Robinson Cano Showing His ‘Value’ As Possible Most Valuable Player
Robinson Cano had a very good offseason last winter. A quarter-of-a-billion-dollar offseason. Cano signed a lucrative, 10 year, $240 million dollar deal with the Seattle Mariners, leaving behind Yankee pinstripes for “King” Felix Hernandez and a bunch of kids that the baseball world hadn’t really caught on to yet.
The sports world laughed. Some pundits said the deal was terrible. Grantland called the deal “smart” for the Mariners, but they were one of the few. Fans both in New York (the betrayed) and Seattle (the optimists) questioned if Cano was really worth that much money. And now four months into the season, it seems that the answer is affirmed.
Robinson Cano currently leads the American League in batting average at.330, 20 points higher than his career average. He has 10 home runs and 66 RBIs, or runs batted in, and his on-base percentage is.398, 40 points higher than his career norms, mostly due to the fact that he gets an inordinate amount of intentional walks (15). The biggest stat to look at, according to a report in The Sporting News, is Cano’s WAR (Wins against replacement) which sits at 4.6. Fellow Mariner Felix Hernandez has the league lead in WAR with 6.1, but he’s a pitcher and that’s to be expected. Mike Trout, the superstar wunderkind out of Anaheim who, as reported on The Inquisitr, himself just signed a massive contract extension, has a WAR of 5.9, but he’s also on a team full of offensive stars. Cano doesn’t have that luxury.
Other than, say, third baseman Kyle Seager, who after slow start has pushed his numbers up to respectable levels, leading to an All-Star Game appearance last month, and possibly catcher Mike Zunino, who leads all AL catchers in HRs, the Mariners aren’t what people consider an offensive powerhouse. As a team, they rank near the bottom in most offensive categories, and only their stellar starting pitching (and best bullpen in baseball) keeps them in the playoff discussion. This is where Robinson Cano truly shines as “most valuable.” Not in the size of his wallet, but in the size of his contribution to the team.
The Seattle Mariners got more than just a second basemen in Robinson Cano. They have a team leader. A player who has won before and knows the map to get back to that success. Partnered with King Felix–who is putting up Cy Young-level stats himself–Cano and the Mariners have hung around this season, scratching out tough wins on the road and battling the best teams in baseball, including the Oakland A’s, who own the best record in all of baseball, and Mike Trout’s Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who are currently locked into the first wild card spot. Cano and the Mariners are in a battle with Toronto and Kansas City/Detroit (these two teams have swapped positions recently), as well as Cano’s ex-team, the Yankees, as they are all competing for that final wild-card spot. This is when a team most needs a Most Valuable Player.
Without Cano, the Mariners would be at or around.500, and the train of young prospects would be coming up from Tacoma nightly as the organization looked to next year and beyond. With Cano, the team is in a perfect position to not only secure that last playoff spot, but even challenge for the division crown. This is the team that came back from 13 games out in August to win the AL West in 1995. As of this writing, the team is only nine games back of Oakland. All of this is made possible by the presence, leadership, and immeasurable baseball skills of Robinson Cano. These are things that you can’t put a price on. A quarter of a billion dollars is a lot of money, and Robinson Cano is proving to be worth every cent.