Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Robinson Canó, Padres reach agreement on contract days after Mets release

The San Diego Padres have reached an agreement with free-agent second baseman Robinson Canó, the team announced on Friday. Canó put pen to paper on a big-league pact, meaning he’s been added to the Padres’ active roster. In a corresponding move, San Diego demoted right-handed pitcher Dinelson Lamet to Triple-A. Lamet had appeared in 10 games this season, amassing a 9.72 ERA in 8 1/3 innings.

Canó, 39 years old, was released by the New York Mets over the weekend. The Mets had previously designated him for assignment after he had hit just .195/.233/.268 (48 OPS+) with one extra-base hit (a home run) and nine more strikeouts than walks in 43 plate appearances. His average exit velocity, 85.4 mph, was 5 mph lower than his average during his last season, the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign.

Canó, of course, was not eligible to play during the 2021 season after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs for the second time in his career. He had remained a productive hitter in 2020, batting .316/.352/.544 (143 OPS+), but at his age there’s no way of knowing how the layoff impacted his ability to produce at the big-league level.

CBS Sports’ own Mike Axisa highlighted the Padres as one of Canó’s likeliest landing spots. Here’s what Axisa wrote at the time:

Luke Voit‘s injury has created an opening at DH, which the Padres have filled with a revolving door for the time being. GM AJ Preller is nothing if not aggressive, and San Diego’s strong start has them sitting in a virtual tie for first place in the NL West. This is not the time to rest on your laurels. If Preller believes Canó has something left in the tank, he could act quick.

Voit has since returned to San Diego’s lineup, but Canó’s addition could theoretically result in a DH platoon, or in second baseman Jake Cronenworth shifting to the outfield. The Padres have received putrid production from both center fielder Trent Grisham and right fielder Wil Myers, and it’s possible Preller and company view Canó playing at second base as a more preferable arrangement. Whatever the case, Canó will make the prorated league-minimum for the rest of the season, with the Mets still on the hook for the $20 million plus left on his contract.

In addition to the Mets, Canó has also played with the Seattle Mariners and the New York Yankees. He’s made eight All-Star Games, won five Silver Slugger and two Gold Glove Awards, and has a career batting line of .302/.352/.490 (125 OPS+) with 2,632 hits and 335 home runs. 

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