For the next several weeks, Emerald City Swagger will review the 2018 Seattle Mariners piece by piece. We start with the position players, then move on to the pitchers. Today is infielder Robinson Cano.
The 2018 season was in definition a disappointment in regards to how fast the Seattle Mariners jumped out of the gates with an excellent record, only to fall flat on their faces in the second half. That drop led to a 17th straight season without a playoff appearance. Adding to that disappointment, in different terms, was M’s second baseman, Robinson Cano.
Cano was looked upon to hold down the number three spot in the lineup and play second base every day. The Mariners got a scare on May 13th when Cano was hit with a pitch by Detroit Tigers pitcher Blaine Hardy, suffering a broken right hand. Seattle expected Cano to miss a small chunk of time but never did they expect the unexpected, and realize Cano would be out for much longer than anticipated.
More from Seattle Mariners
- Seattle Mariners trade James Paxton. Deja vu or re-imagining?
- Seattle Mariners: November mailbag – Face of the franchise and more
- Seattle Mariners: Zunino part of 5 player swap. What it means for the M’s.
- Seattle Mariners: Mitch Haniger, and Edgar Martinez headed to Japan
- Seattle Mariners: Trading for Joc Pederson from L.A. – 3 scenarios
Just two days after getting hit by the pitch, The Mariners learned Cano would be suspended 80 games without postseason eligibility after Robison tested positive for taking furosemide, a diuretic sometimes used to hide the presence of other banned substances.
The Mariners were expected to sink to the bottom without their star second baseman but they continued to play good baseball heading into the all-star break. As we all know, that good play turned for the worse starting in July as the Mariners slowly dropped games and series. At the same time, the Oakland Athletics continued their own second-half charge to surpass the M’s in the American League West standings and they never looked back.
Cano eventually returned to the Mariners on August 14th and played multiple positions including second, first, and designated hitter. He even had a stint at third to try and help the Mariners as much as he could. All season long, he swung the bat well posting a .303 average with 10 home runs and 50 RBI in only 80 games played. His 162 game average equaled out to .304/24/96, according to baseball-reference.com.
Cano will be 35 entering his sixth season as a Mariner and still has five years left on his contract while earning a whopping $24M a year. At this point, his contract is un-tradeable and it’s unknown what sort of role Cano will play next season. The best lineup would have Cano at first base with Dee Gordon moving back to his natural position of second base.
That could work if the Mariners can somehow find a way to bring in a starting caliber centerfielder. None the less it seems that Cano will be back next season hitting number two or three spot in the lineup. He will be looked upon to generate offense for a struggling to hit as the Mariners often do.