Robinson Cano Will Get About $40M to Not Play for the New York Mets

The Mets designated the 39-year-old struggling infielder for assignment on Monday

Former Met Robinson Cano looks on against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Former Met Robinson Cano looks on against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Getty Images

Somewhere Bobby Bonilla and Chris Davis are smiling.

The latest in a long line of MLB players who’ve gotten paid big bucks despite no longer playing in the big leagues, Robinson Cano was designated for assignment on Monday by the New York Mets despite having approximately $40 million remaining on a contract that runs through 2023. Due to the move, the Mets will eat the majority of the contract and pay 39-year-old Cano not to play for the team.

Cano, who was traded to the Mets by the Mariners in 2018 and was suspended for the entire 2021 season after violating MLB’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs, is hitting just .195 with one home run and three RBIs and a .501 OPS in 43 plate appearances this season while logging time at second base and designated hitter. In three seasons with the Mets, Cano hit .269 with 24 home runs and 72 RBIs.

Cano’s agent,  Brodie Van Wagen, said that his client still wants to play baseball and has no hard feelings towards the Mets for DFAing him. “Robbie absolutely still wants to play,” Van Wagen told The New York Post. “Given the right situation, he can still make a meaningful contribution for a team. Robbie is a true professional with a great deal of respect for the organization. He understands they had a tough decision to make. He wishes them well going forward.”

Given Cano’s age, recent performance at the plate and the stain his ties to PEDs have left on his reputation, Cano could be done playing pro baseball whether he wants to be or not. If he is done, the eight-time All-Star will head into his forced retirement with a career average of .302 with 335 home runs and 1,305 RBIs. In his 17 seasons, Cano has 2,632 career hits, the third-most among active players.

Had he not been suspended last season after previously being suspended for PEDs during his time in Seattle with the Mariners, Cano would probably have 3,000 career hits and likely would be enshrined in Cooperstown. But, thanks to the suspensions, Cano is short of 3,000 and Cooperstown’s doors are probably closed to him.

“His body feels great. He had a good experience in winter ball. He gained a lot of confidence during spring training,” Van Wagen said. “He believes his skills are still at a level that he can help a team win. He’s been adjusting to the new role as a complementary piece and believes he will improve in that role if he gets that opportunity going forward.”

Whether Cano actually gets that opportunity or not, he’ll continue to be paid as if he did.

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