Seattle Mariners fans are having a debate. Here's the question:
Should the team welcome Robinson Cano back to the starting lineup after his suspension or keep him on the bench?
The Mariners have been without the all-star second baseman for more than a month (May 13). When the injury and suspension occurred, baseball fans all thought this was a bad omen for the squad, but to the surprise of everybody, Seattle enters Wednesday with a 24-11 record since his departure.
This Mariners team has completely captured the heart of the city and all of this success is sparking mixed reviews for Cano's impending return on August 14.
Harold Reynolds of MLB Network said he believes the team should just use him as a pinch-hitter and welcome him back in 2019. Many fans on twitter caught wind of this and agreed with Reynolds.
Am I taking crazy pills? Why would a fan base want to sit one of its best players?
The first reasoning I hear surrounds team chemistry.
Look at the records, Evan! They were 22-17 with Cano and 24-11 without Cano!
I hear you. The squad has been nothing short of fantastic, but let's remember correlation does not imply causation.
The easiest argument against this is looking at the pitching staff's success. In the 35 games without Cano, the Mariners have only given up more than 3 runs 15 times. The team isn't crushing the ball night-in and night-out, the Mariners are just mowing down the competition.
Also, a very popular statistic in baseball is WAR or wins above replacement. For those unfamiliar with the statistic, it pretty much tells you a player's value towards a given team. In only 39 games, Cano still ranks third on the squad as far as hitting is concerned. Mitch Haniger and Jean Segura are the only hitters higher and have 30-plus games on Cano.
The second reasoning I hear is Cano is not eligible for the playoffs, so why mess everyone up for the postseason when he's inactive?
First of all, it is June 20. Let's not book a franchise that hasn't made the postseason since 2001 to the playoffs quite yet.
Second, despite Cano's inability to help the team in October, he unequivocally helps the squad on the road to October. Dee Gordon is a professional and can handle the swap back and forth from second base to centerfield and vice versa. He proved this before the season and he proved this in the middle of the season.
If you are a fan, just try and not think emotionally here. Look at this in a very black and white scenario (ignoring the suspension, which puts his spot in Cooperstown in question):
Do you want a hall of fame bat in the middle of your lineup or not?
I guarantee you if you go into that locker room they would want him back tomorrow if it were possible. If he comes back and looks out of whack, which based on historical statistics does not seem to happen often, let's talk.
Until then, see you on August 14, Cano. Cannot wait to see you!