The New York Mets designated infielder Robinson Cano for assignment on Monday, parting ways with a former All-Star whose career has been tainted by performance-enhancing drugs.
Canó was cut with nearly $45 million remaining on his contract.
There had been speculation the Mets might let Cano go Monday, given MLB's deadline to reduce rosters to 26 players. Relegated to a part-time role this season, Canó was a casualty of the crunch as the first-place Mets chose to keep younger, more versatile bench players instead.
The Mets acquired Cano from Seattle in late 2018, following his first suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. His first season at Citi Field in 2019 was shortened by injuries, though he rebounded in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
Cano then missed the entire 2021 season after a second doping suspension.
In his comeback this year, he has played sparingly, appearing in 12 of 23 games with just eight hits and one home run -- but 11 strikeouts. The 39-year-old is batting .195 (8 for 41) with one home run, three RBIs and a paltry .501 OPS in 43 plate appearances.
Since entering the big leagues in 2005, Cano racked up a laundry list of awards, including eight All-Star Game appearances, two Gold Gloves, five Silver Slugger awards and a Home Run Derby victory.
But almost all of those honors came during his stint with the Yankees, before Cano signed with Seattle in 2014.
Canó has a .302 career batting average with 335 home runs, 1,305 RBIs and an .842 OPS. He has 2,632 hits, including 571 doubles.
Canó is owed $44,703,297 by the Mets from the remainder of the $240 million, 10-year contract he signed with Seattle. He has lost $36,258,065 because of the two drug suspensions.
New York has seven days to trade or release Canó, or send him outright to the minors — an assignment he would have the right to refuse because he has at least three years of major league service.
Because of his hefty salary, it’s highly unlikely another team would claim him on waivers. A club that did would be responsible for his full salary. But if he is released by the Mets, a team could sign him for a prorated share of the $700,000 minimum this season and also pay the $710,000 minimum in 2023.
Seattle remains responsible for a final $3.75 million payment to the Mets this Dec. 1, part of $20 million the Mariners agreed to pay New York at the time they sent Canó to the Mets as part of a polarizing trade in December 2018.
In addition to cutting Canó, the Mets optioned right-handed reliever Yoan López to Triple-A Syracuse ahead of Monday night’s series opener against the World Series champion Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.