Robinson Cano’s PED suspension might’ve just screwed Yankees with DJ LeMahieu
The Yankees are still be affected by Robinson Cano … somehow, as the DJ LeMahieu chase heats up.
When the New York Yankees let Robinson Cano walk in free agency, there really wasn’t much of an uproar among the fan base. The slugger signed a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Seattle Mariners that would kick off his age-31 season after he rejected a few reported lucrative offers from the Bombers. So be it. See ya, bud.
And it ended up being a tremendous move, for the most part. Sure, Cano’s been an All-Star a few times in Seattle and finished tops in the MVP voting a couple of times, but his power numbers took a big dip, he got suspended for PEDs, and it’s clear his best days are well behind him.
Now, he’s been suspended for PEDs again, which warrants a full-season ban. He won’t be playing for the New York Mets in 2021.
Another occurrence that proves the Yankees made the right move in letting him go. But guess what? His suspension could actually come back to bite the Yankees in the DJ LeMahieu sweepstakes.
Originally, the Mets, according to reports, weren’t targeting LeMahieu in their search. They were enamored with George Springer, Trevor Bauer and JT Realmuto, considering all of those stars fill bigger needs for them.
But now that their starting second baseman is out for the year and just freed up millions of dollars in the process, is new Mets owner Steve Cohen just going to go for it all? He wants to win a World Series in the next five years, so a four-year deal (which has been widely speculated) for LeMahieu could be perfect.
At the very least, this could drive up the price for the two-time Silver Slugger because another team being involved in the bidding — especially one like the Mets, who are apparently the only one willing the splurge this offseason — will create more demand.
But let’s relax for a second. This Cano suspension could just help the Mets a lot more with their original plan. This would allow them to move Jeff McNeil back to second base, which would free up an outfield spot for Springer. Use some of Cano’s money to get that contract done, then chase Realmuto and Bauer, and you’ve got yourselves a two-for-three deal (at least for 2021).
This would also help the Mets find even more playing time for Dominic Smith, who would act as the fourth outfielder (behind Springer, Conforto and Nimmo) and backup first baseman. He was arguably their best hitter this past season, so he’s going to need more playing time if that continues to be the case in 2021.
Still, the Yankees really didn’t need another high-profile suitor willing to spend big bucks fishing around in the free-agent market for a guy like LeMahieu. We knew any return to New York for Cano was going to screw us in some capacity.