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Robinson Cano landing spots: Veteran slugger ‘still wants to play’ and these 11 teams might be interested

Robinson Canó’s time with the New York Mets has come to an end. The Mets designated Cano for assignment Monday.the day teams must cut their rosters from 28 players to 26. New York opted to keep JD Davis, Luis Guillorme and Dominic Smith rather than send one to Triple-A and hang on to Cano.

“Robbie absolutely still wants to play. Given the right situation, he can still make a significant contribution to a team,” Cano’s agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, said. said to New York Mailby Joel Sherman. “Robbie is a true professional with a lot of respect for the organization. He understands that they had to make a difficult decision. He wishes them well in the future.”

Now 39, Cano went 8-for-41 (.195) with one home run in 12 games this season before being dropped from the list. He served a 162-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs last season and the Mets gave Cano some time to show if there was still anything left in the tank this year. The answer seems to be no, so they moved on.

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The Mets owe Cano $20.25 million in salary this season and next (the Seattle Mariners also owe him $3.75 million each year) and that money is guaranteed. Cano is still getting paid even after the Mets released him. And he will be released. No team will claim Canó in resignations because a resignation claim would mean assuming his entire contract.

Once released, any team can sign Canó for the prorated portion of the league minimum of $700,000. It may seem unlikely that Cano would snag elsewhere, but the same was said about Albert Pujols after the Los Angeles Angels released him last season, and he landed with the very deep, very good Los Angeles Dodgers.

What teams could be interested in Canó at least in the league once it goes on the market in a few days? Here are 11 possibilities in alphabetical order.

Jackie Bradley Jr.’s plan in right field isn’t working (Boston right fielders are hitting .156/.224/.221 this year) and the Red Sox could put JD Martinez in the outfield full-time, punt at-bats as designated. for Cano. That’s a convoluted plan with potentially no return, even though the Red Sox rank 24th in baseball with 3.52 runs scored per game. Something has to give, offensively.

Already six different players have started a DH game for the ChiSox and the revolving door only seems to continue after Eloy Jimenez’s injury. Cano could fill that spot full-time, provide balance to a very right-handed lineup and perhaps provide a small spark to a White Sox team that is 2-11 in its last 13 games and ranks 25th in baseball at 3.29. runs scored per game.

Franmil Reyes, Cleveland’s regular designated hitter, is in the midst of a brutal slump: 1-for-28 (.036) with 18 strikeouts. However, he hit .254/.324/.522 with 30 homers a year ago, and I don’t get the feeling the Guardians are ready to hand over the reins to someone else. However, Cano fits within his budget (ie, one of the smallest in the league).

4. Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers signed Pujols last year. Would they sign Canó this year? His bench isn’t as strong as in previous seasons and Max Muncy hasn’t been himself so far in 2022. If Cano wants to chase a ring, this is the place to go, but it takes two to tango and I not. I’m sure Los Angeles will be interested.

Maybe this will change later Derek Jeter’s departure, but the Marlins have been Yankee South in recent years. They have countless former Yankees players and staff in their front office, on their coaching staff, on the roster, etc. Canó would be more of the same. That said, signing Canó would mean Jesús Aguilar, Garrett Cooper, Avisaíl García and Jorge Soler would be on the bench every day, and I’m betting that won’t happen.

The Twins have used 10 — 10! — different DH players through 22 games. Only once in the entire year has the same player started back-to-back games at DH. Minnesota uses a full-fledged DH rotation. They could sign Cano and add him to the mix instead of giving him the full-time job, though I imagine Cano will look to join a team willing to give him plenty of playing time.

How about a return to the Bronx? It seems highly unlikely with Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson sharing DH duty, and Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu sharing second base. On the other hand, Torres hasn’t been particularly impressive in recent years, and Cano could jump at the chance to suit up for a team that a) has the best record in baseball, b) plays in a stadium that’s friendly to left-handed hitters, and c) with which you are very familiar. Never say Never!

The A’s are beginning to fade after a strong start to the season. They got nothing from the DH position (.136/.220/.259), and if they were interested in building a respectable team, maybe they’d roll a league-low dice roll with Cano. However, it seems the last thing the property cares about at the moment is respectability, so let’s just say this is unlikely.

Luke Voit’s injury has created a vacancy at DH, which the Padres have filled with a revolving door for now. General manager AJ Preller is nothing if not aggressive, and San Diego’s hot start has them virtually tied for first place in the NL West. This is not the time to rest on our laurels. If Preller thinks Cano has something left in the tank, he could act fast.

A nice sneaky fit. The Rays rotate players through the DH spot and have put up solid production from the position this year (.284/.356/.407). Cano would give them yet another option and it wouldn’t cost a lot of money. With Brandon Lowe starting the season slowly, Tampa is short on lefty bats that make a difference. As a platoon designated hitter, Cano could fit in with the Rays.

Possibly the best fit. Zack Collins has cooled off after his fast start and the Blue Jays have very few left-handed bats. They are Collins, Raimel Tapia, Bradley Zimmer and Cavan Biggio when he comes off the COVID list. That’s it for lefties. Toronto has rotated guys through the DH spot for much of the season and Cano would fit in as a complementary piece at the bottom of the lineup.

Retirement

I think this is the most likely outcome. Pujols got a job last year because he still had a valuable skill (crushing lefties). I’m not sure Cano has that now. Also, while Cano has been a popular teammate throughout his career, not many clubs are willing to deal with the headache of a two-time PED sanctioned guy. Not when he’s nearing the end of the line. I would bet my money on retirement (or forced retirement, more accurately).