As a ball player, I’ve always respected how talented Robinson Cano is. As a person however, he comes off as cocky, smug, and now he’s proven to be a cheater.
This past Tuesday, Cano was handed an 80-game suspension for using a diuretic called furosemide. Although he wasn’t pinched for any performance enhancing drugs, furosemide is on MLB’s banned substance list because it can be used to flush your system of other incriminating substances.
Back in late 2013 when Seattle signed Cano to a 10-year $240-million contract, it seemed as if it was just another one of those ridiculously long deals for a player already in their 30’s. Its been over four years since Cano signed with the Mariners, and before news broke of his suspension earlier this week, it appeared as if his might be the first of these silly mega-deals for a veteran player that might actually work out.
While with the Yankees from 2005-2013, Cano put up the sort of numbers that had him on a one-way track to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Since joining the Mariners, Cano’s numbers have miraculously declined very little compared to his prime years in New York. I guess now we know why. Especially when other over-the-hill, high-priced veterans such as Albert Pujols, Russell Martin, Troy Tulowitzki, Jose Bautista (no longer high-priced), and Victor Martinez are struggling mightily to hit at a similar stage in their career to Cano. Maybe we were wrong to be giving Cano the benefit of the doubt all these years.
Last season I wrote an article titled Sadly, Starling Marte won’t be the last star player to test positive for PEDs. With the news of what happened with Cano, we now know that Marte wasn’t the last superstar to be caught. And unfortunately for baseball, Cano won’t be the last one either.
So why do these players still do it?
Apparently a tarnished reputation for the rest of their career (the rest of their lives more like it), isn’t enough motivation for them to play by the rules. The obvious reason for most players taking PED’s is financially driven, but Cano’s case is different. He already had that fat contract with the Mariners in his back pocket. So why take something banned by Major League Baseball while in the middle of a $200+ million deal?
Perhaps some players can’t accept that as they enter their 30’s their skills will inevitably begin to diminish. Perhaps for Cano, who’s done pretty much everything there is to do in this game, his eyes were now set on doing everything possible to get into the Hall of Fame. Or, perhaps this has been something he’s been doing and getting away with for a lot longer than this recent positive test.
When it was announced that players caught using performance enhancing drugs would be suspended 80-games for a first time offense, 162-games for a second offense, and be handed a life-time ban for a third positive result, I felt the severity of these punishments would be more than enough to dissuade the use of such substances. As more and more players, including some of the biggest stars continue to get caught however, I’m starting to think these punishments may not be nearly enough.