Bob Klapisch focuses on Robinson Cano today. Some highlights:
Instead, it’s the offense, which led the major leagues with 968 runs last year but before Tuesday night’s 9-5 victory over the White Sox, was averaging just 4.3 runs per game, last in the American League East.
What’s wrong? Just about everything: The veterans have either been hurt (Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada) or useless (Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi). Perhaps the most surprising under-performance of the month is coming from Robinson Cano, who signed a four-year, $30 million deal over the winter, and since has sputtered his way to a .173 average.
But one major league talent evaluator who tracks the Yankees predicted Cano would suffer in 2008 after Joe Torre went west and took third base coach Larry Bowa with him.
It was old-school, in-your-face Bowa who kept Cano focused. The scout said that upon Bowa’s decision to join Torre’s staff in Los Angeles, “I had a feeling Cano would suffer because of it.”
“The fact that Robby’s started slowly hasn’t changed my opinion of him, not one bit,” general manager Brian Cashman said by telephone on Tuesday. “He works hard, and has worked hard. To say otherwise makes for a good story, but it’s not reality. He wants to be the best second baseman in the history of the franchise, that’s his makeup.
“People who are down and dirty with him know that.”
Cashman says it’s a combination of “bad luck” and cold weather that have depressed Cano’s average. And he also hints that slow starts are sometimes part of great hitters’ profiles. “Just like Bernie Williams or Don Mattingly,” the GM said. “We’ll wait it out on Robby.”
This is interesting. To Klapisch’s claim, like Cashman, I wanted to say “Well, Cano’s always a slow starter, etc.” here. But, just now, I checked the numbers and saw that’s not 100% true.
Last April, Cano batted .270 – and the April before that (in 2006) he batted .316…both of those marks are way above his current batting average of .173, right? (And, for the record, in his career, Cano is a lifetime .264 hitter in May.)
Lifetime, Cano has been a force with the bat from June through the end of the season. So, maybe he will lift his average again with a strong finish, like Cashman says here? But, it’s a much longer way up from .173 than it is from the .260 to .270 range, no question. Looks like Bob has a point on this one.