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Mets Designate Robinson Cano for Project

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Roster sizes in Major League Baseball shrank Monday, and the Mets made essentially the most notable cut, parting ways with second baseman Robinson Canó, who has struggled within the twilight of his profession.

Canó, 39, will not be a free agent until next week because he was designated for project, however the Mets are moving on from a player who had been a centerpiece of their blockbuster 2018 trade with the Seattle Mariners. In removing Canó from their 40-man roster, the Mets, who entered Monday with one of the best record within the National League, are prepared to eat the remaining portion of the $40.5 million they owed him entering this season.

Getting back from his second performance-enhancing drug suspension, a yearlong ban that cost him all the 2021 season, Canó was hitting .195 with a .501 on-base plus slugging percentage in 12 games this yr. He was well liked within the Mets’ clubhouse, but in 43 plate appearances, he had two walks and one extra-base hit.

An eight-time All-Star and a 2009 World Series winner with the Yankees, Canó had the makings of a Hall of Fame résumé before sputtering over the past several seasons together with his legacy tainted by the suspensions.

Since the labor dispute in baseball cut the length of 2022 spring training in half, M.L.B. and the players’ union agreed to expand rosters to twenty-eight for the primary month of the season in hopes of stopping injuries. On Monday, the roster sizes returned to the standard 26, but with an extension through May 29 of a 14-pitcher cap. As an alternative of demoting a more capable younger player to the minor leagues, equivalent to Dominic Smith, a 26-year-old first baseman, the Mets made the more painful financial alternative.

When the Mets traded for Canó before the 2019 season, his former agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, was the Mets’ general manager. He and the Wilpons, who owned the Mets, believed Canó could perform into his late 30s. Canó was coming off an injury and his first P.E.D. suspension (80 games).

To swing the trade for Canó and closer Edwin Díaz, the Mets mortgaged a part of their future by giving up three prospects — including two first-round draft picks, outfielder Jarred Kelenic and pitcher Justin Dunn — and absorbed $100 million of the 10-year, $240 million free-agent contract that Canó had signed with the Mariners.

Canó can be paid $48 million in 2022 and ’23, no matter whether he plays, with the Mariners contributing $7.5 million toward those seasons. But under Steven A. Cohen, the Mets’ second-year owner, the team has behaved as if money is just not a problem in its pursuit of a championship. The Mets’ payroll of $288 million, for luxury tax purposes, trailed only the Los Angeles Dodgers in M.L.B., in keeping with Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

The December 2018 trade that brought Canó to the Mets was questioned by many on the time, and has played out in surprising ways. Kelenic has sputtered to begin his major league profession with the Mariners, while Dunn, now injured, changed into a useful pitcher before his March trade to the Cincinnati Reds. Díaz has been one of the best of the players to this point, establishing himself as a solid closer after a rocky first season in Queens. On Friday, he was dominant in a single inning while ending out the second no-hitter in Mets history.

As for Canó, he battled injuries over his first two seasons with the Mets but hit .275 with 23 home runs in 156 games. Then got here the second P.E.D. suspension — and no explanation for a way he tested positive again — and the slowed bat in 2022. And with that, the Mets said goodbye.

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