The New York Mets were expected to contend this past season, but instead they finished with a record of 26-34, tied for last with Nationals in NL East. To make matters worse for the 2021 season, Major League Baseball announced that second baseman Robinson Cano has tested positive for Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing drug.
Robinson Cano was suspended for 80 games back in 2018 and now will face a season-long suspension in 2021 for his second offense. The 38-year-old Cano will lose his $24 million salary due to the suspension. Cano is under contract through the 2023 season and will be eligible to return to the team in 2022 at the age of 39. Cano had one of his best seasons in several years in 2020, hitting .316 with a .544 slugging percentage. Robinson Cano has a career average of .302 with 334 home runs and 2624 hits.
That clearly would put him in serious consideration for the Hall of Fame, however the black mark of the two PED suspensions likely will keep the doors closed in Cooperstown. Mets president Sandy Alderson is said to be deeply disappointed in Cano and says it’s very unfortunate episode for the entire New York Mets community as well as the sport of baseball. Alderson added that the Mets support the league’s efforts towards the elimination of PEDs from the game.
The suspension actually could help the Mets in the sense that it clears a jammed packed infield. Jeff McNeil is a natural second baseman, which enables the Mets to place J.D. Davis at the hot corner. While there is more of a natural flow to the infield now, the Mets clearly have to find a bat to replace Cano’s production in the lineup.
There are possibilities if the Mets are willing to open their pockets. Owner Steve Cohen has no issues with spending money, according to reports. That means that a top free agent such as DJ LeMahieu could be in the mix and perhaps would be lured away from the Yankees. Time will tell what will happen in what has now become a more interesting off-season with Cano out of the picture for 2021.