Robinson Cano Screwed Mariners & His Hall of Fame Chances

SBR Staff

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 3:46 PM UTC

Wednesday, May. 16, 2018 3:46 PM UTC

The big news in baseball this week was the 80-game drug suspension handed down to Seattle second baseman Robinson Cano. That will have at least a few ramifications.

On Dec. 31, 2017, the Buffalo Bills were 22-16 winners on the final Sunday of the 2017 NFL regular season. That victory coupled with Cincinnati’s stunning comeback just a few moments earlier over the heavily favored Baltimore Ravens sent the Bills to the playoffs and ended the longest active non-playoff drought in North American pro sports. Buffalo hadn’t made it since 1999 – every other franchise in the NFL, NHL, NBA or Major League Baseball had made the postseason this century.

Now the burden of longest playoff drought has shifted to MLB’s Seattle Mariners. They last played extra baseball in 2001 when they tied an MLB record with 116 regular-season wins, led by AL Rookie of the Year and MVP Ichiro Suzuki (now in the Seattle front office). Alas, that team was knocked off in the ALCS by the New York Yankees.

The Mariners had a reasonable chance of finally making the postseason this year as they are well over .500 and in the AL West race. Seattle is currently +650 at Intertops to win that, but it’s more likely going to be defending division and World Series champion Houston (-303) or the LA Angels (+325). Still, the Mariners figured to at least be in the wild-card hunt.

That might have all changed Tuesday when the news came down that All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano had been suspended 80 games for failing MLB’s drug test. Naturally, Cano had an excuse, but the fact is he used a diuretic that is known to mask PED use. Cano learned of this positive test and suspension apparently weeks ago but had been appealing. He dropped the appeal after breaking a bone in his right hand on a hit-by-pitch in Detroit on Saturday.

Cano was going to clearly miss a while with that injury regardless so it made sense to drop the appeal, and for some reason MLB allows players to serve suspensions while on the disabled list, which is patently ridiculous (Cano had surgery on Wednesday). Now, even if Seattle were to make the playoffs, Cano won’t be eligible as that’s part of a drug suspension. He’s set to return in mid-August.

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Updated list of PED users from the 2009 World Champion #Yankees

- Alex Rodriguez
- Robinson Cano
- Andy Pettite
- Melky Cabrera
- ???

— FantasyPros (@FantasyPros) May 15, 2018

This season, Cano was hitting .287 with four homers and 23 RBIs and a WAR of 1.6 in 39 games. Not massive numbers, but he’s still one of the better offensive second baseman in the majors. Just last year in 150 games, Cano hit .280 with 23 homers, 97 RBIs with an OPS of .791 and a WAR of 3.4. The guy had been incredibly durable, playing at least 150 games in each of the previous 11 seasons, the only player in MLB to do so in that span. Cano’s 1,783 games played since the start of the 2007 season are the most in the majors. In addition, Cano has 305 homers since his debut in 2005 with the Yankees. That total is 61 more than any other middle infielder in that stretch (someone who played at least 80 percent of his game at second or shortstop).

This is a huge blow to Seattle’s playoff chances, and it probably keeps Cano out of the Hall of Fame because no player who has been suspended for drug use has been inducted. From a daily betting standpoint at Intertops, industry insiders speculate that Cano is worth about 3-5 cents at most to Seattle’s daily moneyline odds.

The Mariners do have a former All-Star and Gold Glove second baseman on their roster in Dee Gordon, who was acquired via trade from Miami this offseason. For now, the team is trying Gordon Beckham at second, but GM Jerry Dipoto said Tuesday that Gordon will begin taking grounders there to prepare for a possible move.

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