Mariners Rumor: Cano Gearing Up to Play 1B… and 3B???
Mariners fans are less than two weeks away from the return of Robinson Cano. Most have assumed that Cano would get a bulk of his AB from first base. However, this may not be the case.
Mariners fans probably saw the tweets last night. Robinson Cano is working out in the Dominican Republic, taking reps at first, second, and THIRD base?
Naturally, the initial reaction was a bit of a shock. Third base? What about Kyle Seager? This on top of the usual questions like, “how will they get him AB”. What about Ryon Healy? Do you move Dee Gordon back to CF? Well today, we break down what this transition could look like and how it could help the Mariners.
Now, first of all, let’s all agree on the obvious: the Mariners NEED Robinson Cano’s bat in the lineup. They are a better team with him than without him, despite what click-baiting headlines would suggest.
So the question has always been about where to play Cano when he returns. The easy answer has always been first base. It makes sense. Ryon Healy hasn’t been great, and Dee Gordon has been quite good defensively.
But now, if Cano can actually play third, what does that mean? Ultimately, probably not a lot. Unlike Healy, Kyle Seager’s defense is worth keeping his struggling bat in the lineup. After all, Seager is still a better player than Healy (and it isn’t really close).
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However, this does NOT mean that there aren’t times where the Mariners best chance to win would include both Cano and Healy in the lineup. In addition, Kyle Seager is still dealing with a broken toe, and a day off now and then wouldn’t kill you. At least if you don’t have to replace him with Andrew Romine.
Which brings us to the biggest point: the return of Cano eliminates the need for a true utility option. Earlier today, Ty Gonzalez kicked around some Romine replacement options here. So how about the option of not carrying a utility man?
Hear me out. The Mariners don’t need a backup shortstop. Dee Gordon is more than capable of handling the position for several innings. The team can’t afford to give Segura a day off and if he needs a DL stint, you call up Zach Vincej.
The team has 4 outfielders, as well as Dee Gordon and Chris Herrmann who can play OF as well. Not using a roster spot on a utility option who brings no value allows you to do interesting things with your lineup, bullpen, or rotation.
So what does the Cano playing third base report really mean? Is Kyle Seager about to lose his job? No. Don’t be ridiculous. Seager’s defense is so valuable to the team, that he needs to get most of the reps there down the stretch.
Yet, having options is never a bad thing. The Mariners have entered the “sprint” portion of the season. They can no longer afford to play the long game. If using Cano, Healy, and Dee gives you a chance to win a particular game, Cano being able to play a decent third base is crucial to that alignment.
Seager is still going to get most, if not all the work. But flexibility is great. As is Robinson Cano’s bat.