Well it's official. Robinson Cano is taking his talents to the Great Northwest. A ten-year, $240 million deal has landed the prized free agent in Seattle.
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In fact, Cano going to the Mariners might actually be the best possible outcome for the Yankees. They avoided giving the 31-year-old a monster contract, and he goes to a team that is still nowhere close to contending. Even with their new acquisition, Seattle is probably finishing in the bottom-half of the AL West.
In losing Cano, the Bronx Bombers become a dangerous club just from the financial side of things. With more money to spend, they can be major players in the free agent market.
If available, Masahiro Tanaka is now the top priority for the Yanks. Strengthening the starting pitching is No. 1 on their list of things to do at this point, so with Hiroki Kuroda re-signed, they can focus on three through five in the rotation. Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana are the top options on the market, and all three could realistically be on New York's radar. If they decide they want to go short-term for a fourth or fifth starter, they could look at Bronson Arroyo, or a former ace in Roy Halladay or Roy Oswalt.
Keep in mind, Michael Pineda should be healthy entering spring training.
With the additional cash, the Yanks can add a few pieces to their pen as well. A plethora of solid arms line the market. Joaquin Benoit and Fernando Rodney are two righties that can solidify a bullpen, and Eric O'Flaherty is a shut-down lefty that New York may go after.
Obviously the departure of Cano leaves a gaping hole in the lineup. Kelly Johnson has been brought in as the initial replacement option, but it will be interesting to see if the Yankees pursue All-Star Brandon Phillips. His name has been thrown around as a player the Reds could be open to moving.
With Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann being left-handed, Alex Rodriguez's future unsure, and Mark Teixeira being a switch hitter, the Yankees are lacking big right-handed bats. This may push New York to chase Phillips. Alfonso Soriano is slated to be the starting right fielder, but if the Dodgers aren't asking for too much in return for Matt Kemp, the team may go that route.
With New York's track history of making eleventh-hour deals, a splash on the trading block certainly isn't a far-fetched notion.
While the Big Apple may be disappointed to see Cano go, it's a move the Yankees can ultimately get over. With more money to go around now than originally expected this offseason and plenty of talent out there still left to be had, you can bet the 27-time World Series champions will be wheeling and dealing all winter long.