The Braves acquired an infielder Robinson Cano of the Padres for cash considerations, reports Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).
After being released by the Mets in May, Cano signed a big contract with the Padres soon after, but was later released again after refusing the team’s request to go Triple-A. Cano’s veteran status gave him the right to opt for free agency, but after checking his options in the open market, he re-signed with San Diego to a minor league deal.
Since reporting to Triple-A El Paso, Cano has hit well, posting a .333/.375/.479 slash line in 104 plate appearances. While obviously the minor league setting (and batting-friendly environment) has to be considered, Cano’s performance gives a hint that he still has something in the tank at 39, and after having missed the entire 2021 season due to a PED suspension. Cano has beaten just .149 / .182 / .189 on 77 PA combined with the Padres and Mets at the MLB level this season.
The Braves obviously saw something they liked and will now bring Cano back to Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador to see if he can revive his career. Atlanta has developed a knack for striking gold on struggling veterans, and just a year ago the club signed several of those players (i.e. Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler, Joc Pederson, Adam Duval) that ended up fueling their run for the World Series title. As poor as Cano looked earlier this season in New York, Mets fans must have some trepidation that Cano would suddenly catch fire and help Atlanta pass the Mets in Eastern Newfoundland.
Atlanta is lean on left-handed hitting, and there’s been a vacancy at second base since Ozzie Albies will be out until at least mid-August while he recovers from foot surgery. On paper, Cano is an interesting pack next to the right-handed hitter Orlando Arcia at second base, and another right-handed swinger in Marcell Ozuna to the designated hitter.
Not too long ago, Cano was still among the most feared bats in the game, as he posted an .896 OPS on 182 AP for the Mets during the shortened 2020 season. While his positive PED test inevitably casts doubt on those numbers, there’s not much risk for Atlanta in picking Cano to see what he can bring. Of the $24 million owed Cano for the 2022 season, the Braves will only have to cover the pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum wage once Cano reaches the active roster, as the Mariners ($3.75 million) and the Mets cover the rest.