After being released by the Mets, Robinson Canó has found a new home. The Padres announced a Major League deal with the eight-time All-Star on Friday.
The 39-year-old Canó was designated for assignment by the Mets on May 2 despite still having two years and $37.6 million left on his contract. He batted .195 with one home run and three RBIs in 12 games with New York in 2022. After being DFAed, Canó will earn the veteran minimum in San Diego.
To make room on the 26-man roster, the Padres optioned right-hander Dinelson Lamet to Triple-A El Paso. Canó will wear No. 24 for the Padres, and first-base coach David Macias will switch to No. 46. Canó wears No. 24 to honor Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, his namesake, whose No. 42 has been retired throughout MLB.
Here’s a quick look at what the deal means for the Padres:
Clearly, the Padres’ offense has some upside. But its lack of depth has been exposed in the early part of the season. That’s where Canó comes in.
The veteran slugger gives the Padres a needed lefty weapon off their bench. In a pinch, it’s easy to envision Canó batting for, say, shortstop Ha-Seong Kim, catcher Austin Nola or outfielder José Azocar late in games. Bob Melvin has always been one of the league’s most aggressive managers when it comes to playing matchups.
Canó might also get occasional starts at designated hitter — though Luke Voit announced his return to the lineup with authority on Wednesday, and the Padres still view Voit as their regular DH. Canó could serve as a backup at second base, too (which, by default, gives the Padres extra cover at shortstop as well, because starting second baseman Jake Cronenworth can handle both positions).
No, this is not the same Canó who recorded five consecutive top six MVP finishes from 2010-14, and it’s not the same Canó who won five Silver Slugger Awards and two Gold Gloves with the Yankees.
But it is a low-risk option who could give the Padres a boost against right-handed pitching. Canó missed the entire 2021 season due to his second PED suspension. In ’20, he batted, .339/.368/.534 against right-handers. He’s off to a slow start in ’22, but the Padres are hopeful he can tap into some of that production.
Canó also hails from San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, where Fernando Tatis Jr. is from. They’ve played together in the Dominican Winter League for Estrellas Orientales, with Tatis’ father as manager.
Canó isn’t the cure-all for the Padres’ offensive issues. He helps with their bench depth. But the biggest reason for the offense’s slow start — aside from injuries to Tatis, Voit and Wil Myers — is the lack of production in the outfield.
As trade season approaches, the Padres’ top priority will be adding an outfield bat. For now, however, they think a signing like Canó can provide a legitimate roster boost around the edges.