The New York Mets will be without a key member of the defense during the 2021 season. Second baseman Robinson Cano tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug stanozolol. He received an automatic 162-game suspension.
According to ESPN, this is Cano's second failed test. He previously tested positive for a diuretic while playing for the Seattle Mariners. He ultimately missed 80 games during the 2018 season. Under a joint agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, the length of the suspension drastically increases with a second positive test. Cano will also forfeit his $24 million salary.
"We were extremely disappointed to be informed about Robinson's suspension for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program," Mets president Sandy Alderson said in a statement, per ESPN. "The violation is very unfortunate for him, the organization, our fans, and the sport. The Mets fully support MLB's efforts toward eliminating performance enhancing substances from the game."
Cano landed with the Mets after a December 2018 trade. This deal sent top prospect Jarred Kelenic to the Seattle Mariners. The second baseman struggled during his first season with the New York franchise. However, he performed much better during the 2020 season, hitting .316 with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs in 49 games.
Cano is still playing on a 10-year, $240 million deal that he signed with the Mariners. He has two years and $48 million remaining on his contract, but the Mets will only have to pay part of his salary. The Mariners will handle $7.5 million of the total.
The Mets reportedly had major expectations for Cano as new owner Steve Cohen took control and put together a new front office. Now he will miss a crucial time with the franchise. Meanwhile, the hedge fund manager in Cohen will strive to get the Mets back to the postseason.
Cohen received the necessary 75% of MLB owners' vote on Oct. 30, approving his purchase of the team for $2.4 billion. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio later signed off on the deal. Cohen will now take over control of the team from the Fred Wilpon family and his brother-in-law, Saul Katz, to become Mets majority owner.
Cohen is now reportedly the richest owner in MLB. He has an estimated $14 billion, per Deadline, that he can use to fix the franchise's fortunes. Cohen previously held a minority stake in the team, but now he owns 95%. The Wilpons will continue to hold a small stake in the team and the majority interest in the SportsNet New York network. This joint venture with Charter Communications holds the rights to televise Mets games.