Robinson Cano was the last person into his press conference Thursday afternoon at Safeco Field.
He came in through a side door with a wide smile. He sat in the middle with his No. 22 jersey hanging behind him. He had just finished signing his 10-year, $240 million contract that is designed to keep him in Seattle past his 40th birthday.
Let’s get to some news, notes and quotes from the day:
> Cano often said signing with Seattle was not about the money.
“A lot of people say it was the money, ” Cano said. “It wasn’t about the money. It was more about the years. The contract that I get finish my career … play here for the next 10 years, finish my career. Not worry about anything.”
> He often said he thought the Mariners are on the right track, and that he doesn’t feel pressure from the massive contract.
“I know it’s going to take maybe a few years, but it’s a contract of 10 years,” Cano said. “We’re going to have time to build a championship team.”
> Cano’s agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, said the list of teams pursuing Cano started at about 25. It was reduced to nine or 10, then five, then three. He was asked about the gap between the Mariners’ offer and that of the runner-up for Cano.
“I’m not going to get into that,” Van Wagenen said.
> There were also reports out of New York that Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln and Cano’s representatives had a rift. Van Wagenen called that “make believe” and said Cano and the Mariners had agreed to terms the night before (Thursday, Dec. 5) those stories came out in New York.
> Cano wore No. 24 from 2006 on with the Yankees. He’ll wear 22 with the Mariners. He was asked if he contacted Ken Griffey Jr. about wearing 24, which is yet to be retired.
“No. No. I would never talk to him about 24. He’s a guy you have to show respect. If that happened, it would have to come from him. Says, you know what? You can use it. We know what he means to this city, who he was and what kind of player. Future Hall of Famer. You don’t go to a Hall of Famer and ask, ‘Can I use your number?’”
> One of the things stressed by Cano and Jack Zduriencik was the length of the contract was crucial. Zduriencik said he didn’t think a 7- or 8-year deal would have gotten it done. Cano, 31, talked about not wanting to wonder what was next when he was 37 or 38 years old.
> Both Zduriencik and Van Wagenen argued that the front of Cano’s deal will actually be viewed as a bargain, evening out the back-end when he will be paid $24 million annually into his 40s.
> Cano was asked if he thought the Yankees wanted him back.
“Honestly, I would say no. I didn’t feel respect,” he said.
> Cano said he talked to Felix Hernandez on the phone before signing. Hernandez told him the Mariners would treat him like family if he came to Seattle. Cano visited once, for a three-hour meeting, at the end of negotiations.
> Cano said he does not feel pressure to perform from his contract. Actually, kind of the opposite. Now that it is settled and is so long, he can just go out and play.
> When told Safeco Field has a reputation for suppressing hitters, Cano mentioned Griffey and Alex Rodriguez, then said, “Not everyone is the same.”
> Zduriencik said this move leaves Brad Miller and Nick Franklin, who, both from Florida, have been friends for years, to battle for the starting shortstop spot. He also said the Mariners are still in pursuit of a right-handed bat, plus more pitching.