Friday, April 6, 2012

Meet A Prospect : Robinson Cano Edition

Robinson Cano , entering his age 29 season, has 7 seasons as a Yankees 2B and a major leaguer under his belt... but it was not always like that. As many of you already know the Yankees offered Robinson Cano in a bunch of trades before he was finally called up in the 2005 season. We will touch on that later but for now let's Meet A Prospect.

Robinson Cano, son of Houston Astro's Jose Cano, was signed 11 years ago as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic as a short stop.  At the time the deal was not even considered a head scratcher because it was so off the radar that no one even noticed. The first mention that I could find of Cano was in 2001 when his NYPL Staten Island Yankees faced the Brooklyn Cyclones in the playoffs.

The disrespect, whether warranted or not, did not stop there as Baseball America never included him in their top 100 prospect list and labeled him as "less then glowing."Cano, to his defense, did make the 2003 All Star Futures Game after a nice season in AA Trenton and was the 2004 Yankees minor league player of the year.  The Yankees must not have held him in high regard though  because Cano was rumored to be in about every single trade the Yankees made or tried to make for the better part of a decade.

The list of guys that the Yankees tried to trade Cano for started when the Yankees tried to land Ken Griffey Jr in 2003, although an injury ended his 2003 season prematurely which made the deal not go through.

That next offseason, after Aaron Boone blew out his knee playing basketball, Cano was offered in a proposed three team deal that would have sent Cano to Chicago and eventually would have landed Troy Glaus in New York but the deal fell through. That is obviously great news because a few months later the Yankees acquired current Yankee 3B Alex Rodriguez, maybe you have heard of him?

Speaking of A Rod , the Yankees traded Alfonso Soriano and a prospect list to Texas for them to choose from for A Rod that season and Robinson Cano was on that list. The Rangers, as we know, chose Joaquin Arias instead of Cano.

In 2004 Cano's name was thrown around in every trade rumor including a potential trade with Kansas City's Center Fielder Carlos Beltran. The Yankees even moved Cano to 3B to showcase his talent there by request of the Kansas City scouts. He was also scouted heavily and offered up to Seattle for either current Yankee Freddy Garcia or Jamie Moyer. That same season the Yankees were offering Cano to the Atlanta Braves for SP Russ Ortiz but they were all obviously rejected or fell through thankfully.

Cano was also rumored to be offered up to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Randy Johnson as well at the trade deadline in 2004.  When the Yankees eventually made the trade in the offseason of the 2005 season we all thought Cano's days were finally numbered as a Yankee but thanks to Navarro, Javier Vazquez, and Brad Halsey the Yankees managed to keep Cano... again.

Finally the Yankees brought up Cano in May of 2005 after a failed Tony Womack experiment and immediately the scouts were praising his abilities. Replacing the talk of his lack of defense or his patience at the plate were talks of a smooth and compact swing that would eventually turn doubles into home runs, lots of them. Not that all his success that would follow kept him out of trade talk as the Yankees talked about trading him in 2010, midst a down season, for Dodgers CF Matt Kemp.

Robinson Cano's career, as to now, has been a very successful one. He is one of the fan favorites and faces of the Yankees franchise, and for good reason. He put on an absolute show in 2011's Home Run Derby on his way to winning it. He also won's 2005 rookie of the year and This Year In Baseball's rookie of the year after he broke onto the scene with the comeback kid Yankees team that season. In 2007 he had his minor league number, number 17, retired by the Yankees Class High A affiliate Staten Island Yankees. Three all star teams, many silver sluggers, multiple player of the month awards, a world series ring,  and a gold glove in 2010 later it is scary to say that he is really entering his prime.

Check in tomorrow for our next installment of a special Meet A Prospect featuring Yankees ace CC Sabathia.

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