As if the Mets don’t have enough on their plate, Robinson Cano’s one-year suspension from baseball is over, but not the drama and baggage…
The Mets have an offseason to-do list filled with risk, volume, and a sense of immediacy, especially pertaining to their number one priority: finding and hiring a Director of Baseball Operations.
Lurking beneath the surface, however, is the return of Robinson Cano, and ready or not, he will fill one of the precious spots on the Mets’ active roster when they take the field on Opening Day, 2022.
The Saga Of Robinson Cano
Cano is a twice-convicted cheater for using substances banned by MLB. Commissioner Rob Manfred went easy on Cano after a lifetime ban, suspending him for all of the 2021 season.
Robinson Cano, in the vernacular, has “done his time,” and he will rejoin the Mets in Port St. Lucie when Spring Training opens in February.
At 39, Cano has two years remaining on a contract with the Mets that will pay him $20 million a season after Seattle kicks in $4 million.
Without even getting to the more critical issues surrounding Cano’s impact on the Mets, what use does the team have for him, save for pinch-hitting duties?
Mets: Weighing The Cano Impact
I’ll answer my question – none. Moreover, how well does anyone think Cano will adapt, let alone accept, that role?
Francisco Lindor, the Mets self-appointed team spokesman, has “suggested” that before Cano rejoins the team, he “owes his teammates and fans an apology.”
That may be true and the decent thing for Cano to do, but Lindor’s comment signals the root of potential fracture within the Mets, dividing themselves into pro and con Cano groups.
Robinson Cano has always been about Robinson Cano. He and he alone is the reason why the Yankees laughed at his demands for a new contract, letting him go with a kick in the butt.
Leaving it to the Seattle Mariners, who forked over ten years for $240 million, only to jump at the chance when the Mets offered to take him off their hands five years later, a deal in which the Mets surrendered not one, but two 1st round draft picks.
Engineered by then Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen, the trade was met with wide and skeptical eyes throughout baseball.
Put your baseball cap on for a minute and consider this: Will Robinson Cano do enough to make a difference for the Mets in 2022?
How often will that sweet swing be offset by numerous trots to first base on a ground ball to shortstop? How will Cano’s ego clash with Lindor in the clubhouse, and how will Pete Alonso, the Mets All-American Boy, adjust to playing alongside Cano, a cheater who still denies doing anything wrong.
Mets: At-Bat Is Steve Cohen
None of it matters, though, because Cano is under contract with the Mets through next year. Short of finding a patsy team to trade him to, the only alternative is to release Cano, which means eating $40 million.
That, my friends, is precisely where Steve Cohen is needed.
Cohen’s fortune is estimated to be $14 billion, give or take. To “eat” Cano’s $40 million will cost him .003 of one percent of that $14 billion.
In return, though, Cohen will receive accolades from many Mets fans who see him as a toxic presence on the team.
Though not as vocal, Mets players will also applaud Cohen for stepping up a way that eliminates the need for the new Mets manager to babysit Cano through the twilight years of his career while receiving little if any on-the-field production from Cano.
As indicated before, the Mets have more than enough on their plate, including front office vacancies to fill, internal free agents to sign or let go, and eleven players to deal with when the arbitration process begins.
For his part, Robinson plans on playing winter ball in his home country of the Dominican Republic, according to a report from ESPN’s Hector Gomez.
It’ll be interesting to see if Cano follows through on those “plans” and if he does, the degree of effort he puts in while Cano is tied to the Mets no matter what he does down there.
Go ahead, Mr. Cohen – upset Cano’s apple cart. The Mets will be better off if you do.