Disclaimer: At no point has there been any actual, credible rumor linking the Angels to Robinson Cano. This is simply my response to suggestions from fans of the team. Sometimes, 140 characters simply isn’t enough.
In case you haven’t noticed, Robinson Cano is the best player in this year’s Free Agent class. You may have also noticed that this year’s Free Agent class stinks. To high heaven even. The only pitcher under the age of 30 on the market this winter is Phil Hughes. The best pitcher on the market is probably Bartolo Colon. It is such a weak market that Kendrys Morales and his permanent gimp rejected a guaranteed $14.1MM qualifying offer. People are going to get paid before next season. It is a great time to be a part of the group of players who are not among the best players in the game.
But it is not like Cano is a big fish simply because the market is weak. Cano has been among the top players in the game for the last few seasons. He’s a career .309/.355/.504 hitter. He’s accumulated 37.1 fWAR during his career and has been above the 5.0 benchmark for the last four seasons. He’s also (contrary to popular – and my own – belief) not a product of Yankee Stadium. His career slash line at home is .305/.351/.507. On the road, .312/.359/.503. There is too much to like about Cano. Too much. But there are tangible reasons to not like him as a fit for the Angels.
Robbie is going into his age-31 season. Do I really need to go into detail about the Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton deals? No. I don’t. Players over 30 are getting paid for what they have done in the past. Sure, Cano may have a few well above average seasons left in him. I doubt Pujols and Hamilton are done. But are you willing to bank on Cano being as productive as he has been over the last five or six seasons five years from now? I am not. Especially not for the…
Cano flat-out told the Yankees that he wants a $300MM contract. Don’t expect that demand to come down just because the weather is nicer and the ladies are prettier in Southern California. And, call me crazy, but I would like to see the Angels lock up Mike Trout sometime in the near future. Save your cash, Arte. Save it.
Cano is not the same in Anaheim
Remember when I mentioned above that Cano is just as good on the road as he is at home? Apparently, that doesn’t apply when he is playing at the Big A.
A 30 point drop in batting average, a 50 point drop in OBP and a whopping 70 point drop in slugging percentage. Part of the allure of Cano is that he is both an outstanding defensive second baseman as well as a power hitter that you can drop into the middle of a lineup. His career .504 slugging mark would look great in the middle of the Angels lineup. His .438 slugging percentage at the Big A? Not so much.
As the Angels showed yesterday, their main focus is not pitching this offseason. But when it comes to shilling out big money on the market, I’m hopeful that any money that Arte is willing to spend on the market goes only to pitching. As we saw last year, a big offense can’t offset weak pitching. Besides, by not getting in on the Cano sweepstakes, the Angels can corner the second baseman market by dangling Howie Kendrick as trade bait and possibly getting the team that just missed on Cano to overpay for Kendrick. But that’s another post for another day.