Strange, isn't it?
The Seattle Mariners hijacked All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano for $240 million, giving them their biggest offensive star since Ken Griffey Jr., and the New York Yankee executives sounded happier Friday than Mariners' officials.
Oh, sure, the Yankees wanted Cano back, but they weren't in love with him.
They never thought he was a $200 million player, or perhaps even $180 million.
And with the Mariners providing Cano the third-highest paid contract in baseball history -- trailing Alex Rodriguez's two deals and equaling Albert Pujols' 10-year, $240 million pact -- the Yankees' decision was quite easy.
They didn't even have to get involved in the negotiations, stopping at $160 million over seven years, knowing there was no reason for Cano or agent Jay Z to even seek a counter.
The Yankees weren't going to get involved in a bidding war knowing they were $80 million short, so the decision was made for them.
"Everybody is replaceable,'' Yankees GM Brian Cashman told New York reporters Friday morning. "It's a team concept. Some people are harder to replace than others. But don't think [any player] is going to make or break your future.''
The Yankees, who already spent $238 million on outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and catcher Brian McCann, now will turn their attention to the rest of the free-agent class, a high-ranking Yankee official told USA TODAY Sports.
The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because the deal has not yet been announced.
They will be in active negotiations with outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran, infielders Stephen Drew and Omar Infante, and Japanese star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, if he's posted.
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Simply, the Yankees believe, not even their fan base can blame them for passing on Cano, not at that pricetag.
They're already seeing first-hand how 10-year contracts can destruct a payroll with $86 million remaining on Rodriguez's 10-year, $275 million deal.
They are taking the high road, wishing Cano the best, and certainly understand why the Mariners shelled out so much money.
Come on, a Yankees' official said, they're the last ones in the plant who can ever ridicule a team for exorbitant contract.
The Texas Rangers wanted to make a splash 10 years ago when they signed Rodriguez to his original 10-year, $252 million contract, and now the Mariners have produced a tidal wave.
They were desperate to be relevant again on the baseball landscape with four consecutive losing seasons and a 12-year playoff drought.
Nothing can change that perception more than money.
And the Mariners, fresh off a $2 billion TV deal with only ace Felix Hernandez on the books beyond the 2014 season, have plenty to burn.
They hope that Cano not only can resurrect their offense, but become their top recruiting tool for other free agents. The Mariners, according to a club official, still would like to bring in either Beltran or slugger Mike Napoli.
And, oh yeah, with the acquisition of Cano, they now have the pieces to go after the ultimate pitching prize: Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price, who's on the trade block.
The Mariners can package 21-year-old pitcher Taijuan Walker and infielders Nick Franklin and Brad Miller in a deal to entice the Rays to unload Price. It would give them a powerful 1-2-3 punch with Hernandez, Price and Hisashi Iwakuma.
No matter what transpires, the Mariners' eliminated the days of being used as a stalking horse in free-agent negotiations. They watched Prince Fielder and Josh Hamilton spurn them the last two years, and outfielder Justin Upton veto a trade.
Now, after producing the fourth-worst offense in the American League last season, they have the finest second baseman in baseball and one of the top five players in the game in Cano. He's a career .309 hitter who has averaged 28 homers and 103 RBI the last five seasons, and finished fifth in the AL MVP voting last year with his 27 homers and 107 RBI.
"I always felt there would be a time where we have to augment this club," Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said on a Wednesday conference call. "I think we're at that time. With the players you currently have on your club, what you'd love to be able to do is bring in some extra players. I think I have a lot of (financial) support."
Yes, even at the tune of $240 million over 10 years.
"I don't think anybody loves them," Zduriencik said of long-term contracts Wednesday. "I don't think that's the case with anybody in baseball. Any kind of deal you can get on a short term, there's more surety to it and less risk. But then there's also the market that plays into it.
"You've seen these things go the way they go. You have to adapt to the market. In some cases, if you have to stretch more than you want, then you just have to, and there's not much you can do about it."
The Mariners proved that Friday, the moment a franchise's perception immediately changed.
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