The Mets appear to hold Robinson Cano in high esteem. Will that trust and high regard be returned in equal measure by his play on the field?
Mets second baseman Robinson Cano can be an easy target. Blessed with exceptional athletic talent, he can be seen casually floating through the most challenging plays in the field.
Cano’s “swing” at the plate is natural and non-violent. And occasionally, he sees no purpose in the running to first base at full speed on a weak grounder to the shortstop.
Robinson Cano: A Charge Thru The Numbers
It cannot be denied that Robinson Cano has finished in the Top Ten in the MVP voting six times, or that he owns a lifetime batting average over .300, has amassed 2,570 base hits, and is an eight-time All-Star as a big leaguer.
Still, the bane that has followed Cano’s career is that with all that talent, there should be more on his resume, including the fact he has never led his league in any offensive category – ever.
Similarly, the year Robinson Cano had following his trade to the Mets cannot be labeled as weak.
It’s just that it’s hard to find a way in which he made a difference to a team that struggled through the first half of 2019.
And yes, the Mets organization and they are the only entity that counts in this conversation, saw fit to consult the opinion of Robinson Cano during the interview process that led to the hiring of Luis Rojas.
Cano: At 37, What Is Reasonable?
Robinson Cano will play the 2020 season at age 37, and barring unforeseen circumstances, he will retire from baseball as a New York Mets at age 40 after collecting $96 million from the team.
At 37, Cano or any player cannot be expected to produce numbers the same as when he was 27, in which as a New York Yankee he played in 160 games, hit .319, had 200 hits, with 29 home runs and 109 RBI.
That is not going to happen. But the trade-off for the stature the Mets have granted to Cano (justifiably) must be more than the 107 games he played in last year while hitting only .256 with 13 home runs and 39 RBI over more than 400 at-bats.
This becomes even more cemented when you recall all those games Cano missed last year before the Mets caught fire in the second half.
When all of a sudden, the immaculate healing took place, and no one could believe – there was Robinson Cano taking batting practice, proclaiming he’s ready to go.
This, despite circulating reports declaring Robinson Cano’s season all but over following a torn hamstring on August 5.
The Mets have a lineup in place that will score runs and wreak havoc among National League pitchers – with or without Cano. But they are a far better team with Robinson Cano on the field.
Imagine if this were the norm…
Cano: Mets Don’t Care, But Let’s Assume He’s Selfish
But therein lies the key. At 37 or not, and for $24 million, Cano must play. Otherwise, if he goes down, Jeff McNeil is moved to second base, and J.D. Davis is brought in to play third base, creating an infield defensive liability (Davis).
Moreover, the Mets have to be hoping that a player with only one World Series title to his credit over fifteen big-league seasons, is self-motivated to do what it takes to earn another with the Mets – before time runs out.
It even goes beyond that, though. From a purely selfish standpoint, Robinson Cano stands only 430 hits from the vaunted Baseball Hall of Fame mark of 3,000.
Cano had 100 hits last year for the Mets. He needs only to average 108 hits over the next four years to meet the standard.
And if he can up the previous year’s production to 150 hits, he merely needs to average 90 hits for his final three seasons.
And so, whether or not the Mets have strategically placed Cano in the spotlight by consulting with him regarding front office decisions, it all falls back on Cano to prove them right.
Ironically, nothing has changed. Despite the numbers produced, expectations did not meet the results, and Robinson Cano is once again on trial.
$240,000 for every base hit produced by Robinson Cano in 2019 does not match any test of the value assigned to a major league ballplayer of that stature.
It has to be more in 2020…