The day has finally come Yankee fans, Robinson Cano makes his much anticipated return to The Bronx tonight. In quite the role reversal, the Yankees were outbid for the prized free agent this off season, as Cano took the money and ran to Seattle.
Cano was a bit of an Enigma during his tenure with the Yankees. He was undoubtedly the best all-around player on this Yankee squad for the past few seasons. But for whatever reason, he never reached the popularity of his fellow teammates. Cano was certainly well received among the fans overall, but he never truly received the complete love of the fan base.
As much as Cano will be remembered for his sweet swing, fans will also remember his lack of hustle. Too many times did Yankee fans see Cano barely step foot out of the batter’s box on a ground ball, or make a nonchalant effort defensively, it was enough to make any fan pull their hair out at times. Part of that is just Cano’s style, as he does things with such ease and grace, that it appears as if he isn’t even trying, but there are certainly times when that wasn’t the case and he was giving very little effort. It drove me nuts watching him on certain plays and I’m not even a Yankees fan. I can only imagine what was going through the heads of diehard fans every time they saw him giving a half ass effort.
Love or hate his style, the Yankees will miss his reliable production and durability. In the past 7 seasons with the Yankees, Cano never played fewer than 159 games. Considering what the Yankees have gone through with injuries the past few years, he was always one guy you could count on being in the lineup. You knew you would be getting the .300 average with roughly 30 home runs and 100 RBI every single year. There are very few players in all of baseball that are going to put up those offensive numbers at a consistent rate, while also playing gold glove caliber defense.
All things considered, I do feel the Yankees made the right move. Maybe it won’t look that way for the first few years of his deal, but it’s hard to imagine Cano will be anywhere near the same player towards the latter years of that contract. The Yankees already made one mistake when it came to a 10-year-deal, remember AROD? They weren’t going to make that mistake again. The last thing this franchise needed was to lockup another aging super star to a long term deal. Now it’s time for the Yankees to begin to produce homegrown talent once again. That’s the only way to avoid giving out these type of deals to free agents, reload from within.
In the days of old, I wouldn’t even question the treatment Cano would be receiving tonight, as he would be doomed to receive a “Bronx cheer.” But those days ended with the demolition of old Yankee Stadium. Will there be fans booing their lungs out? Of course. But most of those voices will be coming from the upper deck, fading by the time they reach the field. I don’t think we will be seeing too many corporate suits booing Cano, I’d be surprised if they even get to their seats behind home plate before the third inning. Overall, expect to hear a mix of cheers and boos, but none too loud to be considered noteworthy.