Robinson Canó To Red Sox? Why Deal Wouldn’t Solve Boston’s Early Issues

The Mets designated Canó for assignment Monday

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The year is 2022. Surely, you know this and will consider such when debating whether the Boston Red Sox should sign Robinson Canó in wake of him being designated for assignment by the New York Mets.

The Mets announced the move Monday, marking the first step toward the 39-year-old becoming a free agent. A team, in theory, can claim Canó on waivers and absorb the remainder of his contract. But that’s simply not going to happen. He’ll soon be released, at which point he’ll be available to sign at the prorated portion of the $700,000 league minimum salary.

The fact that the Mets would rather eat about $40 million than wait to see whether Canó can bounce back after a slow start to the 2022 season speaks volumes about how the organization views his potential to contribute moving forward. Canó, it appears, has nothing left in the tank.

Canó is batting .195 (8-for-41) with a .501 OPS in 43 plate appearances this season. Entering Tuesday, his minus-0.4 fWAR ranked 284th among 299 Major League Baseball players with at least 40 plate appearances. His 54 wRC+ ranked 245th.

An extremely small sample size, obviously, but the underlying metrics aren’t great, either.

According to Statcast, 307 MLB players had at least 25 batted ball events (BBE) as of Tuesday. Canó ranked 265th in average exit velocity (85.4). He’s barreled just two balls.

This would be far less alarming if Canó wasn’t pushing 40 years old and coming off a 162-game performance-enhancing drug suspension — his second PED ban — that cost him the entire 2021 season. He’s also limited defensively, having played almost exclusively second base in his career, which further hinders his appeal.

Now, it’s possible Canó finds a soft landing elsewhere. There’s a sense of urgency in Queens, where the deep-pocketed Mets can afford to cut bait with an underperforming veteran as they seek to maintain their positioning atop the National League East standings, whereas other franchises might see this as an opportunity to buy low on an eight-time All-Star.

But banking on Canó to turn back the clock is ill-advised. And for the Red Sox, it’d very much be a square peg-round hole situation, as Boston’s most glaring offensive deficiencies reside at first base and right field. Canó has appeared in just 14 games at first base, all back in 2018. He’s never played the outfield.

Canó was awesome in his prime, however tainted his accomplishments might be due to his PED transgressions. He’s a five-time Silver Slugger Award recipient and a two-time Gold Glove Award winner who was a perennial MVP candidate with the New York Yankees before enjoying a few productive seasons with the Seattle Mariners, as well. His swing was picturesque.

But that was then, and this is now. Take away the name, and it’s hard to argue Canó is much of an upgrade over Boston’s internal options. So, what’s the point?

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