When Robinson Cano signed a massive 10-year, $240 million deal with the Seattle Mariners as a free agent in the winter of 2013, the 31-year-old second baseman admitted to reporters that he felt disrespected by the Yankees in contract negotiations.
Cano, who had just wrapped up his ninth season in the Bronx, was inclined to spend his entire career with one team. Brian Cashman also envisioned a long-term relationship with the five-time All-Star, but he wasn’t willing to offer Cano a contract longer than seven years. As much as it upset Cano, the Yankees were firm in their approach.
And so Cano moved on. He ultimately found a new home in Seattle, and over the last five seasons, he’s played quite well.
But it appears the Yankees were smart to balk at Cano’s demands, since the slugger’s stature has been tarnished.
On Tuesday, Cano received an 80-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s joint drug agreement. He was banned for using a diuretic called Furosemide, which is commonly used to mask performance-enhancing drug (PED) use. Although Cano initially appealed the suspension, he later dropped the appeal, and as a result, he will will be ineligible for postseason play.
Cashman recently told Brendan Kuty of NJ.com that he didn’t have any knowledge that Cano was doping during his playing days with the Yankees.
“I had no knowledge. If I did have knowledge, I would be compelled to tell baseball or I risk a $1 million or more fine,” Cashman said. “We’re part of the program, and one of Major League Baseball’s initiatives is if I have knowledge of anybody past or present, I’m obligated to convey that knowledge to Major League Baseball. And I take that seriously. And so, knowledge is one thing, suspicion is another.
Cano isn’t the first former Yankee to be tied to PED use in the last decade. In 2012, San Francisco Giants’ outfielder Melky Cabrera was suspended 50 games by MLB after testing positive for high levels of testosterone. In 2013, Alex Rodriguez was suspended 162 games for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. Cano, Cabrera, and Rodriguez were teammates in New York from 2005 to 2009.
In a statement that Cano released to the public on social media, he claims that the banned substance was given to him by a licensed doctor in the Dominican Republic. Cano also says that the substance was used to treat a medical ailment, and he wasn’t aware that the substance was banned from the game.
Cashman told NJ.com that the Yankees advise their players on how to solicit the best medical advice, but in the end, the players have to be held accountable for any mistakes or wrongdoings.