New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano has tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug Stanozolol, Major League Baseball revealed Wednesday. Because it is his second positive test, Cano has been suspended the entire 2021 campaign. Cano was also suspended 80 games under the banned substance policy in 2018.
“We were extremely disappointed to be informed about Robinson’s suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program,” team president Sandy Alderson said in a statement. “The violation is very unfortunate for him, the organization, our fans, and the sport. The Mets fully support MLB’s efforts toward eliminating performance enhancing substances from the game.”
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Cano, 38, will forfeit $24 million in salary because of the suspension.
The Mariners are responsible for $3.75 million of Cano’s salary with the Mets on the hook for the rest. Cano is under contract at $24 million annually through 2023, so he is estimated to rejoin New York in spring training 2022.
The pandemic-shortened 2020 season was Cano’s best in several years. He authored a .316/.352/.544 batting line with 10 home runs in 49 matches, numbers in line with his peak years. Cano is a career .302/.352/.492 hitter with 2,624 hits and 334 homers, numbers that are Hall of Fame-caliber for a second baseman. It’s hard to see him getting into Cooperstown after two PED suspensions, however.
For the Mets, the Cano suspension clears up their infield logjam a bit. They can easily reinsert Jeff McNeil at second base, his natural position, with J.D. Davis playing third base full-time. That permits them to put Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo in the outfield corners and pursue a natural center fielder this offseason.
Of course, the Mets now have an extra $20.25 million burning a hole in their pocket, and new owner Steve Cohen has indicated he is very willing to spend this winter. Cano’s suspension could push the Mets to steal free agent second baseman DJ LeMahieu away from the crosstown rival Yankees.
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