knew that the Mariners had an offer for nine years and $225 million on the table.
As Heyman writes, "It isn't known whether Cano got cold feet or simply didn't think the deal was right, but word is there was no acceptance, which surprised Seattle."
At least one Mariners executive was so upset that he was ready to cut negotiations completely.
That would have been the sensible move.
Meanwhile, the Texas Rangers should be overjoyed that Cano not only didn't sign to play in Arlington, but also that he signed with a division rival. The Mariners paid almost top dollar for Cano. No other team was foolish enough to come even close to Seattle's offer. Have fun with your new "prize" Seattle.
Here are a couple reasons why it was more than smart for the Rangers to pass on Cano.
Jurickson Profar is the Rangers' second baseman
For weeks, I've been hearing ridiculous theories from Rangers fans including preposterous suggestions that involved trading Elvis Andrus, moving Profar to shortstop and then using the money saved from dumping Andrus' contract on Cano. Oh yeah, and then somehow Texas would pull out a trade for David Price that doesn't include Profar.
Simple problem: the team instantly gets older and far more expensive.
It's time to get over it Rangers fans. Jurickson Profar is the second baseman of this team for the long run, or at least for the next six years. In six years, Profar will be 26 and Cano will be 37. At that time, who would you rather pay? It's not a trick question.
It's true that Profar will likely never develop the power Cano has at the plate, but it's very reasonable to assume that Profar will be a much better defensive player and potentially as effective a contact hitter.
Bottom line here: Profar is cheap, under control and hasn't yet tapped into his potential. Cano is definitely under control, but commands an astronomical price and is nearing the end of his prime as an everyday second baseman. Cano might only be worth half of what Seattle gave him.
When it comes to the issue of who's the best second baseman in the league, well that distinction could easily go to Dustin Pedroia in Boston.
The Rangers have needs—upgrading the infield is NOT one of them
Texas general manager Jon Daniels said that himself.
On Wednesday, Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com reported that Daniels was asked directly about his team's interest in Cano. Daniels responded that he has talked to the agents of "most" of the big name free agents. He followed that by saying "upgrading our infield is pretty low on our priority list."
Durrett said in his report that this was Daniels' way of saying Cano's asking price was just far too high.
Texas' infield is ready for Opening Day 2014.
Instead, the Rangers have a gaping hole to fill in left field. While the Craig Gentry for Michael Choice trade with the Oakland Athletics earlier this week has potential, it's not clear that Choice is ready to be the Rangers' starting left fielder in 2014.
By turning away from asinine contracts, like the ones offered to Cano and Brian McCann, Texas still has a wealth of options in left field.
They have also just filled their need for a backup catcher quite efficiently.
According to this report from Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, the Rangers have agreed with former Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia to a one-year deal, with a base salary of $1 million. The deal is pending a physical, but almost certainly will get done.
The big plus with Arencibia is that he's dirt cheap, and still packs a huge punch in his bat. According to ESPN, the former Tennessee Volunteer has averaged over 20 home runs in the last three seasons. That's as many as McCann hit last season for exactly one-eighty-fifth of the price.
Think about that for a minute.
Arencibia strikes out quite a bit, and has been notorious for an alarmingly low batting average and OBP over his career. But for just $1 million, who wouldn't want that power in the launching pad that is Rangers Ballpark in Arlington?
After all, how much worse can a guy hit than a .194 batting average?
With the catching corps now set, the Rangers still need that left fielder. Shin-Soo Choo is still available and the Rangers have expressed a high amount of interest in him. But there are other options out there, and Daniels is sure to explore them all.
Choo will be expensive, but with the money the Rangers saved by passing on Cano and McCann—as well as Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke last offseason—the team should be able to afford a nice player to fill the hole.
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