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Mo wrong on Cano vs. Pedroia

5/6/2014

Dustin Pedroia over Robinson Cano? Let's take a look at the facts:

• The highest OPS Pedroia has produced in a season is .869. Cano has bettered that number six times.

• Cano has won the Silver Slugger award five times, which goes to the best offensive player at a particular position. Pedroia has one.

• On defense, they are both elite. Pedroia has three Gold Gloves, Cano has two. And while the Gold Glove is not the best metric to grade fielders, we can all agree both players are excellent on defense.

• In the past seven seasons, Cano has played in an average of 160 games. Pedroia has appeared in 141 per season in the same span. Pedroia won the MVP in 2007, while Cano's best showing was fourth in 2012.

• Pedroia crushes Cano in grass stains.

When you add it up, Mariano Rivera's take on the Cano-Pedroia competition -- an item designed to sell his book, "The Closer" -- is wrong. Cano is a better player than Pedroia. If you had one game, you would rather have Cano than Pedroia. Plus, there is a better chance Cano would be available to play.

The real damning criticism is Rivera throwing his ex-teammate to the wolves, writing that Cano's commitment level is not one of an elite player.

Robinson Cano

Robinson Cano

#22 2B
Seattle Mariners

2014 STATS

  • GM30
  • HR1

  • RBI18

  • R14

  • OBP.338

  • AVG.292

"This guy has so much talent, I don't know where to start," Rivera writes of Cano. "There is no doubt that he is a Hall of Fame caliber [player]. It's just a question of whether he finds the drive you need to get there. I don't think Robby burns to be the best. ... You don't see that red-hot passion in him that you see in most elite players."

As a reporter we get to see a fair amount, but Rivera had a much better seat to judge Cano's commitment. While I saw the jogs to first and the seeming nonchalance at times, I also witnessed Cano taking extra BP more than any of the Yankees stars.

Still, I have to defer to Rivera's view on Cano's desire. Rivera has climbed to join the all-time elites in baseball, and he watched Cano nearly every day of Cano's major league career. So it tells you a lot that Rivera thought Cano could have tried harder.

Cano is gone. The Yankees thought enough of him to offer $175 million. In the rewriting of Cano's Yankees career, it seems like he was worth little to nothing. Even if you believe he was only going 80 percent, I'd take it over 100 percent of Pedroia in a big spot.