His second stint in New York ended the way it began: ignominiously. Robinson Cano’s brief, odd career with the New York Mets came to an end Monday when the team designated him for assignment. Should the 39-year old clear waivers, he will be a free agent.
He is still leaving a rich man, one that is due $44.7 million on the remainder of his mega $240 million, 10-year deal he signed with the Seattle Mariners in 2013.
His release by the Mets ends a bizarre tenure in New York that began with little fanfare when he, along with closer Edwin Diaz were dealt from Seattle to New York for prospect Jarred Kelenic. The move, made by then-General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen was panned by the fans and media alike when it was made in 2018, and for the better part of the last four years, it is still an infamous deal.
While Diaz has become a much better reliever than the one the Mets acquired in 2019 when he couldn’t nail down saves, the fact is the Mets gave up Kelenic, who at 22-years old is still considered a young, budding talent in Seattle. While Kelenic’s hitting numbers look pedestrian, a .175 career hitter, he does have 16 home runs and 51 RBI in his brief 114 games of Major League action.
As for Cano, he never caught on with the Mets. A shell of the player he once was with the Yankees, Cano hit only .195 in 12 games this season with a homer and three RBI. He missed all of last season due to suspension from steroid use.
In three seasons with the Mets, Cano played in only 168 games, hit .269 with 24 home runs and 72 RBI. It wasn’t enough. And with the likes of Dom Smith and Jeff McNeil outplaying Cano both at second and in the DH spot, there was no room for him.
Decisions like this are never easy on a ballclub from the front office on down. Even though he struggled at the plate, Cano was still reportedly seen as a valuable clubhouse presence. The players liked having his veteran leadership around.
“He’s been around for so long in this game and he’s an icon here in New York,” Mets utility man J.D. Davis said. “He’s been a centerpiece in this clubhouse, been a leader. To lose him, it definitely takes a little bit of wind out of our sails.”