Cano to join recent longtime stars who returned as opponents

A look at sluggers who bolted the only franchise they knew for a big payday.

Robinson Cano will make his return to Yankee Stadium tonight — his first game back in the Bronx since signing a 10-year, $240 million with the Mariners this offseason.

amNewYork takes a look at some other sluggers who bolted the only franchise they knew for a big payday, how they fared in their first game back and how their careers progressed afterward. Because the Angels’ Albert Pujols has yet to return to St. Louis, he was left off our list.


A seven-time All-Star and 1986 World Series champion as a member of the Mets, Strawberry fled Queens in favor of Hollywood and a five-year, $22.25 million deal with the Dodgers. He hit a home run in his first game back at Shea Stadium on May 7, 1991, in a 6-5 loss.

Although he was an All-Star in his first season in Los Angeles and slugged 28 home runs, his numbers took a turn for the worse. After several injury-plagued seasons and a brief but tumultuous stint with the Giants, he joined the Yankees and won three rings as a member of their late-90s dynasty.


Asterisk or not, Bonds impacted baseball like very few players have in the game’s history. After two NL MVPs in seven seasons with the Pirates, Bonds signed a six-year, $43.75 million deal with the Giants and made the “City by the Bay” his home for the next 15 seasons.

He returned to Pittsburgh April 9, 1993, in his second-ever series as a Giant, going 2-for-4 with a double, triple and three runs scored in his first game as an opposing player at Three Rivers Stadium, but his former team prevailed, 6-5.

Bonds was a 12-time All-Star and five-time MVP with San Francisco, eventually — and controversially — eclipsing Hank Aaron’s home run record.


There are few things that A-Rod likes more than money and attention, and signing with the Rangers before the 2001 season gave him plenty of both. His 10-year, $252 million contract more than doubled the previous high in professional sports and infuriated Mariners fans. They rejoiced on April 16, 2001, however, when the Mariners beat Texas, 9-7, in Rodriguez’s uneventful 1-for-5 homecoming.

With the Rangers, his stats were off the charts and, admittedly, chemically enhanced. He led the AL in home runs during all three seasons in Texas, but his teams finished last in the AL West every year. That prompted the team to unload his enormous contract on the Yankees, with whom he won a World Series in 2009.


After eight seasons with the Athletics, Giambi decided to cash in on his big power numbers. Since the A’s weren’t interested in shelling out big-money contracts, Giambino found a home with the Yankees, who gave him a seven-year, $120 million deal.

Giambi is the lone player on this list who won his return to his former home, a 2-1 victory in Oakland on April 23, 2012. He was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.

Although he has never won a World Series, Giambi has had a very solid career, with 438 home runs to date and, at 43, still plays for the Indians.


Right after he won the batting title in 2011 with the Mets, Reyes decided to join the “new-look” Marlins as a free agent, signing a six-year, $106 million with the Fish. He and the team flopped, however, as the Marlins finished 69-93 and wound up last in the NL East, five games behind the Mets. He was hitless in four at bats in his first game back in Queens, a 2-1 Marlins loss.

After that season, Reyes was traded to the Blue Jays, who also finished in last place with him on the roster in 2013. Injuries are always a concern with the shortstop, so maybe its best that the Mets didn’t lock him up long-term.