The New York Mets have officially released veteran second baseman Robinson Cano.
The team designated Cano for assignment Monday. The eight-time All-Star is still owed a little more than $44.7 million from his original 10-year, $240 million contract. The deal was set to expire after the 2023 MLB season.
Because of that sizable outstanding amount, some teams might have balked at cutting ties with Cano in the hope his performance at the plate improves. The Mets, on the other hand, recognized they were better off with someone else on the active roster, even if it means eating a lot of dead money.
Cano batted .195 and slugged .268 through his first 12 games in 2022. He had missed the entirety of the 2021 season after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
In the 39-year-old's absence, Jeff McNeil has emerged as a dependable option at second for New York. McNeil is playing particularly well this year, boasting a .348/.408/.483 slash line through 26 games. His 1.5 WAR are tied for the most among second basemen, per FanGraphs.
With McNeil cemented at second base, there wasn't much of a place for Cano in the order. Using an aging slugger at designated hitter didn't make much sense, even if Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis aren't exactly going above and beyond.
The Associated Press noted another team can sign Cano for a prorated portion of the $700,000 minimum salary this season and $710,000 in 2023.
Because of what he has achieved across his career—he boasts an .842 OPS and 125 OPS+ over 17 seasons—the five-time Silver Slugger winner might get at least one more shot in MLB.