Robinson Cano Is Back, Now What?
Robinson Cano came back, and he apparently offered an apology to the team and the press. Now, he wouldn’t tell us why he took the PEDs, but he said he might tell us one day. Of course, the answer was to return to form, but we’ll let him say it or his other excuse another day.
According to Buck Showalter, Cano is a guy who can hit until he is 50. That was actually something we used to say about former Met Julio Franco, and he nearly did. What is notable with Franco was he was a solid pinch hitter and clubhouse presence for that 2006 NL East winning New York Mets team. In some ways, you could compare him to 1985 Rusty Staub.
Of course, that pinch hitting role doesn’t quite exist anymore, at least, not in the same way it used to exist. Now, we have the universal DH. As a result, you’re not quite burning that guy who should be pinch hitting and not quite stepping on the field. Even if these Mets seem to acknowledge a sunk cost, it is difficult to imagine them paying Cano $20.25 million to fulfill that role.
That begs the question as to what his role will be. Jeff McNeil was announced as the starter for second base, which as we all know, is Cano’s position. The Mets gave Eduardo Escobar starter money, and as a result, we can assume he will be the everyday third baseman. That pretty much leaves Cano with either the DH or a utility role.
On the later, Cano is said to be working at second and first. We know he has played some third, and there are indications he could be good there. However, lost in all of that is the fact Cano is 39 and did not play at all last year. Overall, we don’t know where his conditioning is and just how much he can withstand the 162 game grind anymore.
Maybe, Cano can be the DH. However, the Mets have Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith. There is also the fact their starting outfield of Brandon Nimmo, Starling Marte, and Mark Canha have all had durability issues in their career, and they could probably use the DH break every now and then while the Mets keep their bats in the lineup.
In the end, there is really no clear role for Cano. Ultimately, that may just mean Cano sits around with the Mets picking and choosing his spots until an injury happens or someone struggles necessitating Cano to be plugged into the lineup. Whatever the case, Cano’s role isn’t so much a problem for this team inasmuch as it is something which needs addressing to make sure it won’t be an issue during the season.