All Robinson Cano needed to do to make $24m in 2021 was not take performance enhancing drugs or commit a major felony. He could only manage half of that bargain.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed on Wednesday that the New York Mets second baseman will miss the entire 2021 season after testing positive for the performance-enhancing drug stanozolol. The 38-year-old had already served an 80-game doping ban in 2018, and this second violation carries an automatic 162-game suspension.
“We were extremely disappointed to be informed about Robinson’s suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program,” Mets president Sandy Alderson said in a statement. “The violation is very unfortunate for him, the organization, our fans, and the sport. The Mets fully support MLB’s efforts toward eliminating performance enhancing substances from the game.”
The ban also means Cano, an eight-time All Star, will forfeit the $24m owed to him in for the 2021 season, although he may not worry too much about his finances: he is approaching the end of a 10-year, $240m contract.
Fans’ suspicions might already have been raised with a glance at Cano’s stats for the shortened 2020 season. He hit .316 over 49 games, his best average since 2010 when he was 27-years-old. In 2019, his batting average was just .256.
Cano arrived in New York in 2018 in a much maligned deal that saw two of the Mets’ top prospects go to the Seattle Mariners. The trade was later described as “an unmitigated disaster” by Yahoo Sports.
The Mets fortunes had taken a recent upturn after they were bought by billionaire Steve Cohen, a childhood fan of the team who has vowed to turn them into a World Series contender. Even a man with $14bn at his disposal won’t turn his nose up at a $24m saving in outgoings though.