Robinson Cano’s time with the New York Mets has gotten off to a rocky start. As he continues to reach new milestones, there’s little reason for fans to get excited.
Robinson Cano has had an incredible MLB career. As a top-ten second baseman all-time statistically, the New York Mets veteran is a potential Hall of Fame candidate. Before his 2018 suspension for testing positive for a PED masking agent, he was a lock. This potentially fatal error in judgment could cost him.
Long before we debate the merits of putting Cano in Cooperstown, he’ll achieve more milestones. This year, he already passed 2,500 career hits. Before his time with the Mets is through, he may reach 3,000.
Do Mets fans have much reason to enjoy it, though? More than 1,600 of them came as a member of the New York Yankees. If Cano is limping to the finish line with “compiler stats” to reach the milestone, there’s even less of a reason to enjoy the accomplishment.
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Cano’s time with the Amazins has not gotten off to a good start. What the Mets potentially gave up in the trade, his production at the plate, and the salary owed to him which will undoubtedly prevent the franchise from spending elsewhere all factor into a dislike of his presence. It also doesn’t help to see him lightly jog to first base—or not run at all on strike threes dropped by the catcher.
I think most Mets fans appreciate what he has done as a professional baseball player. Should any really care about what happens moving forward if it doesn’t help the team win?
Often, major league players smack their history-making hits on a team they only spend a brief period with. Wade Boggs was with the Tampa Bay Rays when he got number 3,000. Rickey Henderson was a member of the San Diego Padres at this same milestone.
No player has ever secured hit number 3,000 while wearing a Mets uniform. Cano is the likeliest to do it. And if the team isn’t winning and he’s underperforming in the process, why should anyone care?
When Gary Sheffield hit number 500 of his career as a member of the Mets back in 2009, there was a different feel. Sheffield played only one year with the Amazins. His purpose wasn’t to be a backbone of the organization. As a 40-year-old who signed with the Mets the day before their opener, he was simply a piece they couldn’t resist adding after the Detroit Tigers released him with $14 million still owed.
Cano’s stint with the Mets is much different. He was brought to Queens with the idea that he had a few seasons left in him. It was Brodie Van Wagenen’s big first move. In every way we could possibly imagine, it has been a major fatality.
I’m not sure there has ever been a player in baseball history in this situation. Even those who clung a few years too long to a major league career received standing ovations when they reached their milestones. I can’t say Cano will receive the same treatment.
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Cano can mend his reputation by playing harder. He doesn’t need to be the player he once was. Even if this trade remains an epic disaster, some sense of caring is all the fans need from him to appreciate his future accomplishments. Otherwise, expect an awkward silence when a milestone flashes on the Citi Field scoreboard to acknowledge these feats.