Cano’s Fracture Leads to Broken Lineup… What Now?
By Ty Gonzalez
Greetings, friends. The dark days are upon us once again. How shall we traverse the lonely road, this time?
If that series with the Tigers wasn’t gross enough for you, then prepare your barf bags. Robinson Cano is seemingly headed for a long stint on the disabled list with a fifth metacarpal fracture in his throwing hand. The injury occurred when Cano was struck in the hand by a pitch from Tigers pitcher Blaine Hardy.
Cano has relatively regressed since his hot start to the season. However, losing your highest-paid player at a premier position is less than ideal. Not only is there now a hole at second base, but there is a hole at the third spot in the Mariners everyday lineup as well.
So, where do you go from here?
Mariners manager Scott Servais has said the Mariners will look to fill the void within the organization. Currently, the Mariners have several options with Major League experience at the second base position.
Let’s see who we should expect to watch in Cano’s place for the next couple months.
As of Sunday night, Beckham is likely on his way to Minnesota to join the Mariners. The M’s will need to add Beckham to their 40-man roster, which currently houses 38 players.
The 31-year-old infielder is best known for his time with the Chicago White Sox from 2009-2015. Beckham has always been a below-average hitter in the big leagues, though he has consistently posted a positive defensive fWAR.
Beckham had a bit of success during Cactus League play and continued his success while with Tacoma. In 25 games, Beckham slashed .300/.412/.500 to the tune of a 138 wRC+. Perhaps the best statistic of all was his walk-rate (16.7%) being higher than his K-rate (12.3%).
That said, don’t expect Beckham to be very successful at the plate. There is a reason he’s now a fringe player in professional baseball. He probably is a better offensive option than Andrew Romine, however.
While Romine’s bat has heated up a bit in his last three games, he’s not someone to rely upon in Cano’s absence. Romine is a solid utility defender and pinch runner, but should definitely not be starting games for this team on a consistent basis.
Considering he’s never posted anything higher than a 70 wRC+ in a full season’s work, Romine would be a massive drop-off from Cano. Obviously pretty much anyone is going to be a drop-off from Cano, but Romine will basically give you little-to-nothing at the plate.
That’s just not the way to go.
This has been the popular solution on Twitter. Put Dee Gordon back at his natural position of second base and make Guillermo Heredia the everyday center fielder. Well, if you were paying attention during the offseason, you should know this is never going to happen.
Both Jerry Dipoto and Servais were asked if Dee could fill in for Cano at second on off-days, to which they said no. Dipoto and Servais are very keen on keeping Dee in center to get him as much experience there as possible. Servais reiterated this Sunday. Honestly, I don’t blame them.
Ripping Dee out of center to fill in at second for six-to-eight weeks will likely only cause more damage down the road. Once Cano eventually returns, Dee will have to get readjusted to center all over again. He’s only had about two-and-a-half months out there and is still visibly struggling to learn the position.
I mean, he’s not doing much else with his roster spot at the moment.
Or maybe let’s just get really crazy. Remember how Kyle Seager played 18 games for the Mariners at second base in 2012?
Post him at second, move Ryon Healy to third, and… what’s that I hear? Is that… is that DANIEL VOGELBACH’S MUSIC!?!?!?!? And he’s brought a friend, too! It’s Jayson Werth! Together, they form the ultimate tag-team duo… VOGELWERTH!!!
…What? Should I shut up now?
Sorry, it’s just a very emotional time. You understand.
In all seriousness, the Mariners are in quite a bind. There is likely no trade to be had this early in the season that can fill this hole. They don’t have a young, inspiring talent at second base (or any position for that matter) that can save the day. Gordon Beckham is likely Jean Segura’s new double-play twin until the All-Star break.
It’s going to be a rough start to the Summer.