Having the ability to put Robinson Cano in as the DH in 2021 will allow the New York Mets to make better upgrades at other positions.
Robinson Cano didn’t make a good impression on New York Mets fans in 2019. The veteran second baseman showed exactly why many didn’t want him in the first place. He didn’t high for a high average. He seemed to clog up the three-hole better suited for a more productive bat.
It was clear early on—Cano wasn’t going to have a productive year.
This may not change in 2020 or 2021. However, in the not too distant future, he may actually help the team more by becoming the full-time DH.
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Before you slam your computer shut, throw your cell phone into a river, or create a hashtag to try and cancel me, let’s explain a little more into why Cano isn’t such a bad idea for the DH. To do this, I want to look at what would then happen around him.
In 2020, the Mets have a lot of solid DH options under control. We could see Yoenis Cespedes come back healthy and take on the role. Pete Alonso may also get some at-bats and allow Dominic Smith a chance to play first base.
I won’t disagree with any of those choices and more. But in 2021, moving Cano to the DH spot almost permanently would allow the Mets to do something they haven’t done in a while: make a drastic improvement at third base.
It’s not a shot at Jeff McNeil. He’s perfectly fine over at third base. However, he’s a natural second baseman. It’s the position he was destined to play when reaching the big leagues.
The Cano trade forced him away from second base and into becoming a utility player. Moving Cano to the DH spot opens up second base which then allows McNeil to shift back to where he belongs.
As a result, the Mets then have a hole left at the hot corner. Wouldn’t you know, third base is one of the best offensive positions in baseball. Whether it’s a trade for Nolan Arenado or a free agent signing, the Mets are suddenly able to add another piece to the championship puzzle.
By keeping Cano at second base, McNeil stays at third base and we don’t see this opportunity arise. It’s not impossible to still add an All-Star bat.
The issue is all about Cano and what feels like a contract that never ends. He’s not going anywhere. Because of this, the Mets need to play some lineup Tetris and find the way to get the most out of him and open up spots for others to excel.
McNeil could easily become the best second baseman in baseball. I’m not so confident in saying that about his status as a third baseman. Although it’s not about where the man ranks on hypothetical lists, it does matter. There aren’t many top-level two-baggers out there. McNeil is one of them and he’s playing the wrong position.
Ideally, Cano sits when he doesn’t hit well. We know this isn’t going to happen. Players making as much money as him don’t ride the pine for years. Fortunately, a move to the DH spot may even spark a little more from his youth. We could see a renaissance for Cano at the plate although I’m not sure anyone is going to predict this.
The future of the DH looks like it’ll spread over to the NL for good. It’s great news for the Mets because of how they have built the team over the last few seasons.
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At least temporarily, I would like to see what they can do with Cano at the spot. If it can mean they are able to add a star player at third base, it seems like the best move the franchise can make.