Everyday until spring training begins the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog will review one player from the Yankees roster. We will review a total of 25 players, the 25 we believe will be on the active roster after spring training. Our reviews are all edited by Carl Pavano himself to insure they're up to the stringent "Pavano Tough" standards.
Robinson Cano had a less than amazing season last year. While his final numbers, a .271 average, 14 homeruns, and 72 RBI's are about what you would expect from a second baseman, they are not typical of what Cano has produced. In 2006, Cano hit 41 doubles, while competing for a batting title by hitting .342. In 2007, despite a terrible start that had everyone criticizing his free swinging ways, Cano finished with a .306 average, 19 homeruns, another 41 doubles and 97 RBI's. Everyone expected Cano to only improve upon these numbers, and viewed 2008 as his potential breakout season. This was the year he would hit 30 homeruns, bat .320, and finally take a few walks. However, the reality was far from the case. We saw Cano struggle to get going all season long, pretty much up until the last 10 games of the season where it appeared he finally warmed up. It was too little too late, and a very forgettable season came to an end for both the Yankees and Cano. Everyone questioned Cano's work ethic, especially after he was benched one game for not hustling after a grounder hit his way. Since the close of the season, many Yankee fan GM's have been clamoring for Cano to be traded. It would appear that clearer minds have prevailed in the front office on this matter. Cano has batted .297, .342, and .306 in the three seasons prior to 2008, but when he suddenly hits .271 everyone believes that he has shown his true colors, and want him off the team. However, you never trade a player at his lowest value. If we wanted to trade him, the .342 season would have been the one to do it. The question will undoubtedly be, which Cano will show up in 2009?
My Fearless Prediction
Robinson Cano will bat over .300, while hitting 25+ homeruns and appear more patient at the plate. This is not to say he'll draw a ton of walks, but rather that he'll likely take more pitches. A properly motivated Cano can be a devastating force in the lineup, and I think that last seasons lingering perceptions will be plenty of motivation to get Cano playing hard. I don't think he wants to hear for the remaining 3 years that the Yankees shouldn't have given him a contract, and that he's become lazy as a result of the money. He also doesn't want the Yankees to use that against him when his next free agency period arrives.
Little Known Robinson Cano Fact:
Cano is actually right handed, but swings lefty because he did not feel himself worthy of standing on the same side of the plate as Derek Jeter.