Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto is not worried about how Robinson Cano’s return to the roster affects what the team had going without him.
He had given every indication that Cano will get regular playing time when the 35-year-old returns on what’s slated to be Aug. 14 in Oakland, and then he told Joel Sherman of the New York Post this week they plan to have Cano in the lineup every day.
This means Dee Gordon will get the bulk of the time at second base after transitioning back to his Gold Glove position from center field when Cano was suspended.
“Our expectation is that Dee Gordon is going to play second base,” Dipoto said. “(Cano) is not eligible for the postseason, so we have to get Dee on the field. Cano will play first base, occasionally second base and DH. He will be in the lineup every day.”
This had been the scenario for a while. Dipoto had recently said “I’ll talk to you about that later” when asked if Cano would be open to contributing somewhere other than second base.
Cano was then asked about that in his first and only interview with media members since he was suspended.
“I haven’t talked to Jerry yet, but I would do anything for the team,” Cano said two weeks ago. “This is not about myself. This is about us as a team.
“I’m focused on bringing a title to Seattle, so I would do whatever it takes to help this team win. At the same time, I understand I’m not going to be able to play in the playoffs, so you (have) to give a chance to Dee to go out and play because when we get to the playoffs he’s going to have to come back and play second base.”
Dipoto’s comments are contrary to that of former Mariners second baseman Harold Reynolds, the MLB Network analyst who told 950-KJR last month that, “the way the team is playing … I would just say we’ll see you next spring. We’ll use you as a pinch hitter.”
Cano has never played first base in the major leagues. He’s DHed, played second and some shortstop. If he’s splitting time at first base and DH, that means less playing time for Ryon Healy and Nelson Cruz, who have combined for 40 home runs.
It also complicates things for beyond this year, not that they weren’t already. Cruz is a pending free agent, Gordon is signed through 2020 with an option for 2021 and Cano is signed through 2023 after signing a 10-year, $240 million contract in 2014, though he lost almost $12 million of that because of this unpaid suspension.