With Robinson Cano being in the middle of an 80-game suspension, and the All Star being ineligible for postseason play, there has been a lot of discussion about what to do with the 35-year old for the last month and a half of the season. The obvious answer is to keep Dee Gordon at second with partial playing time for Cano so that Gordon is ready to go come October if the Mariners are eligible for the playoffs.
General manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed as much during comments made to ESPN.com on Monday afternoon.
“We have a pretty good idea of what we want to do, but a lot of it is going to be dictated by where we are in the standings,” Dipoto told ESPN.com. “As versatile and athletic as Dee is, it’s not that easy to go play center field for a month-and-a-half and then say, ‘Oh, by the way, you’re going to go play second base in the biggest game of your career when you just haven’t been out there.’ It’s going to take some juggling and we’ll have to figure out a way.”
It’s the only move that makes sense for all of the reason that Dipoto made. Gordon’s development in center has been delayed by his move back to second base because of the suspension and the fact that Seattle will need him to be at the second if it makes the playoffs.
This is a move that the franchise has to make for this season, it’s not a statement on the franchise’s plan for the two players. But there is a very loud segment of Mariners’ fans that think that Gordon should be the full-time second basemen and that Cano or that the 35-year old might transition over to first despite having Ryon Healy for the next four years — three of those in arbitration.
Good! Dee got 2nd base on 🔒
— J_gomez (@tres3305saylor) June 11, 2018
The idea that Cano has permanently lost second base to the 30-year old is absolute nonsense. First off, Cano’s defensive numbers haven’t really dropped off at second base despite his age and those numbers are higher than Gordon’s at any point in his career.
Moving Cano off of second base will rob him of his defensive value and cause his fWAR to crater — a move to first base would really crater his numbers as that’s an offense first position. In his last three full seasons Cano has been worth 3.1 (’17), 6.1 (16′), and 2.8 (15′) wins; while Gordon has been worth 3.4 (17′), 0.9 (16′), and 4.8 (15′) wins. Over the course of their careers Gordon has been worth a little over 2 wins per (six-plus seasons) and Cano has been worth 4.2 wins per season (13-plus seasons).
The suspension is even more irritating since the 13-year veteran was off to the hottest start of his career thanks to the an increased walk rate and on-base percentage. Cano’s decision to use performance enhancers was costly for not just himself but his team. Now that Gordon has easily moved back to second base is going to limit the better second baseman’s playing time at a team when the team needs his value. Gordon is a really good player that can push a border line contender over the top….Cano is the type of player that is a franchise cornerstone.
And it’s a damn shame that Cano not going to be able to play down the stretch as the Mariners look to end their 16+ season playoff drought.