The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
Robinson Cano, don't ya know!

Yankees broadcaster John Sterling has a signature home run call for each of the Yankees players. During the time Robinson Cano was the star second baseman for the Yankees, he hit his share of round-trippers, prompting Sterling each time to shout out, “Robbie Cano, don’t ya know!” He was on a pace to get a plaque in Cooperstown, as he was among the top six in the voting for American League MVP for five consecutive years ending in 2014.


Apparently, Cano doesn’t know or care about PED use, since he was recently suspended from baseball for the entire 2021 season for testing positive for the performance enhancement drug Stanolozol. His 162-game suspension comes as a result of his second PED violation, having tested positive for a diuretic in May 2018. He wound up sitting out 80 games then.


Well, Cano can forget about Cooperstown now. He can forget about his $24 million salary for 2021. He previously had to forfeit $11.7 million for his first transgression in 2018. For most people, they get wiser with age. That adage doesn’t seem to apply to Cano.


He’ll be 39 years old when he returns for the 2022 season, and the demand for his aging skills will likely be greatly diminished. The Mets plan to move on without him, reportedly in the hunt for free-agent second baseman DJ LeMahieu. If successful, the Mets may have to wind up eating the $48 million owed Cano for 2022 and 2023. However, for new Mets owner Steve Cohen, the richest in the majors, that may be not be a big problem.


Cano’s situation is extremely disappointing. He’s a ballplayer with loads of talent. He made the game look easy, especially with his side-armed flip to first base on ground balls. He was destined for stardom early in his career. In his 2005 debut season, he was runner-up for Rookie of the Year honors. He secured an All-Star Game berth in his second season, when he hit .342. When the Yankees last won a World Series in 2009, he had an impressive slash line of .320/.352/.520 and finished second in total bases (331) on an outstanding offensive team. In addition to being a perennial top candidate for MVP honors, Cano was a five-time all-star with the Yankees.


Cano entered free agency after the 2013 season as a hot commodity. Even with the Yankees already sporting a $233 million payroll for 2014, including huge salaries for Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, CC Sabathia, Alfonso Soriano, Mark Teixiera, and Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees still offered Cano a seven-year deal valued at $175 million. However, he chose to go with Seattle who gave him a $240 million, 10-year deal.


Cano had three all-star seasons with Seattle, although the team needed to fill other holes on its roster to be competitive. After his first PED suspension in 2018, Mets GM Brody Van Wagenen, formerly a player agent, acquired his former client in a seven-player deal. In the abbreviated 2020 season, Cano remained a productive hitter with a .316/.352/.544 slash line with 10 homers and 30 RBIs in 49 games. With Cohen’s purchase of the Mets franchise and his stated pursuit of a world championship, Cano won’t be a factor in the short term.


Cano is the second-best second baseman in Yankees history, better than Joe Gordon but behind Tony Lazzeri. Don’t you know he could have had a plaque in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium, if his career hadn’t become marred with the PED-related suspensions? Evidently, Robbie didn’t care about that, but forfeiting $35 million was just plain dumb.

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