Robinson Cano Should Accept Assignment To Triple-A
Back in 2001, things weren’t going well for Steve Trachsel. Over his first eight starts with the New York Mets, he was 1-6 with an 8.24 ERA averaging 4.2 innings per start. With that struggle, the Mets approached him and asked him to go down to Triple-A to get himself right.
For Trachsel, he didn’t want to lose a spot in the rotation and move to the bullpen. In the end, Trachsel accepted the assignment saying, “It’s going to make me better. In the long run, that’s a good thing.” (Tyler Keper, New York Times).
It turned out to be the best thing for him. After that rough start, he would go 10-7 with a 3.35 ERA over his final 20 starts. That included a two hit complete game shut out in his final start of the season. From there, Trachsel would go on to have a solid Mets career highlighted by two one-hitters during the 2003 season.
Fast-forward 21 years, and the Mets are facing a conundrum with Robinson Cano.
Due to the altered roster rules resulting from the lockout, the Mets have to pare down their roster from 28 to 26 by the end of this month. In all likelihood, that means they need to drop one pitcher and one position player. If this was Spring Training, the answer to that would probably be Travis Jankowski, but he has shown his value to this team, and it is highly unlikely he will be designated for assignment.
That leaves Dominic Smith, who has an option, and Cano, who is easily the worst player on the roster right now. If this was purely merit based, the answer would be Cano. Before delving deeper into that, the question is what does Cano want for himself?
At the moment, Cano’s bat has been slow, and his legs are even slower. His defense has slipped entirely. He’s chasing pitches he never chased in his career, and he looks like he’s just about done. You have to imagine Cano doesn’t want his career to end like this.
It should be noted Cano missed the entirety of the 2021 season due to a PED suspension. He did play in the Winter Leagues, but he has nowhere near the amount of at-bats needed to get into a rhythm and shake off the rust. Truth be told, he’s not going to get that with the Mets.
The team is deploying Luis Guillorme when there are groundball pitchers on the mound. The DH spot is being used to keep their position players fresh and healthy. Jeff McNeil is the regular second baseman, and his bat is not coming out of the lineup. This leaves Cano with no regular playing time, and as a result, he has no ability to get back up to game speed.
If Cano truly wants to get back to being Cano,, this is where accepting an assignment to the minors helps him. At the moment, there isn’t a second base prospect blocking his playing time down at Syracuse. He can go down there and play everyday. He can work to hone his approach much like Joey Votto did last season. He can get up to game speed and help him stop pressing and flailing away at pitches.
This would be his best avenue to truly get ready to contribute to the 2022 Mets. He can agree to a certain time frame, and in all honesty, there will likely be an injury permitting the team to call him up sooner rather than late.r
If this is about the team and his future, Cano should accept the assignment to Triple-A. Time will tell if this is something he will consider. If it’s offered, he should accept it.