Robinson Cano agreed to a monster 10-year, $240 million contract with the Seattle Mariners on Friday, a move that will have him drinking Starbucks and staring at the Space Needle until, theoretically, he's 41.
Here's a question: What number will he wear? Did Jay-Z — Cano's rookie agent who snagged him all those millions — get a contract clause about the number on Cano's back?
You see, Cano has worn No. 24 most of his career. It's Jackie Robinson's number reversed, and Cano was named after Robinson, so it makes sense. In Seattle, though, No. 24 is associated with one man — the Mariners' original megastar, Ken Griffey Jr.
Griffey was inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame earlier this season, but his number hasn't been retired yet. It will be. It should be. Just not yet. After everyone heard about Cano's money, 24 became the next most interesting number. Even Washington Nationals young star Bryce Harper chimed in.
Biggest question is Cano going to be able to wear #24? Congrats to him! He deserves it! #M's
— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) December 6, 2013
Bryce is right here. It doesn't matter how much money the Mariners are paying Cano, No. 24 absolutely belongs to Griffey, retired or not. Griffey isn't just the biggest star the franchise has ever had, he was the face of baseball for an entire generation. His career didn't reach the heights some dreamed it would. But Griffey's a Hall of Famer and at the height of his popularity he was — much like Jay-Z — the coolest guy around. Every kid holding a baseball bat in those days tried to emulate that smooth swing.
We suspect that since Cano was a teenager when Griffey was at his peak, that Robbie will share this sentiment. Perhaps Cano can wear No. 22 again. He wore that his first two seasons with the Yankees, before switching to 24 when Roger Clemens joined the team and wanted 22. Perhaps he'll wear 99 in honor of Jay-Z having one fewer problem.
Or heck, maybe Jay-Z negotiated a way for Cano to wear No. 240. That number is going to be clinging to his back forever anyway.
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