Much has been made about how signing Cano means the Mariners are tired of losing and they're willing to spend now in order to be successful. It hasn't been for a lack of trying on Seattle's part, either. Last year, it was close to reeling in Josh Hamilton.
So why wouldn't Cano want a part of an organization like this? Just ask former manager Eric Wedge.
Almost as soon as fans were beginning to get excited about the signing of the All-Star second baseman, Geoff Baker dropped a bomb in the Seattle Times. Baker interviewed Wedge and other former members of the Mariners organization, and after those interviews he came to the conclusion that the general malaise of the franchise starts at the top.
General manager Jack Zduriencik got the brunt of the criticism. He comes off as power-hungry and knowing little about advanced statistics, despite claiming to have a strong knowledge when applying for his current job. Zduriencik would also pass along unrealistic suggestions from the higher-ups to Wedge as to how the team should be run, according to Baker.
It's a less-than-flattering portrayal of how the Mariners are run, and as Grantland's Rany Jazayerli joked, it's not the news a player wants to hear right after signing a huge deal to play in Seattle long term:
Even if the Mariners can land David Price, as Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan reports Seattle is a possible destination for the left-hander, how much faith do you have in the organization as a whole, if you're Cano?
For the best players in the game, making a ton of money isn't the only barometer for personal success. They want to win World Series rings, or at the very least, make the postseason. Trips to the playoffs help to build a legacy.
Cano won't want to end up like Alex Rodriguez during his time in Texas. Sure, he put up huge numbers, but the team was still terrible. Even being on a good team that doesn't make the playoffs means people won't properly validate your accomplishments (see Trout, Mike).
The American League West is one of the toughest divisions in baseball right now. Overtaking the Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics will be difficult. It's not like there was a strong foundation of success before Cano arrived. The Mariners have had four straight losing seasons, and the last time they went to the playoffs was 2001.
Taking into account what you read about Zduriencik in Baker's article, it doesn't look like there's any sort of long-term plan in place to make the team a contender again. In addition, the impression is that the team will never become a contender while Zduriencik is there.
Spending money doesn't automatically guarantee success.
The Boston Red Sox had to trade Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford in order to become a contender again. The Angels haven't made the playoffs since splashing the cash on C.J. Wilson, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.
Making a couple of huge moves during the offseason doesn't stop the rot that appears to have started under the current power structure.
In the end, you can't blame Cano for taking a deal so large. You wonder, though, if it will be worth weathering the possible storm to come in Seattle.
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