After ESPN’s Jeff Passan broke the news of Mets second baseman Robinson Canó testing positive for steroids, it was revealed that the incident ultimately saves the Mets from paying Canó’s $24 million salary in 2021. That might be the worst news in the world if you’re a Yankees fan hoping to bring back D.J. LeMahieu because the Mets’ new owner Steve Cohen now has a lot of extra money laying around.
BREAKING: New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano has tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug and will be suspended for the entire 2021 season, sources familiar with the situation tell ESPN. He will forfeit a $24 million salary. News story will be up soon at ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 18, 2020
For Steve Cohen, Cano’s positive test will be just the thing to help the Mets become a major player in this year’s free agency. Some worried rival executives have characterized Cohen as “aggressive” and “George Steinbrenner-like.” That’s not a bad thing, but Steve Cohen was still limited in what he could spend. Until now. Out of the blue, Robinson Cano just handed Cohen a $24 million check to spread elsewhere on the roster. Who might the Mets need? Well, they’re thin in the middle infield, and one of the best middle infielders in the league just happens to be on the market: D.J. LeMahieu.
Most executives believe the Yankees and LeMehieu are a match made in heaven, so what’s the hold up? Finances. The New York Yankees are on record saying that they are considering cutting payroll, which makes LeMahieu and his expected multi-year, $80 million contract a problem. It’s at the very least possible that the Yankees will low-ball him and lose him to a higher bidder.
Would Steve Cohen spend on LeMehieu?
He should. Every MLB organization has financial limitations, and bad contracts play a major part in pursuing free agents. Cano’s boneheaded decision suddenly gives the Mets the financial freedom to spend this offseason. So, is the move likely?
No, it’s not likely that the Yankees would allow their cross-town rival to pull away their most consistent player. At the very least, this Mets’ blessing in disguise pushes the Yankees to a higher price point. That’s a victory for the Mets and for every other organization outside the Bronx.
Every team can technically afford LeMahieu, so it’s just a matter of which team wants him the most. Today’s news on Robi Cano astronomically improves the chances that the Mets at least try for him. That’s great news for their fan base, and it doesn’t hurt D.J. either.
It’s always nice to have another bidder.