Ex-Seattle Mariners Coach Rips Robinson Cano: ‘He Was The Worst 3rd Hitter I’ve Ever Seen’
Since leaving the New York Yankees for the Seattle Mariners, Robinson Cano has struggled to replicate his prior success and former Mariners third base coach Andy Van Slyke didn’t mince words in an interview with CBS Sports Radio 920 (viaSports Illustrated).
Van Slyke, 54, served as the Mariners’ third-base coach in 2015 but was fired after the season, along with GM Jack Zduriencik, manager Lloyd McClendon, and the rest of the coaching staff.
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The former Major Leaguer places most of the blame on Cano’s poor season and his influence on the entire organization.
“Robinson Cano cost the GM his job, the hitting coach got fired because of Cano and then the manager and coaches got fired because of Cano, because that’s how much impact he has on the organization. He was the worst player and it cost people their jobs in the process.”
Cano left the Yankees after the 2013 season to sign a 10-year, $240 million contract to join the Mariners, as previously reported by the Inquisitr. The signing ended Cano’s nine-year tenure in New York, in which he made six All-Star teams, won two Gold Gloves, and five Silver Sluggers.
However, his first two years in Seattle have been mired in disappointment. The Mariners have not reached the playoffs in any of those three seasons as Cano’s offensive production has dipped. In 2015, the 33-year-old posted his lowest batting average (.287) and OBP (.334) since 2008. He contributed 21 HR and 79 RBI, as well.
While Cano’s overall stats on the season were productive, he struggled mightily through the All-Star break. The left-handed swinging Cano batted a meager.251 with six HR and 30 RBI, per ESPN. But, his production picked up drastically after the break, hitting.351 with 15 HR and 49 RBI. As it turned out, Cano was battling a stomach ailment during his struggles, as Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today wrote.
The issue dated back to the previous August, as Cano told Ortiz it zapped him of his usual energy.
“It still affects me. Sometimes you drink water and it makes you feel like vomiting. I can’t eat the same way I did. It’s hard to deal with, especially being the first time this has happened to me. Sometimes I eat only once a day before playing because I feel full. And you just don’t have the same energy.”
Aside from his stomach issue, Cano also revealed that the death of grandfather was still on his mind. With his struggles worsening, Cano said that he did not have his “No.1 fan” to seek advice from anymore.
“He was my No. 1 fan. If he were alive now, he would call me and say, ‘Hey, what’s going on? Last year you had better numbers. What’s happening? Are you OK?”’
However, the reasons for Cano’s struggles did little to appease Van Slyke, who says that he views Cano as one of the worst No.3 three hitters he’s ever seen.
“Robinson Cano was the single worst third-place everyday player I’ve ever seen, for the first half of a Major League Baseball season. He couldn’t drive home Miss Daisy if he tried. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t get a hit when it mattered.”
Despite being a two-time Gold Glove winner in 2010 and 2011, Van Slyke was even more critical of Cano’s ability on the defensive side of the ball. A former winner of five consecutive Gold Gloves as a centerfielder from 1988-92, Van Slyke says that Cano is the worst defender he’s ever seen at the keystone.
“He played the worst defense I’ve ever seen at second. I mean the worst defensive second baseman ever, I’ve ever seen, in 20 years in the big leagues.”
In the same interview, Van Slyke also hinted that Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw wants talented but troubled outfielder Yasiel Puig off the team. Since taking the league by storm in 2013, Puig has struggled to stay in shape and expand on his hot start.
“When the best player – the highest-paid player on the Los Angeles Dodgers – goes to the GM and… is asked what are [the needs of the Dodgers], this particular highest-paid player said, ‘The first thing you need to do is get rid of Puig.’ That’s all you need to know.”
[Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images]