Robinson Cano Contract: Down to Last Strike?

Veteran on Free-Agent Market Following Release by Mets

Options Appear Limited for Cano

What a difference a couple of years can make. When Robinson Cano hit .316 in 49 games during the 2020 season, there were those who wondered if he would be with the New York Mets in his pursuit to join the 3,000-hit club.

Now, the eight-time All-Star second baseman is without a team after the Mets released him over the weekend. The question now is whether another team will offer Cano a contract.

Cano was acquired by the Mets along with closer Edwin Diaz from Seattle for five players, including former No. 1 draft pick Jarred Kelenic. Kelenic is the only one of those players still with the Mariners while Diaz remains a key member of New York’s bullpen.

Cano was batting .195 with one extra-base hit in 43 plate appearances at the time of his release. A career .302 hitter, Cano has 2,632 career hits and is a two-time Gold Glove-winning second baseman. Cano is also 39 years old and that leaves his baseball future up in the air.

Here’s a look at Cano’s options.

Call it a Career

The top betting odds (+200) are trending toward Cano not signing with another team. He would be taking playing time away from a younger player and that would prevent a team from aiding in the development of one of their infielders.

Cano didn’t show much this season to make a team jump at signing him, even if he had hits in three of his final four games with the Mets. He also struck out five times in 15 at-bats in those four games and didn’t have an extra-base hit in his final seven contests.

A contending team that gets bitten by the injury bug might want to take a chance on signing Cano to provide a veteran left-handed bat. However, at the current time, Cano’s time in the majors seems to be over with no team ready to offer him a contract.

Blue Jays Lead the Pack

The Toronto Blue Jays have the top odds at +300 to sign Cano. It certainly wouldn’t be to fill an infield position. The team spent plenty of money bringing in third baseman Matt Chapman from Oakland. Chapman is hitting .200, which sounds about right considering that he batted .210 in his final season with the Athletics.

Shortstop Bo Bichette is at the center of Toronto’s present and future plans while second baseman Sergio Espinal is hitting .269. The team also needs to find at-bats for Cavan Biggio when he is activated off the COVID-19 list.

Toronto has a .237 team batting average and is last in the majors with an average of .187 with runners in scoring position. Would the addition of Cano help fix those issues? Probably not.

Ailing White Sox Could be Option

There aren’t many teams who have dealt with more injuries than the Chicago White Sox. They are currently without outfielders Andrew Vaughn, who is tied for the team lead with four home runs despite missing 12 games, Eloy Jiminez and first baseman Yermin Mercedes.

Chicago hasn’t been shy about adding players over the age of 30 to the roster, with 34-year-olds Josh Harrison and AJ Pollock joining Jose Abreu, 35, and 33-year-old Yasmani Grandal, 33, as key hitters for the White Sox.

Chicago just got Yoan Moncada back into the lineup and, barring any future mishaps, there doesn’t seem to be much of a place for Cano.

Surprising Twins Eyeing Reinforcements?

Minnesota is the surprise leader in the American League Central Division. However, first baseman Miguel Sano is sidelined with a knee injury and when he was in the lineup, he was hitting .083 with 21 strikeouts in 54 at-bats.

Third baseman Gio Urshela has just three extra-base hits and a .232 batting average. Infielders Carlos Correa and Luis Arraez have missed time already.

Urshela, 30, is the oldest position player on the Twins. Circumstances would likely have to change for Cano to become a Twin even if Minnesota has the third-best odds to sign Cano at +500.

Slumping Marlins Need Help

Miami has just one win in the first nine games in May. What is harder for the Marlins to deal with is the fact that their last seven losses have come by one run. Adding a veteran bat might help out. However, second baseman Jazz Chisholm isn’t going anywhere and third baseman Joey Wendle is also a key piece of the 2022 Marlins. Cano won’t be moving to shortstop at age 39.

Once again, it would probably take a long-term injury to a key player for Miami to add Cano to the roster. The odds of that happening are currently at +800.

Are Big Spenders Willing to Take a Chance?

When it comes to a team willing to open up the checkbook to sign a veteran during a pennant race, the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers are normally the top candidates.

A reunion with the Yankees would be a nice story, but the Yankees have plenty of infielders, making it unlikely they would offer Cano a contract even if he did spend his first 10 MLB seasons with the team. Boston is sitting in last place in the AL East and only the Detroit Tigers have a worse winning percentage among AL teams. Perhaps the Red Sox will look to make a move, but with Rafael Devers at third base, Xander Bogaerts at shortstop and key offseason acquisition Trevor Story at second base, where does Cano fit?

The Dodgers have the best record in the majors and could be the best team in baseball. While second baseman Max Muncy and third baseman Justin Turner are hitting .136 and .168, former first-round pick Gavin Lux would seem to be a better option for more at-bats if Muncy and Turner continue to struggle than adding a 39-year-old player off the waiver wire.

The odds of those big-market teams taking a chance on Cano range from +1800 to +3300.

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