NEW YORK – While the Mets were considering Robinson Cano’s future over the weekend, general manager Billy Eppler gathered all the necessary information and passed it on to team owner Steve Cohen.
Eppler told Cohen that his baseball department believed the best course of action would be to designate the falling Canó for award. Eppler also told Cohen that it would mean eating the approximately $ 37.5 million left on Canó’s contract. Cohen would have to pay those dollars one way or another.
Cohen absorbed the information and then told his GM: “Make the baseball decision.”
It may seem like a simple concept, but it is one that egos and economics often prevent from happening. Time and time again, teams around baseball hang on to aging stars because of the money they owe them. The Mets have been guilty on many occasions.
But Cohen’s Mets are something else, in part because their owner is worth $ 17 billion. Cohen’s Mets simply want to win.
On Monday, it meant that Canó was forged so that they could keep Dominic Smith, Luis Guillorme. JD Davis and Travis Jankowski on their list. Canó only hit .195 / .233 / .268 in 43 record appearances. The Mets also selected reliever Yoan López for Triple-A Syracuse to comply with MLB’s league-wide roster reduction from 28 to 26 players.
“You could not ask for better support than Steve has given us,” manager Buck Showalter said. “You can see how much he loves the Mets and the fans. He trusts the decisions that are made.”
That does not mean that this decision was easy. For Eppler, who first met Canó when both worked for the Yankees in the mid-2000s, the decision was emotional – for reasons unrelated to money. For other Mets players, the news was hard to overlook. Despite all his baggage, for all his matches, Canó remained a well-liked figure within the walls of the clubhouse.
Shortly after Eppler and Showalter told Canó that they would appoint him to the task late Sunday night, the clubhouse adopted a funeral tone.
“Especially Robbie Canó – he’s been around for so long in this game,” Davis said. “He’s been an icon here in New York. And he’s been a center of this clubhouse. He’s been a leader. Losing him definitely takes a little bit of wind out of our sails.”
Canó joined the Mets alongside Edwin Díaz in a deal in December 2018 – the first significant transaction during Brodie Van Wagenen’s tenure as general manager. Given Canó’s advanced age at the time – he was entering his 36-year season – the deal was met with considerable skepticism. It became even less popular when Canó struggled in 2019, and two years later he received a full-season suspension for violating MLB’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
Still, Canó’s inclusion on the Mets’ Opening Day list was never in doubt, in part because the MLB rules stipulated that teams could bring 28 players in April. Deadline to slim lists to 26 was 12.00 ET on Monday, forcing the team’s decision. The club could have chosen Smith, Guillorme or Davis for the minors, giving it more time to evaluate Canó. Instead, the Mets chose to nominate Canó for the task and eat most of the $ 40.5 million they owe him through 2023.
Then ended Canó’s stony tenure, which was in a Hall of Fame arc before testing positive for PEDs for the first time with the Mariners in 2018. Another positive test with the Mets probably ruined any remaining chance Canó may have had to get into Cooperstown, despite his career .302 / .352 / .490 slash with 335 homers, 571 doubles and 1,305 RBIs.
Canó remains best known for its nine seasons with the Yankees, which included five All-Star appearances and a 2009 World Series title.
The Mets have technically seven days to swap Canó or give him direct exemptions, and Eppler said he would do anything to accommodate the aging star – possibly a trade-off, but otherwise a chance to play in the minors or to receive his release.
Given Cano’s salary, desire for playing time and popularity throughout the game, a release is the most likely outcome. At the time, any team could sign Canó for the MLB minimum, with the Mets paying the rest of his salary off.
“I’m sure he’s someone, like in five years, 10 years from now, I’ll bump into him on the island, or bump into him in Florida or New York or somewhere, and we’ll share some good ones. memories together “said Eppler. “But last night was not one of them.”