The 2013 Major League Baseball offseason is off to a shockingly fast and scattered start. First, it was the instant knee-jerk moves over the last few weeks by nearly every division winner from last year that sparked surprise. Now, it’s the fact that two of the worst teams in baseball just spent buku bucks for two guys in the mid-to-early 30s. It’s almost as if MLB’s offseason is a co-written script penned by The Gimp from Pulp Fiction and Vince Vaughn’s character in Clay Pigeons. Somewhere, Dennis Hopper is sad he didn’t make it into the analogy. Well, at the rate we’re headed – we haven’t even made it to the Winter Meetings yet – he might be receiving some screen time now.
Today, the Seattle Mariners made big news after inking Robinson Cano to a 10-year, $240 million deal. Cano, 31, is probably the best available free agent hitter. He has the ability to drive in runs and hits for a good average. He can still defensively play second base pretty well. Overall, this is a great pickup for the Mariners. But the fact that he signed with the Mariners for 10 years is the surprising part. The Mariners, who in the last two years have brought up three star prospects to play the exact same position they’re paying Cano $240 million to play, are not very good. They have some decent pitching talent but signing Cano can’t be it. They must have other hidden aces up their sleeves. Rumors are swirling about David Price, Matt Kemp, Nelson Cruz and Dexter Fowler, but none of those are for certain. What is for certain is that something else must be happening because the Mariners’ signing of Cano is not enough to make the playoffs. Not in that division.
The Mets went out today and plucked another Yankee slugger – Curtis Granderson, who led the Yankees in HRs two of the last three years. Granderson signed with the other New York team for 4-years, $60 million. Similar to the Cano acquisition, I’m not sure this one move does anything for the Mets – and they need a lot more help than what Grandy can provide. Also similar to Cano, Granderson is already in his 30s. If recent trends say anything (Alfonso Soriano, Josh Hamilton, and Albert Pujols to name a few), they say signing guys over the age of 30 for either long-term deals or high annual salaries is not a healthy business decision. To sit and watch two middling teams make these moves are mind-boggling unless something else is around the corner.
Questions still remain on a few major players – Carlos Beltran, David Price, Shin-Soo Choo, and Brandon Phillips to name a few – but little can be said in regards to where they might end up. If our recent trends give us any clue, it could be the Astros and Brewers for all we know. Beltran has been linked to Kansas City…so maybe he’s Dennis Hopper. Who knows? All we can say is that expecting the unexpected may not be so cliche with this offseason.