Cano: M’s need RH bats, rotation (Santana) help


Robinson Cano is a welcomed addition to Seattle's lineup, but the M's have holes to fill. (USATSI)
Robinson Cano is a welcomed addition to Seattle's lineup, however the M's have holes to fill. (USATSI)


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PEORIA, Ariz. – The Seattle Mariners made some large enhancements this winter however appear to have left themselves with some apparent holes as effectively. The largest enhancement, after all, was signing superstar second baseman Robinson Cano, who brings the middle-of-the-order influence bat the staff craved, and in addition maybe just a few more opinions and a bit more assertiveness than is recalled from his a few years in New York.

Cano, by all accounts, is completely enjoying his first days inside a energetic new clubhouse with new teammates, and his characteristically broad smile seems to substantiate that from his position on the head of the beautified clubhouse right here. However Cano appears around and sees those very actual issues and wonders if there may very well be a transfer or two extra coming from the Mariners.

General manager Jack Zduriencik seems both willing to wait earlier than diving into the subsequent impact transfer or is lastly and easily short of money (two sources suggest the Mariners have little or no loot left to spend, something Zduriencik will not affirm). Earlier than listening to Cano's very particular ideas about learn how to enhance the workforce, Zduriencik observed that he is realized over the winter simply how "perceptive" his new megastar is.

Cano happily blended into the background on a crew of veteran stars at the same time as one of the best player in New York, but he would not hesitate with regards to his thoughts on the Mariners, as the plain burgeoning positional chief of a really younger staff.

"I am not going to lie. We want an additional bat, especially a proper-handed bat," Cano advised "We now have many left-handed hitters. We want at the least another righty. You don't need to face a lefty pitcher with a lineup of seven left-handed hitters."

Zduriencik doesn't necessarily disagree. How can he? Not after the Mariners posted an MLB-low657 OPS vs. left-handers final year, then added two extra lefty hitters in Cano and Logan Morrison as two of its three predominant offensive pieces while dropping the righty-swinging Michael Morse and switch-hitting Kendrys Morales.

"We are a little lefthanded, and we know it," Zduriencik mentioned.

Cano – whose $240 million, 10-year deal with Seattle is tied for the third richest in MLB history – gives an answer, and it's the apparent one; bring back Morales, who remains a free agent working out for weeks on the Scott Boras Coaching Institute in Miami Gardens, Fla.

"He is a change hitter who's received energy," Cano famous. Not solely that, however Morales possesses energy proven to work at Safeco Area, as he posted 23 homers and 80 RBI in his inaugural season in Seattle.

Zduriencik could have no selection within the matter if he is certainly low on funds. In any case, his quick idea seems to be to hope for one of the best from what's earlier than him. Citing the lone two proper-handed hitters within the projected lineup, Zduriencik stated, "It'd be nice if Corey Hart has a very nice year, and it'd be nice if Mike Zunino has a very good yr." (Justin Smoak is a change hitter but he's considered much better from the left side.)

The Mariners have some critically talented gamers, however there as many variables as fish in Puget Sound. They are counting on a whole lot of young gamers in their lineup, and almost as many in their rotation. This isn't a division where there's much room for error, either.

Regardless, Zdurienik's first hope is for the workforce to remain wholesome (or get in wholesome, because the case could also be; early accidents to pitchers Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker bring more early worries). The opposite crucial is for the younger abilities like Dustin Ackley, Smoak, Brad Miller, James Paxton and others to "become the gamers they should turn into," in Zduriencik's phrases.

In this division, that is a fair quantity of hoping. Cano's first selection would deliver way more certainty, provided it is truly financially possible.

The other factor Morales would supply is a proven cleanup hitter. This can be a practical matter to Cano hmself; with no cleanup man, there is critical question as as to if Cano will get many pitches to hit. The Mariners have a few good major-league hitters, such as Kyle Seager and Hart (assuming he stays healthy, and he looks boffo so far, especially in his outdated outfield stomping grounds). However neither profiles as a cleanup hitter, and phrase is, someone recommended to Zduriencik that having Cano with out someone to bat behind him is like "having a Rembrandt on the floor with no lighting" to light up it.

Cano mentioned he was thrilled when the Mariners added closer Fernando Rodney late, however he nonetheless has extra suggestions. He'd prefer to see free agent starting pitcher Ervin Santana in Seattle, as properly.

"He's great," Cano stated. "The man's all the time pitching; he never gets hurt."

Likewise, Zduriencik is said to additionally possess admiration for each Morales and Santana, which explains why he has been in contact, off and on, with each gamers many of the winter. However Zduriencik also has no offers out for either player in the intervening time, and there's no sense one is coming soon. There is not any suggestion, in actual fact, he is ever made an official provide for either participant, past the $14.1-million qualifying offer that was extended to Morales following his advantageous season in Seattle.

" There are nonetheless some pieces on the market, so who is aware of?" Zduriencik said. "We're open to speaking about something. We'll see. You never know. I would never close the door to something."

However after all that doesn't imply the door is about to be opened, both. There is a sense the Mariners spent many months talking to Nelson Cruz, and there is no proof yet a proposal was ever made. Some Seattle people wondered about Cruz's PED suspension and his potential to translate energy from Arlington, Texas, to Safeco – though there's additionally proof Cruz by no means really wished to go to Seattle, his well-identified friendship with Cano however.

As for the remaining free brokers, there's a sense that a distinction of opinion has existed over the values of the two free agents, no matter how much Zduriencik favored them. There's additionally a query whether or not the Rodney signing financially limited their chances at making yet another huge splash.

Zduriencik is practiced at being noncommittal, however the focus does not appear to be on those two high free brokers, at the very least in the mean time.

"They are not here," Zduriencik mentioned. "That is our ballclub proper now. Our concern is what's in front of us."

Zduriencik made some obvious improvements, even past the Cano blockbuster, additionally importing his old good friend Hart plus younger energy hitter Morrison. Apart from the Yankees, no one spent more than Seattle.

But the actuality is, that they had a really lengthy way to go following their fourth straight losing season and plenty of issues getting in to this one. And they have more considerations since camp started, now that Iwakuma, their second rotation star beyond King Felix, and the young exhausting-throwing phenom Walker, who was quietly being penciled into the rotation, are each out and unlikely to be able to begin the season with the crew.

"A couple weeks in, they need to be able to go," Zduriencik mentioned.

They're hoping for mid- April for Iwakuma (finger), and they understand, too, that Walker (shoulder) will not have sufficient innings constructed as much as go north with the workforce.

Add those two disappointments to outfielder Franklin Gutierrez declaring initially of spring that he isn't recovered sufficient to accept a paycheck and hitter Jesus Montero admitting that he spent winter ball doing nothing but eating (he's been relegated to the 5 a.m. "group" of two chubby players, and seems already to be slimming down from a robust 270 pounds), and they've had as tough a beginning to spring as anyone.

There's at the very least an extremely nice vibe with numerous terrific personalities, not just the eternally upbeat Cano but also assured new manager Lloyd McLendon, an completed and various coaching workers with interesting of us like Andy Van Slyke, plus the perpetually pleasant Hart and John Buck and the humorous Morrison, who adds comedian aid.

However there's nothing funny about what's going on now. Zduriencik said he went into the winter looking to add 5 issues: 1) an impression player, 2) a backup infielder, 3) a beginning pitcher, 40 a proper-handed bat and 5) bullpen assist. Cano, Willie Bloomquist, Hart and Rodney offered help in four of these five areas, with the extra rotation help nonetheless the obtrusive need. The problem is that the one area that received the least consideration, the rotation, has become weakened already.

While there's hope for veteran non-roster pickup Scott Baker, it's arduous to see how Zduriencik could make up for the early loss of Iwakuma and Walker with inside answers. As it's, they'll count on proficient teen Paxton, and may must hope that one more kid, perhaps Brandon Maurer or Erasmo Ramirez, fill in the hole.

The Mariners have by May 7 no less than 10 video games with the A's, a nemesis they've but to prove they'll beat, main one Mariners particular person to say, "If Walker and Iwakuma miss the month of April, with our schedule that month it could get ugly."

Zduriencik praises McClendon's power, the early teachings of the veteran coaching staff and the overall perspective round camp, and all of that is truthful and good. But there are concerns here, and they're very real.

Cano is not alone in his beliefs.

"Santana would be perfect," added another veteran Mariners participant.

However finally, Cano additionally doesn't need to make waves, or add to any angst round camp over the injured pitchers.

"If it was up to me, we'd have Santana, (Nelson) Cruz and Ubaldo (Jimenez), too," Cano said. "That is actually more for the front office."

The Mariners made a lot of powerful choices, and so they may be at their greenback restrict – at least in the meanwhile. After all they added Rodney after of us thought they have been tapped out, too.

Zduriencik guidelines nothing out, though that may even be extra about his noncommittal public style/stance than anything.

"It's attainable," he stated. "You never know what's going to occur."

That shouldn't essentially be taken to imply either Morales or Santana is especially possible. But if they wish to contend in a stacked division, they'd be wise to take heed to Cano's two strategies.

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