One Minor Good Thing, One Major Bad Thing
Initially I was just planning to do a drive-by post about Robinson Cano and his having played in a bandbox in New York for the last five years. In these situations, there’s always some concern that the hitter in question was just a product of his environment, but with Cano, there’s little reason for worry, which is good. However, by the official Mariners constitution, we’re not allowed to have sustainable good feelings about them or their players or their organization for more than several minutes at a time, so while I was in the process of looking some numbers up, Geoff Baker dropped the bomb.
First, whatever, some Cano splits. New Yankee Stadium opened in 2009, so Cano called that ballpark home for five years. Cano’s a left-handed hitter, and that stadium is laughably generous with left-handed hitters. That would be a concern, but it turns out the concern is unwarranted. The last five years, 155 players have batted at least 1,000 times at home. By wRC+, Cano ranks 30th, at 137. He’s tied with Adrian Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki.
The last five years, 166 players have batted at least 1,000 times on the road. By wRC+, Cano ranks seventh, at 140. He’s between Joe Mauer and Mike Napoli. Cano, at home, has hit more dingers, but on the road, he’s hit more doubles, and when you go through all the calculations there’s no evidence that Cano enjoyed a particular home-field advantage. With Seattle, he probably won’t be so much of a power hitter, but he’ll still be a highly productive hitter, at least at first. Unless, you know, there’s some disaster. We seem to have a lot of disasters.
And here, you can read the disastrous article about how the Mariners have been run under Jack Zduriencik and the people above him. It’s way too thorough for me to try to attempt a one-paragraph summary, so just go read it although I might not read it over an otherwise potentially pleasant weekend. You’ll begin to understand why the Mariners are going for it right now, even though they didn’t come into the winter with a strong enough foundation. You’ll begin to understand an awful lot, and while we’ve written about some of these things before, there are more details and there’s significance in confirmations and material being made public. Not all of this is surprising, and maybe very little of it is surprising, but it’s awful and to our knowledge it isn’t changing. Chuck Armstrong is going away, but that might not meaningfully change anything at all, and, well, this is our ship. It’s up to you to determine whether or not it’s sinking, but the water’s freezing cold and there aren’t any lifeboats.
Robinson Cano is a Mariner, and he’s been excellent away from Yankee Stadium. Also, he’s one of baseball’s premier hitters when it comes to spraying the ball around all fields. Didn’t mention that part before. Cano’s pretty great. The overall situation controlling the franchise is a wreck and the people pulling the strings have very little understanding of player value and evaluation. Lots of people like to drink on Saturday night. Maybe have yourself an extra.