It was one of the biggest stories of the off-season. Robinson Cano leaves the New York Yankees and moves to the Seattle Mariners.
Cano had been with the Yankees since 2005, and many fans believed he would end his career with the Pinstripes just as Derek Jeter will do at the end of this season and Mariano Rivera did last year.
Fans were aware that he was seeking a new contract and that the Yankees weren't willing to give him the 10-year deal that he desperately wanted. However, when it was announced that he had signed to Jay-Z's agency, fans were hopeful again.
Jay-Z is one of the most famous supporters of the Yankees and Cano was the best player on the team, it seemed inconceivable that he would leave.
Eventually, Cano found the 10-year deal he wanted, but away from the Big Apple. Seattle made him an offer he couldn't refuse and he moved from East to West.
Since then, however, the Yankees have been busy. They signed Jacoby Ellsbury, Masahiro Tanaka, Carlos Beltran, Brian Roberts and Brian McCann in the off-season all to replace one man. 50 games into the 2014 season and the improvements made by the Yankees have been clear to everybody.
Last year was a struggle, with just about every player picking up an injury at some point or another, meaning that at times the Yankees were stretched incredibly thin. Cano was one of very few who managed to stay injury-free. He led the Yankees in batting average, home runs and RBI's and at times single-handedly won them games. As he continues to make his mark in Seattle, the Yankees are showing that the business they did has paid them back almost instantly.
They currently sit second in the AL East, two games behind the Toronto Blue Jays, but they look like a team desperate to make up for last season.
Ellsbury has continued with the form he displayed in Boston for many years and the Yankees will be delighted to have found a lead-off hitter that teams fear.
Tanaka has been a revelation. Coming over from Japan is never easy, particularly if you’re first team is in the bright lights of New York. The pitcher already has seven wins to his name this year and has strengthened a pitching department that struggled last year.
Roberts may not have anywhere near the offensive capabilities that Cano had, but the second baseman is a very good defensive player and has proved his worth by making a number of excellent plays to keep his side in games.
The power comes from Beltran and McCann. Both players are more than capable of hitting 20+ home runs this year, which goes a long way to filling the gap left by Cano’s 27 last year.
For the Yankees, making the postseason is crucial. Anything less will be seen as a failure. They are a long way off being the dominant force they were in the late 1990s, but the nightmare of losing Cano has the potential to make New York fans dreams come true.
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