Boos Aside, Robinson Cano is Sorely Missed in the Yankee Lineup

Robinson Cano
Robinson Cano

The schedule-makers made Robinson Cano‘s lone appearance in New York April 29-May 1. Weather halted his lone appearance and forced a re-scheduling of his return and predictable boos until last night when the Mariners pulled away late for a 10-2 rout that serves as one of those forgettable nights for the Yankees.

“I didn’t care,” Cano said. “To me, it’s like, I got booed at the All-Star Game in Kansas City. So I get booed again. It’s not going to mean anything…I’m the kind of guy, you see me walk to the plate. I’m always laughing…They’re going to boo for what? Thirty seconds, one minute. That’s all.”

It’s thirty seconds or one minute for Yankee fans to shift their focus away from a team that severely misses Cano’s bat regardless of the cost.

The cost was 10 years, $240 million and it’s hard to fault anyone for not investing that type of length into a contract. It’s also hard to fault anyone for attempting to compensate for the absence of Cano’s bat by signing Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann, moves that seemed nice in theory but not necessarily so much in the reality of trying to replace a second baseman capable of hitting 30 home runs and driving in 100.

As of now, it doesn’t appear that the Yankees have anyone who will finish with those numbers.

Mark Teixeira, whose wrist always makes him a question mark until further notice, leads the team with nine and is on pace for 26 home runs. Rookie Yangervis Solarte leads the team with 26 RBI and is on pace for 75, nice numbers for someone who spent several seasons in the minor leagues.

Cano isn’t lighting it up in Seattle in terms of power but has 31 RBI and a .327 average, numbers on par with most of his time with the Yankees.

Those left in the wake of Cano’s departure and non-acceptance of a reported seven-year, $175 million offer, have little to say about an offense that has stopped hitting.

For example, Brett Gardner gave the typical “If we knew we’d fix it two days ago” answer to a radio reporter. Then he went into cliche mode.

“Keep working hard,” he said. “Just keep a positive attitude. Come in here every day and work. Work on our things in the cage. Work on our things on the field in BP. Take care of our bodies, come in here and play hard, and hopefully things will turn around.”

Maybe he’s right, but it’s difficult to do so when singles are the Yankees’ most frequent source of hitting. Last night, eight of their nine hits were singles. During their last four games, the Yankees have been outscored 24-8 and 21 of their 33 hits have been singles.

Overall 70 percent of the Yankee hits this season have been singles. A year ago with Cano getting 14 home runs, the Yankees had 63 overall as a team and 67 percent of their hits were singles. Two years ago when they had fielded a really big time power lineup and when “too many home runs” was a popular critique, the Yankees had 78 home runs and 62.7 percent of their hits were singles.

The Yankees are finding it hard to win without Cano’s bat and that’s because what was imported to replace him has not done so effectively and the power is lacking.

“We have to find ways to win without them (home runs),” Derek Jeter said. “Home runs, they’re nice because they score runs quickly but you have to find other ways to win.”

The financial commitment might have been too much, which is odd for a franchise that prints money every second, but when the offense produces like it has so far, you see the absence of Cano, regardless of whether you booed or cheered for him last night.

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Larry Fleisher
Larry Fleisher has covered sports in various capacities for nearly 15 years. He is a writer/editor for the Sports Xchange and has also worked for SportsTicker and Metro New York newspaper. Larry also has worked on many NBA broadcasts doing stats, on several TV shows as a background actor. He is a member of the Pro Basketball Writers Association and the Internet Baseball Writers Association.