Former Seattle Mariners coach Andy Van Slyke ripped into Robinson Cano during an interview with St. Louis’ CBS Sports Radio 920 Thursday. Among other things, the former first-base coach criticized Cano’s impotence in the batter’s box and faulted him for the downfall of the organization as a whole.
Brent Strecker of ESPN 710 in Seattle transcribed portions of the interview that make it clear just how much bitterness Van Slyke harbors regarding Cano.
“Robinson Cano cost the GM his job, the hitting coach got fired because of Cano and then the manager and coaches got fired because of Cano, because that’s how much impact he has on the organization,” Van Slyke said. “He was the worst player and it cost people their jobs in the process.”
If you remember, the Mariners overpaid by a couple boatloads to bring Cano from New York to the Pacific Northwest. He signed a 10-year contract worth $240 million before last season and has certainly failed to live up to that absurd contract. The past couple of seasons have seen Cano’s production drop significantly, culminating this season with his worst campaign at the plate since his rookie year.
“Robinson Cano was the single worst third-place everyday player I’ve ever seen, for the first half of a Major League Baseball season,” Van Slyke said, speaking about Cano’s usual spot hitting third in the batting order. “He couldn’t drive home Miss Daisy if he tried. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t get a hit when it mattered.”
He also ripped into Cano’s fielding, saying, “He played the worst defense I’ve ever seen at second. I mean the worst defensive second baseman ever, I’ve ever seen, in 20 years in the big leagues.”
Now at the age of 33, and with his best years almost certainly well behind him, Cano’s contract is a millstone around the organization’s neck. During his tenure with the Yankees, he was the best second baseman in the league, which is why the Mariners convinced themselves paying him so much would be somehow worth it.
Now? Not so much.
It will be interesting to see if any current players or coaches from Seattle will respond to Van Slyke’s comments. Many could look at this situation and assume he’s just bitter at having recently lost his job and sees Cano as a worthy scapegoat. On the other hand, perhaps he’s isn’t the only one who feels this way about the second baseman.