When someone calls you the "worst ever," it hurts.
Now, opinions are like ***holes, everyone has one. Some opinions are founded and justified, others - as we know - are not. Andy Van Slyke took the hammer to former Yankee and current Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano recently, telling 920-AM in St. Louis that Cano was "the single worst third place (hitter), everyday player I've ever seen for the first half of a baseball season."
Van Slyke went on to criticize Cano's defense and it was, quite simply, just an out-of-line interview that was sure to grab some headlines. Now, I am not sure if Van Slyke ever wants to work in Major League Baseball again. But I can tell you this right now. He will not be a first base coach or have any job on the major league level anytime soon. You cannot say what he did about Cano and you cannot say what he did about Yasiel Puig. Van Slyke also implied that Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw told the LA GM to trade Puig. (Puis is certainly hurting Scott Van Slyke - Andy's son's - place in the organization.)
What we saw last week was a former major leaguer being open and honest, when the best thing to do for him would have been keeping his mouth shut.
This is not the first time we've heard odd stuff from Van Slyke. In 2006, Van Slyke described Ozzie Guillen and his managerial approach as "wearing his emotions on his sleeve.
"He is, if you want to call it, (a) typical Latin baseball player. I don't believe that it's true for all Latinos, but a lot of people's perception is that Latinos are pretty hot-headed."
Those comments from Van Slyke certainly put him in some hot water as it is indefensible when someone stereotypes a race. However, I do not think his comments about Cano were similar in nature.
This was not about race, this was about performance. What I think you saw was a pissed off former player, former coach who is ticked off that he is out of work. What Seattle has learned is that 10-year, $240 million long-term contracts do not work. All the people in Seattle that made that decision to bring him aboard are now looking for work.
Cano was awful in the first two months of this past MLB season as he hit .251 with 2 HR and 16 RBI. He was hitting in front of Nelson Cruz and he still did not produce.
Now, Cano did play the last two months of the season with a hernia and needed double hernia surgery after the season came to an end. Cano makes the game look easy, sometimes too easy. It drove Yankee fans crazy at times and the Yankees made the organizational decision to move on two years ago. The Yankees and their line-up have missed Cano ever since.
What I do know is this. Robinson Cano is a supremely gifted hitter that did not deserve this kind of criticism. It was off-base and out of line. Cano did not perform, but as the old saying goes, "you win as a team and you lose as a team."
Someone needs to let Van Slyke know. You can question the way Cano plays the game at times. We all have. But what Van Slyke did was more than that, and it was out of line.