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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Robinson Canó deal with Padres

After being released by the Mets, Robinson Canó appears to have found a new home. The Padres are closing in on a Major League deal with the eight-time All-Star, sources told MLB.com on Thursday.

The move, which was first reported by MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, is not yet final, and the team has not announced the details.

The 39-year-old Canó was designated for assignment by the Mets on May 2 despite still having two years and $37.6 million left on his contract. He batted .195 with one home run and three RBIs in 12 games with New York in 2022. After being DFAed, Canó would make the veteran minimum in San Diego.

Here’s a quick look at what the deal means for the Padres:

Clearly, the Padres’ offense has some upside. But its lack of depth has been exposed in the early part of the season. That’s where Canó comes in.

The veteran slugger gives the Padres a needed lefty weapon off their bench. In a pinch, it’s easy to envision Canó batting for, say, shortstop Ha-Seong Kim, catcher Austin Nola or outfielder José Azocar late in games. Bob Melvin has always been one of the league’s most aggressive managers when it comes to playing matchups.

Canó might also get occasional starts at designated hitter — though Luke Voit announced his return to the lineup with authority on Wednesday, and the Padres still view Voit as their regular DH. Canó could serve as a backup at second base, too (which, by default, gives the Padres extra cover at shortstop as well, because starting second baseman Jake Cronenworth can handle both positions).

No, this is not the same Canó who recorded five consecutive top six MVP finishes from 2010-14, and it’s not the same Canó who won five Silver Slugger Awards and two Gold Gloves with the Yankees.

But it is a low-risk option who could give the Padres a boost against right-handed pitching. Canó missed the entire 2021 season due to his second PED suspension. In ’20, he batted, .339/.368/.534 against right-handers. He’s off to a slow start in ’22, but the Padres are hopeful he can tap into some of that production.

Canó also hails from San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, where Fernando Tatis Jr. is from.

No, Canó isn’t the cure-all for the Padres’ offensive issues. He helps with their bench depth. But the biggest reason for the offense’s slow start — aside from injuries to Tatis, Voit and Wil Myers — is the lack of production in the outfield.

As trade season approaches, the Padres’ top priority will be adding an outfield bat. For now, however, they think a signing like Canó can provide a legitimate roster boost around the edges.

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