New York Mets manager Buck Showalter admitted that the decision to designate veteran second baseman Robinson Cano for assignment was a “difficult” one for the organization.
“The thing about [GM Billy Eppler] is that he’s known him since he was 18-19 years old,” Showalter said as the two first connected while working with the Yankees organization. “Emotional for all of us… You think about those kinds of relationships. The good news is that he’ll be expecting to get another opportunity and it wouldn’t at all surprise anybody if he contributes.”
Cano’s contributions came few and far between with the Mets in the early goings of 2022, which was his first season back in the majors after he was suspended for the entire 2021 campaign. In 12 games, he slashed .195/.233/.268 (.501 OPS) with one home run and three RBI, making him a prime candidate to get the ax as MLB teams needed to trim their rosters to 26 players by Monday.
Showalter added that Eppler offered Cano an opportunity to be optioned to Triple-A Syracuse to get at-bats, but the 39-year-old declined.
“Just what was best for our club at this point and personnel as we go forward,” Showalter said on why Cano was the odd man out. “Being able to get some people in the mix more consistently who deserve it.”
That sentiment ranges to the likes of JD Davis, Luis Guillorme, and Dominic Smith, but the Mets’ skipper also added that they are keeping an eye on the future.
“Robby is a talented hitter so are some of the other guys that it might have affected,” he said. “There are some guys coming and there are people in the farm system. This decision goes a lot deeper than the 26 players that are here.”
Come of those 26 players that are in the big-league clubhouse alluded to just how difficult it might have been to see Cano cut — most notably star shortstop Francisco Lindor, who said he “wouldn’t be happy” and that he “[didn’t] want to see that happen.”
Entering Monday night’s matchup with the Atlanta Braves, Showalter had not taken the temperature of the clubhouse following the news.
“One of the things we wanted to do with that locker room was that it was going to be players. Not bullpen catchers, not batting practice pitchers… There are 26 players in that clubhouse and nobody else in there. We’ll give them a little space with it… [and then] talk about it.
“Timing is everything… Maybe they’re not [upset]. Don’t create a problem that may not be there. But you have to be aware that the potential is there… You can’t say ‘hey this is how you should feel.’ That’s not right. You have the right to have your feeling and you don’t have the right to impose. That’s their perogative.”