New York Mets: Short Season Helps Robinson Cano and Yoenis Cespedes

Daniel Marcillo
New York Mets, Robinson Cano
Sep 29, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets second basemen Robinson Cano (24) waves to the crowd after being taken out in the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

As Major League Baseball continues to move towards the season resuming, the more likely the divisions will be realigned. The designated hitter will likely become universal and implemented past the 2020 season. The New York Mets have with “pitchers who rake,” but their everyday DH is a major weapon.

The aging Robinson Cano is in prime position to assume the DH duty when baseball returns. Cano is in his age-37 season and coming off of his worst season in the big leagues. Even when Cano started to pick things up down the stretch run, it quickly ended when he injured his hamstring.

Squeeze the Last Good Years Out

There is no longer an expectation for Cano to put up MVP caliber numbers as a position player. If the Mets use Cano more as a DH than in his usual position of second base, the production should increase. Much like Nelson Cruz and Jim Thome, the increased focus on offense will bring back his Hall of Fame-caliber production.

Does it make the Mets defense better? Realistically, it does not make a difference. Cano is not the same defender he was during his prime. Even if the defense gets better at second base with Jeff McNeil moving there, the third base defense then takes a hit.

The other DH option would be Yoenis Cespedes, which would allow the Mets to keep Cano in the field. At this point in their careers, a healthy Cespedes is better than Cano. The keyword for him is always “health.” Cespedes was ready to hit in Spring Training games, but his rehab did not allow him to field yet. Moving him to a permanent DH role also allows the Mets to organize their outfield easily.

The Odd Man Out

Dominic Smith would ideally be the best for the role since he is going to lose the most playing time. Pete Alonso started 152 games in 2019 and will likely do the same. Smith is not an upgrade in the outfield either, which suits him perfectly to DH. This is why the Mets have not traded him since 2021 is a likely possibility for the universal DH.

Smith also provides more power as the left-handed DH over Cano. Smith only hit two fewer homers in over 200 less ABs last season. Smith’s on-base percentage was almost 50 points higher than Cano’s as well.

Nothing is set in stone yet, but Luis Rojas and the Mets should be discussing all the possibilities for baseball’s return. Their assortment of riches should be a blessing, not a curse.