Robinson Cano tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs for the second time in his career and has been suspended for the full 162-game 2021 season. Cano will forfeit his entire salary and has put yet another dark spot on his career.
That’s a shame.
It’s a shame that Cano felt the need to use PEDs in 2020. What’s not a shame is that it “has put his Hall of Fame candidacy in jeopardy.” Why? Because his first positive test should have been enough to disqualify him.
I’m completely serious. Why does Robinson Cano get a pass for testing positive once, but we’re holding players out for usage in the late-90s and early 2000s? We’re even using the specter of PED use as a way to put doubt on a player’s career. Ken Rosenthal is using words like “can likely forget”… LIKELY.
And now, after Cano has tested positive TWICE, we’re asking if his Hall of Fame candidacy is in jeopardy? What planet are we on? How are we going to have two different sets of rules for players in two separate eras?
Even if we were to split hairs, the fact that Robinson Cano used steroids in 2020 is disqualifying enough. How can you not be aware of the scrutiny, of the negative connotations, or of the damage that steroids will do to your career? How blind and dumb can you be? In 2020? After Ryan Braun? After Dee Gordon? What are you thinking?
There’s a difference between using PEDs to keep up with the rest of the league who just so happens to be using PEDs and using PEDs because “I just wanted to hit above .300 one more time.”
It’s not great, but it makes a little more sense.
And that’s really the bigger issue here. That after two seasons, we all forgave Robinson Cano, but we have yet to forgive other players like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds for similar sins.
If Robinson Cano stopped playing ahead of the 2018 season, he would have been a Hall of Famer. Full stop. When looking at the long list of men who played second base, Robinson Cano is Top 10 All Time. That’s a list that includes Roger Hornsby, Joe Morgan, Nap Lajoie, Craig Biggio, and Roberto Alomar.
Of all the players to ever play second base, only one has hit more home runs than Robinson Cano. If he didn’t miss a full season and a half, Cano would probably seize the top spot at the end of 2021. Currently, Cano has the third-most hits, doubles, RBIs, total bases, and games played, out of any active player in the MLB. Cano’s numbers are staggering.
It should be mentioned that he also leads all active players in positive PED tests.
Robinson Cano was almost a lock for the Hall of Fame and he threw that away. Why?
In this writer’s opinion, it’s a matter of pride.
Robinson Cano’s contract was an albatross for the Mariners, who offered it to him, and to the Mets, who took on the burden. Cano was never going to be the offensive stud he was back in the early 2010s. Those days were long gone. And with the teams around him getting younger, quicker, stronger, Cano had to keep up, had to maintain, and had to live up to the insane evaluation of a contract that he signed in his prime.
The choice to use steroids in 2018 was a terrible one, and the Mariners actually got better without him. A trade to Queens meant a fresh start, as long as he stayed healthy and Jeff McNeil and Andres Gimenez didn’t come for his job.
Performance Enhancing Drugs in the 80’s and 90’s were almost a necessity to compete at the big league level. Over the past three seasons, they’ve become necessary for Robinson Cano. And if you read this paragraph and thought, “well, you’re just giving all those guys a free pass because it was a normal thing to do.” Yes. I am. And now we’re asking if Cano can get back in our good graces after a second positive? Come on.
If Robinson Cano never tests positive for steroids, he’s getting a Cooperstown plaque, no question. There’s no doubt he’s one of the top second basemen to ever play the game.
After one positive test and suspension, you’re disqualified.
After two positive tests and a season-long suspension, there’s absolutely no chance, you’re a steroid user.
As one of our contributors, Bobby Underwood, said to me, “To put it in perspective, A-Rod had by far the longest PED suspension ever. Canó is going to have an additional half-season on him.”
This second positive PED result didn’t bury Cano’s chances. The first one did, and all should understand that.
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