Rounding Third: Seattle finally gets its man

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Philadelphia, PA ( - So maybe Jay Z knew what he was doing all along?

After what must have been a wild 24 hours in the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle Mariners finally landed a big time free agent and Robinson Cano got his 10-year deal after all, as the All-Star second baseman bolted New York for $240 million.


On Thursday it appeared as if Cano was signed, sealed and delivered to the Mariners to the tune of 9-years and somewhere around $225 million. But, reports started to circulate early on Friday that those talks broke off after Jay Z demanded a 10th year and another $25 million or so.

Mariners' executives were apparently so miffed at the suggestion that they walked away from the table. But, cooler heads ultimately prevailed and on Friday the Mariners realized this was a guy they just couldn't turn down.

Two-hundred and forty million dollars for a player like Cano seems like an awful lot, but the Mariners weren't going to get him with the 7-year, $175 million the Yankees offered.

Seattle had to overpay and boy did it.

The deal matches Albert Pujols for the third-largest contract in baseball history, trailing only Alex Rodriguez���s 10-year, $275 million pact with the Yankees in 2007 and A-Rod's 10-year, $252 million deal with the Texas Rangers in 2001.

It certainly wasn't a price the Yankees were willing to pay and they are a team that has shelled out nearly a quarter of a billion dollars this offseason. All through this process you never got the feeling that Cano was a player that the Yankees coveted. In fact how many times have the Yankees let a player get away who they didn't want? It rarely happens which makes this whole process so puzzling, especially when they gave Jacoby Ellsbury $153 million.

While the Yankees didn't want to go there, the Mariners had to go there.

Every year we have heard Seattle is in on this guy, or will meet with that guy, only come up short in the end on every big name free agent. Yes the Mariners will likely regret this signing at some point, but maybe, just maybe this deal will help get some other free agents to call Seattle their home.

The Mariners owed it to Felix Hernandez, who has thrived for years in Seattle without a big bat in his lineup. Let's be honest having Cano in the middle of the lineup will make it a lot easier on the Mariners trying to sell the Emerald City to lefty David Price.

Because everything in my life goes back to the New York Knicks, I'll compare this deal to when they signed Amare Stoudemire. The Knicks had been through one of the worst stretches in franchise history and couldn't get anyone to play there. After being spurned by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, Stoudemire came to MSG for crazy money and guess what? Carmelo Anthony came not too long after.

Now you can say that's not ideal either, but the bottom line is stars want to play with stars. Of course the Knicks regret the STAT signing now, but they wouldn't have Melo or even Tyson Chandler without him.

Or maybe it's nothing like that and I'm just obsessed with the Knicks.

Either way, Cano got his money and while everyone was ready to pounce on the Jigga Man Friday morning, you now have to tip your hat to Jay Z. It may not be $300 million, but if you would have told me a month ago that Cano would have received a $240 million deal I would have said you were nuts.

Robinson Cano was never going to be remembered as a great Yankee. As good as he is, he's barely, if at all, in the top-5 Yankees of this generation. Think about that for a second.

When Jay Z became his agent most, including myself, figured that it would be a fait accompli that Cano would stick with New York. Then you started hearing things like he was going to be marketed as the sport's Michael Jordan.

And as absurd as the notion is to begin with, that never would have been able to happen in New York. Not while Derek Jeter is around. Yes Jeter's time is dwindling, but he casts an awfully large shadow and will for some time.

If Cano wanted to be marketed as the best player in baseball, as crazy as it sounds, he had to leave New York.

Does Cano make the Mariners, a team that lost 91 games last season, a playoff team? No, but it's the first step to getting back there and when they do finally get back to the postseason, they can point to this day.

So, anything left for next week's Winter Meetings?