Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Is it time for a Robinson Cano/Yankees reunion? I say yes!

Two years ago around this time, the Yankees were backing up the Brinks' truck to Jacoby Ellsbury's house, while they were pleading poverty to Robinson Cano. So how has that decision worked out so far? Horribly, I say.

Since the Yankees let Cano walk, something I was furious about at the time and am still peeved over, second base has been a disaster for the Yankees, most notably with Brian Cashman's and Joe Girardi's dogged insistence on playing Stephen Drew day in and day out. It took Drew suffering a vestibular concussion for him to finally get benched towards the end of the season last year. (Speaking of which, I think something might be wrong with Cashman's brain after all that bicycling without a helmet he does that he brags about, but I digress!)

Anyhow, there's been a lot of talk about Cano lately in this town. First, there were rumors that he might be traded for Ellsbury, rumors that have heated up again recently. Then Andy Van Slyke, former first-base coach for the Seattle Mariners, gave the worst exit interview ever after getting fired. Not only did he tell the world that Clayton Kershaw wants the Dodgers to dump Yasiel Puig (that gossip apparently courtesy of his son Scott, who is on LA.) But Van Slyke also claimed that Cano was "the single worst third-place, everyday player I’ve ever seen – I’ve ever seen for the first half of a baseball season," that he "couldn’t drive home Miss Daisy if he tried," and that he "played the worst defense I’ve ever seen at second base." Hyperbole much, dude?

Van Slyke also placed the blame for the mass firing of Seattle's manager and coaches at the feet of Cano's 2015 performance. Hmmmm. I think having a new general manager might have had a little something to do with it, but what do I know?

Granted, Cano's first half numbers for last year were putrid: .251/.290/.330, with only 6 homers and 30 RBI. But his second half numbers were very good, and that's *with* playing with a double hernia: .331/.387/.540 with 15 HR and 49 RBI. His total numbers were .287/.334/.446, with 21 homers and 79 RBI.

Not a great year for Cano, true, but a heck of a lot better than Stephen Drew's 2015 .201/.381/.652 slash line, and it's also better than Ellsbury's .257/.318/.345 numbers. Plus, Ellsbury missed over 50 games with injuries.  Incidentally, Cano had a variety of health woes in 2015, yet only missed 6 games. But, but, I thought he was a slacker?

At any rate, what does it say about what the Yankees think of Ellsbury, when they benched him in this year's Wild Card game? Not very much, it appears!

The other day, John Harper of the New York Daily News wrote about Cano, and interviewed Rich Donnelly, former Mariners' third-base coach, who also lost his job this fall. He said he would defend Cano "until the end of time" and talked about how Cano played when he was sick:
“I used to get upset when I’d hear people say Robbie didn’t hustle. I’d say, ‘Hell, he shouldn’t even be in the lineup.’ Robbie would always tell everybody, ‘I’m fine, I’m fine.’
In that same article, Harper says that "one long-time friend who spoke to [Cano] recently says the second baseman is not happy in Seattle, especially with a new regime in charge there now, and that he’d love to somehow find his way back to New York."

I would love for Cano to find his way back to New York, too. Even if it means taking on that massive contract. And you know it will happen someday. I'd rather have it happen now, when Cano still has some productive years in him, as opposed to the end of his contract, when he is past his prime.

My friend Sully has said all along that Cano would be back one day. And he recently did a podcast talking about it, and going through the list of how many Yankees have been reunited with the team after leaving. Roger Clemens. Andy Pettitte. Alfonso Soriano. Ramiro Mendoza. Mike Stanton, etc., etc. (He even mentioned names I forgot had two tours with the Yanks, like Charlie Hayes, Homer Bush, and Brian Boehringer!) I think Sully will be proven right, but the question is when.

ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand writes today about the rumors, and gives five reasons why Cano won't be back in the Bronx. Here's No. 2:
"The Bombers have moved on. The Yankees do need a second baseman, but while they very well might add someone this winter, right now their second basemen are Rob Refsnyder and Dustin Ackley."
Oh, please. They were both better than Drew, but Cano is world's better than either of them. And last time I checked, this Yankee team needs some hitting. Do you think A-Rod and Teixeria are going to repeat what they did in 2015 in 2016? I sure don't!

Anyhow, I asked Yankee fan Facebook friends whether they wanted to see Cano back in pinstripes. Most didn't. But I do. And here's something that the Yankees may be considering: marketing purposes. This team is so devoid of stars as of late that they used A-Rod, the player they wanted to dump last winter, in their email marketing pitch for 2016 sales!

Not to mention that the Yanks now have a pennant-winning team in town to compete for ticket sales with. The Yankees drew 3.1 million last year, while the Mets drew 2.5 million. Do you think those numbers are going to change in 2016? I sure do, with the Mets going higher, and the Yanks going lower. Wouldn't putting Cano back in town not only immediately improve the Yankees, but improve ticket sales? And wouldn't that ease the financial hit of bringing him back? Just saying.

Time to bring back Robbie Cano, don't you know! Besides, it would make John Sterling happy! Doesn't that count for something?

What do you think? Tell us about it!

1 comment:

Uncle Mike said...

I think the decision to choose Ellsbury over Cano has worked well. The Yankees have made the Playoffs with Ellsbury but without Cano. The Mariners haven't made the Playoffs with Cano. The Mariners are saddled with Cano's bad contract, the Yankees aren't.

As for second base being a disaster, there is hope on the horizon in Rob Refsnyder. He's better than Stephen Drew now, and he could well be better than Cano next season.

I was going to defend Andy Van Slyke, and say that he knows more about baseball than either of us, but I remember him making some other intemperate comments a few years back, essentially political in nature, so maybe tact isn't his long suit.

Cano should not come back. As long as you have a problem with the huge contracts of Ellsbury, Mark Texieira and CC Sabathia, how can you not have a problem with the huge contract of Robinson Cano? Or, for that matter, of Alex Rodriguez, whose September and October were, yet again, as bad as Cano's first half and Drew's entire season?

Cano is already in decline. The Yankees can't make the same mistake that the Cleveland Indians made. As Terry Pluto put it in his book "The Curse of Rocky Colavito," the worst trade the Tribe ever made was trading Colavito at his peak for Harvey Kuenn, and the second-worst was trading Tommie Agee and Tommie John to get Colavito back past his prime.

As for the Mets' attendance, that will crash as soon as they do, which will probably be right after Opening Day, since they've already given up on Daniel Murphy, and they probably can't keep Yoenis Cespedes, either. There's going to be a LOT of games that their "great" starting pitchers will be unable to win because their best hitters are gone. Unless you want to count on David Wright, who's so bad from Labor Day onward he makes A-Rod look like Mr. October.

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