When Robinson Cano left the Yankees he was one of the best players in the game. He’s returned to New York as an absolute disaster for the Mets.
When the Mets front office designed to swing a deal to bring Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano to the Big Apple this offseason they knew Cano was no longer a superstar. They did hope he could still hit like an above average regular for the remainder of his lucrative contract. It looks like the Mets were dead wrong.
There’s still time for the 36-year-old second baseman to turn things around, but he’s not showing any meaningful signs of life. Through 36 games, he’s been a net negative for his team. There was never any logical optimism that he’d be a plus defender at his age, but there was hope inside the Mets’ front office that he could still be an impactful hitter in the middle of the team’s lineup.
His batting average of .250 on the season isn’t horrendous, but the same can’t be said for his peripheral hitting statistics. His OBP is languishing below 300 and he only has three home runs to his credit on the year. Add it all up and Cano has only managed to prove to be a slight positive with the bat in his hands with a oWAR of 0.4.
Cano’s work in the field hasn’t been nearly as good. He is capable of making routine plays at second base, but his lack of range makes him a significant negative with his glove. His defensive shortcomings are the reason why his overall WAR on the season is -0.1.
If Cano isn’t a positive player for the Mets now, it’s very unlikely he’s going to do any better as he gets older. That’s a severe problem for New York since he still has $96 million guaranteed to him over the next four seasons. Cano’s play on the diamond will only continue to get worse which will make his contract a millstone around the franchise’s neck until it finally expires.
Sadly, Cano’s effort level on the field might be an even bigger issue for the Mets. He’s been called out for his lack of hustle running to first on two occasions in the team’s last three games. Cano has never been what anyone would consider to be a high-effort player, but it seems that his effort issues have worsened since his return to New York City.
That isn’t acceptable for any team in MLB, but it’s particularly damaging for a team like the Mets who are underachieving this season. They need their veteran players to model the right way to play the game for their younger stars. Cano is clearly unwilling to serve as any sort of positive role model.
The Mets front office doesn’t deserve any sympathy here. They know the risk they were assuming when they elected to trade for Cano this offseason. At the moment, the high-priced second baseman is killing the team. Things will only get worse over the next several seasons.