CANO! (IT IS)
Talk about a dope! Ex-Yank foolish for following former mates A-Rod & Melky
Fair or not, it always felt like merely a matter of time before Robinson Cano wound up getting busted for PED use — and likely costing himself future election to the Hall of Fame. His close friend, Melky Cabrera, and his mentor, Alex Rodriguez, each served suspensions in years past for PED use, and the name of a spokeswoman for his charity foundation, Sonia Cruz, showed up on infamous list of Biogenesis Clinic clients list back in 2013. None of that meant Cano should have been judged guilty by association, but it was hard not to think those connections were relevant. And now it’s hard not to think he was beating the system for years, using PEDs that went undetected by Major League Baseball’s drug tests. There was always some thought the Yankees had such concerns as well when they drew the line on Cano’s contract negotiations after the 2013 season, allowing their best player to sign his 10-year, $240 million contract with the Mariners.
On Tuesday GM Brian Cashman seemed to at least hint at those concerns, answering a question from reporters before the Yankees-Nationals game in Washington, D.C. about Cano’s PED usage.
“I would have no knowledge, and if I did have knowledge I’d be compelled to tell Major League Baseball about it or I’d risk a million-dollar fine. Knowledge is one thing, suspicion is another.”
Cashman later clarified that he was speaking only in general terms, with no intent regarding Cano, but, in any case, let’s not pretend the Yankees wouldn’t have been happy to keep their All-Star second baseman around on financial terms to their liking. They did offer him seven years, $180 million, though knowing he wasn’t likely to accept it.
And let’s also not pretend they weren’t conflicted by their own decision. They were so worried about fan reaction, in fact, that they couldn’t wait to throw $153 million at Jacoby Ellsbury, as well as spending big on Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, and Masahiro Tanaka that winter.
At least Cano has produced for the Mariners and, unlike Ellsbury, proven especially durable — though it’s clear now that he had some help in that regard.
As announced on Tuesday, Cano failed a test not for a performance-enhancing drug itself but something called Furosemide, which is considered more of a masking agent that is used to flush the drugs out of the body. Cano, actually failed the test in spring training and only dropped his appeal a few days ago, according to an MLB source, which gave him plenty of time to prepare his defense. So when his 80-game suspension was announced it was no surprise that Cano was ready with a dog-ate-my-homework story about how this was the fault of some unknown doctor in the Dominican Republic who prescribed Furosemide as medication for an unknown ailment.
As if a player making huge money wouldn’t consult with his team’s medical people and/or his high-powered agents about using Furosemide, which is technically considered a diuretic but is listed as a PED in MLB’s joint drug agreement.
Please, Robbie, we know too much by now.
Nobody is shocked or even surprised at the news that a big-name player has been using PEDs. The chemists are always ahead of the drug-testing: remember, A-Rod apparently passed tests for years when he was using PEDs, and was only suspended based on circumstantial evidence provided mostly by Anthony Bosch in the Biogenesis case.
It was Bosch too who eventually explained how players took gummy-bear type PEDs before games that dissolved so quickly as to be out of their system and undetectable in a matter of hours.
As such baseball, and really all sports, are never going to be rid of PEDs, but I do think MLB’s drug-testing serves as a deterrent that scares plenty of players from partaking, for fear of slipping up as Cano did and others have done.
In short, this isn’t the so-called Steroids Era when bulked-up sluggers were making a mockery of the sport by taking anabolic steroids that transformed their bodies and even increased the size of their heads, at least in Barry Bonds’ case, allowing some to hit the ball farther in their late 30s than they did in their prime.
Those days are over because players can’t take the hard-core stuff without being caught, which is why teams have become averse to giving long-term contracts to players even in their early 30s, as baseball continues to trend younger and younger.
These days the PEDs players take are more about helping them recover quickly from workouts and games, enhancing their ability to stay strong and healthy, and produce over 162 games.
Only the complete dopes like three-time offender Jenrry Mejia get nailed for using the old-school steroids such as boldenone and stanozolol. In any case, banned substances are banned substances, and perhaps Cano’s failed test explains how he has played at least 150 games a year for the last 11 seasons.
Of course, his luck also went bad when he was hit by a pitch on Sunday, breaking his hand. But as it turns out, he had already dropped his appeal and was going to be suspended anyway, so he’ll serve some of his 80 games while unable to play anyway.
That’s a flaw in the system that MLB needs to address — games served while on the DL shouldn’t count toward the suspension.
And MLB needs to continue stiffening the penalty — first-time offenders should have to serve a full season’s worth of games.
As it is, Cano will lose nearly half of his $24 million salary and, more important to his Mariners’ ballclub that is off to a solid start at 23-17, he’ll be ineligible for the postseason.
Finally we’ll see if getting busted turns Cano into a lesser player over the final five years of his contract. I’m convinced that his talent, offensively as well as defensively, was such that he probably didn’t need PEDs to play at such a high level all these years.
But, much like A-Rod, he was dumb and greedy enough that using them will almost certainly keep him out of the Hall of Fame.
He may no longer wear pinstripes but Seattle’s Robinson Cano is still one of the biggest stars in the game, making his 80-game ban for violating MLB’s Joint Drug Agreement all the more shocking, even though the All-Star second baseman denies he has...