Cano Suspended 80 Games

marc w · May 15, 2018 at 5:08 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

The M’s won their make-up game thanks to a great start from Wade LeBlanc and some shut-down relief work. They head home to take on a reeling Rangers club, mired in last place in the division. What could possibly bring down the M’s, save having to go back to Minnesota on another off-day? What’s that?

Oh…ohhh. Yeah, that’d qualify.

The initial reports, as they’re wont to do, made it seem like something of a hard-luck situation. Cano claimed he had a valid medical reason to use the masking agent/diuretic (Furosemide), it’s just that his doctor in the Dominican Republic didn’t know it was on MLB’s banned list of substances. Mark Feinsand’s sources say it was for high blood pressure, and that he tested clean before and after. But cracks started appearing in that defense pretty soon afterwards: in MLB – unlike the Olympics – a player can get a therapeutic exemption if the doctor can show that the substance was prescribed for a valid medical issue. That’s not what happened here. As ESPN investigative journalist TJ Quinn wrote (and talked about on 710am), MLB needed evidennce that the masking agent was used to mask an actual PED, and that it wasn’t used to lower Cano’s blood pressure. No one knows or is saying what that PED was, or what evidence MLB marshaled, but it seems like MLB was able to meet that standard, and that – not the pinky injury – is why Cano dropped his appeal.

At least if tonight’s line-up is anything to go by, the M’s are keeping Dee Gordon in CF and will go with Gordon Beckham at 2B. [EDIT: whoopsadoodle. After writing that, Shannon Drayer tweets that the M’s are indeed moving Dee back to 2B, and shows a picture to prove it. Huh.]That takes care of their alignment, but let’s be clear: this does tremendous damage to their playoff chances. The M’s don’t have much margin for error simply because the wild card race will include at least two frighteningly good teams: whoever loses the AL East, and the Angels. The M’s are running close behind the Angels, and while the Halos are better on paper, you could envision a scenario in which the M’s slip by them. With Cano now missing half the year, you’ve got to halve his production, and if the M’s contend and win ~90 games, that’d presumably be a sizable amount. There’s almost no way this doesn’t shave 1.5-2 wins off of the M’s total, unless Gordon Beckham turns back the clock to 2009. In another year, maybe that’s 1.5 wins you could make up somewhere else. When the M’s need a break or two to close the gap? This feels like a massive, massive blow.

The M’s have other players who’ve been suspended for PEDs, including Dee Gordon and Nelson Cruz. You could make the case that Cruz’s suspension in 2013 was similar, in that it impacted a pennant chase: the Rangers won 91 games that year, but lost the AL West to Oakland and ultimately didn’t make the playoffs. That probably made their decision not to re-sign him in 2014 a bit easier. The M’s and Cano are linked for a lot longer than this year, and as these two players show, fans are willing to forgive and forget after a while. Cano will be back this year – though he couldn’t play in the playoffs if the M’s made it- but the impact here isn’t so much on his legacy or fan reaction (though there will be an impact), but on the M’s playoff odds. This self-inflicted wound comes at precisely the wrong time, and I’d assume his teammates are livid, however much they want to believe their clubhouse leader.

The M’s would be playing today’s game in a daze no matter what – it’s their third game in three days in three cities, after all. But today’s news has to hit hard. I’m still not sure if it’s helpful to go out and play instead of answer questions about the news, or if playing when even a fraction of your mind is on something else is the equivalent of playing with an injury. Whatever the answer, the M’s have to focus on the Rangers now. This was supposed to be the easy part of the schedule – the Rangers just passed the M’s in HR/9, and their staff ranks 26th in MLB in both fWAR and ERA. Their offense is somehow even worse, and just today, Adrian Beltre moved to the DL with an injury, joining Elvis Andrus. With the Astros and Angels playing each other, this series is the best chance for the M’s to move up.

1: Gordon, CF
2: Segura, SS
3: Haniger, RF
4: Cruz, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Healy, 1B
7: Zunino, C
8: Heredia, LF
9: Beckham, 2B
SP: Leake

Ryon Healy’s been red hot since the Cleveland series; this would be a great time for Nellie Cruz to break out of the doldrums he’s been in since his own DL stint back in April.

Jayson Werth had his best game for the R’s last night, going 3-4 with 2 2Bs and a HR in the Rainiers’ 8-5 win over Sacramento. That brings his season OPS up to .572, so there’s room for improvement there, but it’s nice to see signs that the rust is falling away. Rob Whalen gave up 5 R in 5 IP, albeit with 8 Ks, but Casey Lawrence reacted well to getting optioned down with 4 brilliant, scoreless IP to close it out. He K’d 5. They played an early one today, with the Rainiers again winning 8-5. They were held scoreless through 5, but scored all 8 in the 6th-8th innings. Max Povse wasn’t great, but got his ERA under 9, and K’d 9 in 5 IP (with 4 BBs). Lindsey Caughel got his first AAA win in relief.

Arkansas destroyed rebel holdouts NW Arkansas 13-5, hopefully ending this longstanding Texas-league Intrastate Civil War. Chris Mariscal hit a grand slam in the first, which is a good way to set the tone in a game. Andrew Moore starts for the Travelers tonight.

Modesto lost to Lake Elsinore 9-1, their 3rd straight loss to the Storm. Starter Reggie McClain wasn’t bad, but the bullpen gave up 5 runs, and the Nuts offense wasn’t in it anyway. They’ll try their luck against San Jose tonight, with Danny Garcia on the mound.

Clinton had a tough test, facing rehabbing MLB player/uberprospect Alex Reyes. So, uh, maybe we can forgive them for getting blown away by Reyes, who went 5 scoreless innings, striking out 12 Lumberkings. They got a couple of runs off the Peoria bullpen, but couldn’t erase an early deficit in what ended up a 5-2 loss. They played an early one today, and if anything, it went even worse than last night. Peoria ended up winning by a score of 13-1, with Clinton’s Oliver Jaskie taking the loss and reliever Adonis Cruz giving up 9 runs in 2 2/3 IP.


14 Responses to “Cano Suspended 80 Games”

  1. Westside guy on May 15th, 2018 6:27 pm

    The temptation to cheat has to be great, especially for a competitive, aging superstar who’s still under contract for five more seasons at 24 mil per. I can’t imagine a superstar and likely hall of famer wanting to be remembered for the 72 million he was paid even after no team was willing to give him a roster spot (just to hypothesize regarding one possible future scenario).

  2. mksh21 on May 15th, 2018 7:03 pm

    IF baseball really wanted to end this they would take BACK earnings achieved while cheating. Arod made what half a billion cheating and got suspended once at the end of his career? It’s like robbing your work place blind, but you get to keep the money, get a vacation, then they hire you back and say please don’t do it again and keep paying you.

  3. Longgeorge1 on May 15th, 2018 7:04 pm

    I wonder what percentage of PED users get caught. Perhaps why we still see players going the PED route is that some/many/most/nearly all beat the system.

  4. WTF_Ms on May 15th, 2018 7:43 pm

    Robbie knew about this since Spring Training. He knew it was coming, it just took this long. On another topic, Heredia has been out of position more than two times in key situations. Maybe not the best position for him? Move Gordon to 2nd base?

  5. Westside guy on May 15th, 2018 7:54 pm

    From what Dipoto said, they are indeed moving Gordon back to second (which Marc parenthetically mentioned) after giving him time to reacclimate to the infield. When Cano comes back, Dee goes back to Center.

    Drayer had pictures of him shagging balls, with his infield glove on, this afternoon.

  6. WTF_Ms on May 15th, 2018 10:00 pm

    Also, why is Nicasio still on this team? We have to have someone in AAA that can NOT give up holds every game?

  7. Grayfox3d on May 15th, 2018 10:09 pm

    Get Nicasio off this roster!!! It’s bad enough what they are dealing with as far as Cano and now Cruz but they can control the Nicasio situation and he’s lost it.

  8. mrakbaseball on May 15th, 2018 10:11 pm

    Nicasio is just throwing BP at this point

  9. mrakbaseball on May 15th, 2018 10:20 pm

    At least they have Segura

  10. WTF_Ms on May 15th, 2018 10:32 pm

    Do they generally wait until the game is over to announce someone gets sent down? I’d love to see someone get sent down mid-game. Again Heredia out of position. Just sayin’!

  11. WTF_Ms on May 15th, 2018 10:33 pm

    Wow. The clown show continues!

  12. WTF_Ms on May 15th, 2018 11:33 pm

    The home plate ump sux quite a bit too.

  13. Grayfox3d on May 16th, 2018 12:17 am

    WTF_Ms your boy Heredia won it! Lol

  14. LongDistance on May 16th, 2018 11:00 am

    Cano. I just typed something. And deleted it all.

    Welcome back to your regularly scheduled program.

    Go M’s!

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