• Cano Shaping Up To Be Main Cog For Yanks?

    Posted by on November 25th, 2008 · Comments (15)

    Via George King -

    While they wait for CC Sabathia to decide if $140 million is worth the headaches created by the spotlight that always scorches the Yankees, the club is jazzed about Robinson Cano’s new body.

    “I was as impressed with what he looks like as I have ever been in my whole life,” hitting coach Kevin Long said of Cano yesterday after spending six days last week in the Dominican Republic with the second baseman who led the list of Yankees disappointments last season.

    “He hired a personal trainer from New Jersey who is kicking his [butt], and he looks great,” Long said. “His body fat is at 11 percent, his stomach is cut.”

    The Yankees have been concerned about the 6-foot Cano’s body weight – listed at 205 pounds – for a while. That, according to Long, shouldn’t be a worry.

    “He works on hitting and doing agility drills for two hours, rests and goes to the weight room for three hours,” Long said of Cano, who enters the second-year of a four-year, $30 million deal. “There isn’t a whole lot of heavy lifting. It’s more cardio and light weights.”

    While Cano works on his body, Long attacked the head with the hope the free swinger can develop early-count plate discipline.

    “If he is going to be a third- or fifth-place hitter, which we need him to be, he has to learn about the strike zone and taking a lot more often than not,” Long said of Cano, who drew 26 walks last year. Only 11 players with at least 477 at-bats drew fewer walks than Cano.

    “He can do that, because he hits as well as anybody with two strikes.”

    …If he is going to be a third- or fifth-place hitter, which we need him to be…

    That’s the Yankees plan this off-season to offset the loss of Abreu and Giambi? Yikes!

    Comments on Cano Shaping Up To Be Main Cog For Yanks?

    1. antone
      November 25th, 2008 | 9:44 am

      Me and my father were actually talking about this the other day. If the Yankees don’t sign any other big name hitters, he might be the best option to hit in the 3 hole. He would probably see better pitches to hit than he does at the bottom of the lineup too, since he would be hitting in front of A-Rod instead of Jose Molina or Melky.

    2. Raf
      November 25th, 2008 | 10:11 am

      …If he is going to be a third- or fifth-place hitter, which we need him to be…
      ———–
      He’ll be your 5th place hitter…

      Hopefully, they’ll sign another bat, because what they have now ain’t going to get it done.

    3. Raf
      November 25th, 2008 | 10:14 am

      He would probably see better pitches to hit than he does at the bottom of the lineup too
      ———-
      If pitchers are getting him out with balls, why would they throw him strikes, or otherwise give him better pitches to hit?

      Whether it’s Rodriguez, or Molina/Melky hitting behind him, Cano has to be able to control the zone, to be able to tell the difference between a ball and a strike.

    4. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      November 25th, 2008 | 10:30 am

      Raf said what I was thinking. If Cano had a better grasp of the strike zone, he’d be dangerous hitting behind or in front of A-Rod.

      One thing is for sure – if he bats third, A-Rod better go through his pre-AB routine quicker, because he’ll be heading to the plate much faster than he did when Abreu was taking or fouling off all of those pitches. ;)

    5. YankCrank
      November 25th, 2008 | 10:56 am

      Honestly, after Cano’s strong 2006 and 2007, you had to believe the Yanks were hoping Cano would grow into the 3 hole when it came time to replace Abreu. That’s always what I thought and you know what, I say they start him in the lower part of the order until he proves he can be patient and consistent enough to hit either 3 or 5. With his issues last year and his notorious “slow starts,” just throwing him in the 3 or 5 slot from the beginning could be a disaster. I’m ok with either Swisher or Matsui at 3, and either Matsui or Posada at 5.

    6. thenewguy
      November 25th, 2008 | 11:01 am

      I would probably prefer Swisher at 3, just because of his consistency getting on base. I imagine he would also see a lot of fastballs, likely raising his average some (all the way to .270 maybe!) The problem with Cano hitting 3 is that a ‘slump’ for Cano means not getting on base for, like, 2 weeks… literally. If Swisher were in a ‘slump,’ he would still get on base at a decent clip and not totally kill the top of our order (same with Matsui, although he certainly doesn’t walk as much.) Until Cano can prove he can be consistent and take some walks, I don’t want him hitting 3.

    7. antone
      November 25th, 2008 | 11:26 am

      Why the hell would you want a career .240 hitter batting third who is coming off his worst season as pro? Swisher is a good 6/7 hitter. Anything more than that and you are asking for trouble.

      As far as the Cano thing..if guys get on base in front of Cano he is going to get pitches to hit because teams aren’t going to want to take the chance of putting him on base in front of A-Rod. Obviously he needs to improve his plate discpline, but I still think batting in front of crappy hitters means he gets even less good pitches to hit. Even if its just one extra good pitch to hit in each at-bat it could make a difference.

      Honestly, the Yanks don’t have a 3 hitter on this team without Abreu…Jeter, A-Rod , and Cano are the only options right now and if you move A-Rod then you don’t have a cleanup hitter. Relying on Matsui to play a full season would be shortsighted and foolish.

    8. Raf
      November 25th, 2008 | 11:37 am

      Obviously he needs to improve his plate discpline, but I still think batting in front of crappy hitters means he gets even less good pitches to hit.
      ———
      Then those pitches he should learn to take. If pitchers are giving him lousy pitches to hit and he’s swinging at them, then that’s on Cano.

      It can be reasoned that he’s already getting pitches to hit, because he’s swinging at everything. I do not see him changing his approach because he’s batting higher in the order, nor do I see pitchers grooving pitches to him because Rodriguez is on deck “protecting” him.

      What protection doesn’t take into account is that getting a walk ensures that you get on base, while putting the ball in play doesn’t.

    9. thenewguy
      November 25th, 2008 | 11:54 am

      Why the hell would you want a career .240 hitter batting third who is coming off his worst season as pro? Swisher is a good 6/7 hitter. Anything more than that and you are asking for trouble.
      ————————

      Cano career OBP: .335
      Swisher Career OBP: .354 (career high of .381 two years ago)

      I want my 3-hitter to get on base. Swisher does that better than Cano. And, as I said, Cano’s slumps would be worse than Swisher’s since Cano never walks.

      That said, I don’t want either of these guys hitting #3. I would like a combination of Cano’s hitting and Swisher’s walking abilities (like, say, a Mark Texeira.)

    10. November 25th, 2008 | 12:24 pm

      I’ve been watching baseball since 1973. And, since 1973 I’ve always heard that your best all-around hitter should bat third.

      Is Robinson Cano the Yankees best all-around hitter?

    11. DJ21996
      November 25th, 2008 | 12:27 pm

      He has the potential to be our best all around hitter. But he’ll start the season hitting 6th or lower because he has to prove himself.

    12. Raf
      November 25th, 2008 | 12:32 pm

      I’ve been watching baseball since 1973. And, since 1973 I’ve always heard that your best all-around hitter should bat third.
      ————
      Which is odd that Rodriguez is batting 4th and has been for quite some time…

    13. antone
      November 25th, 2008 | 12:56 pm

      I’ve been watching baseball since 1973. And, since 1973 I’ve always heard that your best all-around hitter should bat third.

      Is Robinson Cano the Yankees best all-around hitter?
      —————————–
      The fact we are even discussing it just proves that the Yankees lineup is not as good as it used to be. He has the potential to be the best all-around hitter, but potential doesn’t win ball games. At some point, you would like to think he’s going to break out and have a monster season, if not then I think A-Rod should bat third and probably Matsui 4th.

    14. Corey
      November 25th, 2008 | 2:14 pm

      Worse comes to worse, batting Cano 3rd would ensure a monster A-Rod year (no runners on base) :P

    15. Jake1
      November 25th, 2008 | 8:41 pm

      The longer Manny is out there the more I think they’ll sign him and just plug him in at DH.

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