The Braves have acquired infielder Robinson Cano from Padres for cash considerations, reports Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).
After being released by the Mets in May, Cano signed a major league deal with the Padres shortly afterwards, but was then released again after rejecting the team’s request to go to Triple-A. Cano’s veteran status gave him the right to choose a free agency, but after checking his options on the open market, he re-signed with San Diego on a minor league deal.
Since reporting to Triple-A El Paso, Cano has hit well, with a slash of .333 / .375 / .479 over 104 record appearances. While the minor league attitude (and the hit-friendly environment) obviously needs to be taken into account, Cano’s performance gives some hints that he still has something in mind at the age of 39, and after missing the entire 2021 season on due to a PED suspension. Cano only beat .149 / .182 / .189 over 77 combined PA with Padres and Mets at MLB level this season.
The Braves obviously saw something they liked, and will now bring Cano back to NL East to see if he can revive his career. Atlanta has developed an ability to beat gold on struggling veterans, and it was only a year ago that the club acquired several such players (ie. Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler, Joc Pedersen, Adam Duvall) who ended up nurturing the World Series title. As bad as Cano looked earlier this season in New York, Mets fans must have some sympathy over the fact that Cano suddenly caught fire and helped Atlanta take on the Mets in NL East.
Atlanta is thin on left-handed shots, and there is a free spot on the other base side Ozzie Albies will be out until at least mid-August while recovering from foot surgery. On paper, Cano is an interesting platoon that fits in with the right-handed battle Orlando Arcia on second base, and another right turn in Marcell Ozuna by designated hitter.
It was not long since Cano was still among the game’s most feared bats, when he released a .896 OPS over 182 PA for the Mets during the shortened 2020 season. Although his positive PED test inevitably casts doubt on these numbers, there is not much risk for Atlanta to bring in Cano to see what he can contribute. Of the $ 24 million that Cano owes for the 2022 season, the Braves will only have to cover the proportionate part of the MLB minimum wage when Cano hits the active roster, as the Mariners ($ 3.75 MM) and the Mets cover the rest.