The Braves acquired infielders Robinson Cano from the Padres for cash payments, reports Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).
After being released by the Mets in May, Cano signed a major league contract with the Padres shortly thereafter, but was then released after rejecting the team’s request to move to Triple-A. Cano’s veteran status gave him the right to choose free agency, but after evaluating his options in the open market, he re-signed to a minor league contract with San Diego.
Since reporting to Triple-A El Paso, Cano has done well, posting a .333/.375/.479 slash in 104 plate appearances. While of course the minor league environment (and hitter-friendly environment) must be taken into account, Cano’s performance gives an indication that he still has something in the tank at the age of 39 and after missing the entire 2021 season due to a PED suspension . Cano batted just .149/.182/.189 over 77 combined PA with the Padres and Mets at the MLB level this season.
The Braves obviously saw something they liked and will now take Cano back to the NL East to see if he can revive his career. Atlanta has developed a knack for striking gold at struggling veterans, and just a year ago the club had several such players (ie Eddie Rosario, Joerg Soler, Joc Pederson, Adam Duval), which ultimately fueled their run to the World Series title. As poor as Cano looked in New York earlier this season, Mets fans must have some fears that Cano will suddenly catch fire and help Atlanta pass the Mets in the NL East.
Atlanta is thin on left-hand batting and has had a vacancy at second base ever since Ozzie Albies will be out until at least mid-August while recovering from foot surgery. On paper, Cano is an interesting move that fits next to the right-hander Orlando Arkia Come in on second base and another right swinger Marcell Ozuna at the designated hitter.
It wasn’t long ago that Cano was still among the most feared bats of the game as he posted an .896 OPS over 182 PA in the abridged 2020 season for the Mets. While his positive PED test inevitably throws those numbers into question, there’s not much risk for Atlanta to pick Cano up to see what he can contribute. Of the $24 million owed to Cano for the 2022 season, the Braves only need to cover the prorated portion of the MLB minimum salary once Cano is placed on the active roster, as the Mariners ($3.75 million ) and Mets cover the rest.