In what can actually be construed as good news for the Mets, Robinson Cano tested positive for PEDs for the second time in his career and will be suspended for the entire 2021 season.
Cano forfeits his $24 million salary for 2021. It frees up an entire superstar AAV for the Mets. They can go spend that money on a player more impactful than Cano at age 38. The Mets were already expected to be the offseason's most aggressive team with new owner Steve Cohen. This only strengthens their position.
The news comes after Cano enjoyed a rebound summer. He hit .316 with an .896 OPS, 10 homers and 30 RBI in 182 plate appearances. This after the worst offensive year of his career in his first season with the Mets.
The Mets are players for all of the top free agents: catcher J.T. Realmuto, starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, outfielder George Springer and, now, potentially second baseman DJ LeMahieu.
They don't even have to shuffle a bunch of pieces, either. They can simply move Jeff McNeil back to second base, the position he played more than any other in the minors.
Cano is still under contract for two more seasons beyond 2021 and set to earn $24 million each year. The Mets acquired him with closer Edwin Diaz from Seattle in December 2018 for prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn. They basically assumed Cano's money in order to acquire Diaz.
Cano previously tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2018 and was suspended 80 games. He was on a Hall of Fame track before then. This 162-game suspension was his second strike. Another positive test would result in a lifetime ban.