Before leaving, Robinson Cano was undoubtedly one of the best Yankees second basemen to hit the Bronx, but would he have landed in monument park one day?
Centerfield in Yankee Stadium houses one of the most recognizable attractions in all of sports, Monument Park. There, 21 retired numbers honor 22 of the finest players in the history of the Yankees. Unfortunately for Robinson Cano, an ugly exit and the use of Furosemide, a steroid-masking drug, will most likely disqualify him from contention.
Over nine seasons in the Bronx Cano accumulated 1,649 hits, 204 homers, 822 RBIs, and hit a tremendous .309. In 2009 he won a ring and between 2010 and 2014 he never finished lower than sixth in the AL MVP race. Cano was the most dominant second baseman in baseball and it wasn’t close.
After a fantastic 2013 season where Robbie slapped 190 hits, 27 bombs, 107 RBIs, and a .314 average it was time for his payday. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t come from the greatest organization in sports.
During the 2013 offseason, the Yankees were extremely interested in retaining their franchise second baseman. They offered him $175 million over seven years, an offer he believed was disrespectful. “I didn’t feel respect,” Cano said. “I didn’t get respect from them.”
Cano’s choice to move on from the Yankees was based solely on contract details.
“I was hoping they would come up with a better offer,” Cano told MLB Network. “My goal was to stay there.”
But what would have been if Cano remained in the Bronx? Even with all the legends throughout their history, it’s hard to narrow down the Yankees’ greatest second basemen. Old-timers like Billy Martin, Bobby Richardson, and Joe Gordon come to mind, but their offensive numbers are nothing compared to Cano’s. And nobody has been smoother in that Yankee infield since Robbie.
Cano’s controversy is unique in that although there is major suspicion of PED use, it was never proven. His 80-game suspension was for use of the aforementioned Furosemide, not PEDs themselves.
“I’ve been getting tested for the last 12 seasons and I’ve never had an issue with MLB policy,” Cano told The Los Angeles Times. “I was treating for some medical ailments and I was being supervised by a doctor. But at the same time, I understand that everything that goes into my body, I’m responsible for that.”
If he had been a Yankee during this controversy, Cano would have had the support of the organization that drafted him 13 years prior. By leaving, he turned his support system into an enemy and made a pretty bad first impression in Seattle. And because his alleged cheating occurred while he was in New York, many important questions remained unanswered, leading to even more suspicion.
Had Cano remained a Yankee, his plaque would have found it’s rightful place in Monument Park. No Bomber would ever again wear the number 24. He was and still is the greatest second baseman in team history.
Only 430 more hits until Cano’s career is met with even more controversy.