Sunday, December 9, 2018

Did we use the wrong fork? Seattle continues to agonize over the fate of Joggy Cano

When Gammonites weep, they say things like this. Here's Larry Stone in the Seattle Times...

It was billed as the dawn of a new Mariners era, one in which they finally meant business. After consecutive seasons of 101, 95, 87 and 91 losses, and 12 years in a row without a playoff berth, management expressed a determination to do what it took to earn a championship. The Cano signing, the fourth-most lucrative in baseball history, was Exhibit A.

Here's the best line of the column.

In the end, Pete Rose proved prophetic when he said of Cano in a radio interview the day after the signing, “He got him a big raise, but he got him an extra 30-day vacation – and it’s called October.”

Here's the voodoo Sabermetrics part where Joggy skates.

Excluding the suspension, Cano’s performance lived up to his contract – outdid it, in fact, if you use the metrics that connect WAR to salary. 

Here's the obligatory part about Joggy jogging.

Yes, there were a few maddening lapses, such as the time at Dodger Stadium in 2015 Cano thought the bases were loaded when actually the Mariners had runners on second and third. On a walk, he trotted home and was tagged out, afterward calling it the dumbest thing he had ever done on a baseball field. 

Here's the obligatory follow up. 

There were gestures that no one knew about... Once, when Cano noticed rookie outfielder James Jones toting a gym bag onto the plane, he bought him Louis Vuitton luggage.

Here's the obligatory whack at management.

Despite the facade of becoming serious players by signing Cano, they still failed to build the team around him that could get them to the playoffs. After the initial flourish, they didn’t finish the job.

And here's my obligatory postscript...

I'm sorry, folks. I know this has become a broken record, but I will never forgive Robinson Cano. He left the most lucrative situation in sports - the chance to be a life-long Yankee - to bask in a smaller pond and - worse - so he could suck up to Jay-Z and Beyonce. By having Cano go to Seattle, Jay-Z could claim to be the biggest badass agent in sports - well, how did that turn out? Cano not only got his Pete Rose vacations, but killed the Yankees' decade, as well. On the eve of his walking - to counterbalance the negative press - we signed Jacoby Ellsbury to a slightly less horrible deal, which still has two years to play out. Cano performed a skillful double-bank shot, undermining both teams.

I suppose he's a candidate for the Hall of Fame someday. By the usual standards - he played eight years with the Yankees, five with Seattle and he'll go the last five with the Mets - he should wear a Yankee cap. I hope the Yankees refuse to allow it. Most veteran players yearn to play for what was once the greatest franchise in baseball. Cano scorned it. I'm sorry. I can never forgive.


13bit said...

I know he can hit, but the only thing that sticks out in my memory is him taking tremendous whiffs at balls way beyond the plate in the last offseason he played for us. I, too, will never forgive him for that. Well, maybe I'll forgive, but I'll never forget.

TheWinWarblist said...

I have no words.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

Give Hal and Cashmoney credit for this. We dodge a bullet.

Yeah, I know, I know -- those 2 guys are our problem right now. Still, it's Sunday, ain't it?

JM said...

The human brain is an amazing organ (if it actually is an organ). For instance, I damaged my hearing by listening to impossibly loud music on headphones for several years, losing frequencies in the high treble area (a common problem with sound engineers, by the way, which is why they sometimes overcompensate when doing mixes). But my brain refuses to be deprived of those specific highs, and has responded with tinnitus--the brain actually "generating" a constant whine of those frequencies to fill in the gap my hearing apparatus can no longer pick up properly. The whining sound does not really exist. My brain is providing it to compensate for what isn't there but should be. Incredible.

Likewise, although I watched Cano during all of his time with the Yankees, on TV and also live at the Stadium, I cannot remember any of it. The graceful defensive plays, the booming doubles in the gap, the happy-go-luckiness of his early years: all gone, seemingly erased. I know those memories are lodged somewhere in my miraculous cranium, but my brain, always on the alert to keep me from needless suffering, has added every Cano performance to the long list of "do not recall" events my brain has compiled in more than six decades of living. (In fact, memory starts when we're still in the womb, and that must have been a grand old time because I can't remember anything about that, either.)

In contrast, I can still recall being at the Stadium during a meaningless end-of-season game in the mid-90s, after most of the crowd had already left, walking toward the left field foul pole through the field level seats, and asking my newish girlfriend (now wife) if we could sit down to watch the next batter. Some kid, a late-season addition to the roster, name of Soriano, who proceeded to park his first major league home run into the left field seats. Nice memory.

But Joggy? No. Nothing. Painless. Thanks, brain, old boy.

13bit said...

Joe FOB, I would like to respectfully dissent from your encomium of Herr Cash for "dodging a bullet. That's like giving somebody credit for not taking a long leap and diving off a building. Even Cash-money - as numb and dumb as he may be to real baseball talent - would not take a chance on Cano for that kind of money. At the very least, his vengefulness would prevent it. I don't think we dodged a bullet, anyway. We have taken so many bullets over the past ten years that any ones that come our way now are meaningless.

Der Kaiser said...

If you dodge a bullet by throwing yourself into the path of another bullet, does it still count as dodging a bullet?

13bit said...

oh, wow. I need to consult my philosophy handbooks for the answer to that one.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Robbie, Robbie, Robbie...

I dunno. I certainly agree he was motivated completely by money—and, not incidentally, in the stupidest ways possible.

Players have become free agents for many good reasons over the years: to go to a contender, to be closer to home and hearth, to play in a nicer climate—and yes, for more money.

Cano did none of those, really. He went to the most distant point in the U.S., to a bad team in a small market, taking the biggest possible contract while failing to notice that he probably would have more than made up that money playing for a contender in NYC or LA. Hey, he's Robbie Cano, don'tcha know.

How good was he? Who really knows, as he joined the Legion of Juicers. But I will say, drug tests aside, I thought he was an incredible ballplayer in the years 2010-2013 for us, a time when he probably deserved an MVP award.

He was, on the other hand, one of the worst performers ever in the postseason, considering his extended opportunities there, hitting over 80 points BELOW his lifetime batting average in 217 plate appearances. He capped that with a dismal 3-40 performance in his last two playoff series for us, in 2012.

DID we dodge a bullet?

Well, here's the damned thing. I thought at the time that Coops and Food Stamps were very smart to pass on Robbie, and assumed they would spend the saved money on something useful.

Instead, trying to recreate their 2009 free agent coup, they squandered it all (and more), on acquiring an aging, much-injured speed guy—Ellsbury—a catcher whose numbers showed a guy in clear decline—McCann—and a 37-year-old Carlos Beltran, whose proffered discounts we had spurned twice previously, thereby missing out on his greatest years.

The third time around, Beltran was only a fraction of his best self, but he still performed well enough for us to get some promising prospects for him (all of whom have now been squandered on rentals). The rest of it was a complete loss, in my opinion.

If we were going to do what we did...we might just as well have given Robby his money. Which is our real problem right there. As 13bit and Joe FOB have pointed out, we don't so much dodge bullets as shoot ourselves in the foot. Over and over again.