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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

December 7, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Mariners and Robinson Cano: The kid who foresaw it weighs in

By Sam Thomsen

Sam Thomsen is a sophomore at Liberty Bell High School in Winthrop whose passions are baseball, the Mariners and writing. He has been following the Mariners since he could walk and in October contributed a Take 2 urging the Mariners to sign Robinson Cano. On Friday, Cano reached agreement with the Mariners on a 10-year, $240 million deal, and Thomsen writes about the move.

OK, Yankees fans, it’s time to get off your couch, hurl your Yankees cap to the floor, kick it, and scream at the top of your lungs. It’s time for your own version of a Lou Piniella tantrum.

If reports are true, Robinson Cano is headed to Seattle.

The five-time All Star, career .309 hitter, and arguably the Yankee’s best player, agreed Friday on a Space Needle-sized contact worth $240 million dollars over 10 years.

I’ll say it for you: “Wow!”

General Manager Jack Zduriencik made a marquee move, one of the biggest in team history, a jolt of excitement the Mariners haven’t felt since the team’s brief acquisition of ace Cliff Lee in 2009.

Zduriencik has spent the past five years trying to build the team through the farm system. He brought in young gunslingers in Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and Danny Hultzen.

He developed young hitters in Nick Franklin, Kyle Seager, Mike Zunino, Dustin Ackley, Brad Miller, and Justin Smoak. But he failed to assemble proven players to take the team to a higher level of play.

Two years ago, the Mariners were linked to thumper Prince Fielder, but lost out to the Detroit Tigers.  Last year it was Josh Hamilton. Once again, Seattle was in the mix, but the slugger signed with Anaheim.

So when the M’s were rumored to be making a run at Cano, many fans denied the possibility. They felt as if Cano was just another tease.

Other critics said the cost to acquire Cano would be a misuse of team resources.

The Mariners ignored that and made a huge statement Friday, which is exactly what they needed to do to change the way they are perceived in Seattle, the Northwest and throughout Major League Baseball. They need to establish themselves as contenders not pretenders. They needed to make a bold statement and respond to Anaheim’s acquisitions of Albert Pujols and Hamilton. They needed to respond to Texas’s trade for Fielder and Oakland’s signing of pitcher Scott Kazmir.

The Mariners needed to show that they are for real. And that’s exactly what they did.

Zduriencik finally stepped up to the plate. He bore down and finished what he started. He didn’t excite the fans with rumors and then leave them hanging.

Instead, he signed a guy who has a chance to help put Seattle on the baseball map again. He signed a player that the Mariners can build around. He signed a superstar that will help repair fan morale and put butts in seats.

But, more important, Jack supplied an immediate injection of brawn into the middle of the Mariners lineup that the team hasn’t had since 2001. He gave a team with a batting average of .234 over the last four years a hitter who hit .314 with 27 homers and 107 runs batted in. He supplied the team with a much needed superstar.

Mariners fans no longer have to imagine the thrill of signing a top-tier free agent. No, the reality is here.

Robinson Cano is a Mariner.

And it feels so good.

Want to be a reader contributor to The Seattle Times’ Take 2 blog? Email your original, previously unpublished work or proposal to Sports Editor Don Shelton at dshelton@seattletimes.com or sports@seattletimes.com. Not all submissions can be published. The Times reserves the right to edit and publish any submissions online and/or in print.

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