Right Field

Cerone to Cano: You Blew It

Via Charles Curtis of the Newark Star-Ledger, Robinson Cano hasn’t hit too many long balls since leaving the Bronx for the Pacific Northwest. Rick Cerone, who was a Yankees backstop back in the day (1980–84, 1987, 1990), was a guest on a satellite radio program yesterday and, in the course of the conversation, blasted the second baseman’s offseason decision to join the Mariners:

Big ballpark. Big mistake. No backup. No protection in the lineup. I mean, what a fool. Robinson Cano, I liked him as a Yankee. What a fool. Got bad advice. Yeah, he took more money but you know how much more money and exposure he could’ve had playing in New York, come to the lights. He’s going to go up to Seattle, we might see him once or twice in an All-Star Game. He’s only got four home runs. Four home runs for how many million, 200 and something million dollars?

Where to begin?

  • As of this morning, Cano’s overall offensive production, while low in the power department (.431 SLG), isn’t suffering at all when it comes to reaching base safely (.384 OBP). He’s on par with a very good 2009 season (.320/.352/.520) when looking at the useful weighted runs created plus (wRC+) statistic (125 today vs. 124 in ‘09).
  • Meanwhile, the Mariners have a better record than the Yankees (42-37 vs. 40-37), despite playing in a tougher division.
  • Seattle’s lineup is hardly a feared dynamo, ranking 12th in the American League in OPS+ (93), but the Bronx Bombers also have little to brag about, as they rank 11th (94).
  • The fans sure haven’t forgotten about Cano, as he holds a comfortable lead in All-Star Game voting for starting AL second baseman.
  • I don’t recall Cano being a darling of Madison Avenue at any point during his mostly-stellar nine-year tenure with the Yankees.
  • And most important, now that he’s escaped the clutches of the Steinbrenners’ extreme grooming policies, Cano has grown a healthy dose of facial hair.

Finally, let’s not forget that the Yanks’ PR machine is still reeling from the realization that, nearly 40 years after the franchise regularly took advantage of player free agency to poach other teams’ home-grown stars, they could be victimized as well. Hence, hitting coach Kevin Long’s mean-spirited accusations of Cano’s lack of hustle back in February.

More here.

Jason Epstein is the president of Southfive Strategies, LLC. He was a public-relations consultant for the Turkish embassy in Washington from 2002 to 2007.

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