Photo: Jon Wells
Robinson José Canó Mercedes
Height: 6'0" Weight: 210
Bats/Throws: Left / Right
Born: 10/22/1982 in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic
Offseason home: San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic
Family: Son Robinson, daughter Celia
Acquired: Signed as a free agent (12/12/2013)
MLB Debut: 05/03/2005
Free Agent after: 2023 season
Twitter handle: @RobinsonCano
Little did we know at the start of the season that Robinson Canó, perennial All-Star and anchor of the lineup, had failed a PED screening and was facing suspension. Canó and the commissioner's office managed to keep the looming half-season punishment out of the media while it was under appeal, but Canó dropped the appeal the day after he suffered a broken hand after being hit by a pitch and began serving his sentence. The injury would have kept him out of action for several weeks anyway, so the timing seems a bit opportunistic; aside from losing the half-season's worth of pay, one view is that Canó is effectively getting away with serving only about half of his 80-game suspension. For his part, Canó insists the injury wasn't a factor in dropping his appeal, it was more that the hearing date was approaching. Which begs the question—did he know from the get-go that he would lose his appeal? Why go through the motions of the appeal knowing it was nothing more than a delay tactic?
Whatever his rationale, Canó maintains his denials that he actually took any performance-enhancing drugs. His test was positive for a diuretic that is often used to mask other drugs from detection and he claims it was used for legitimate treatment of "a medical issue," a term that is not at all suspicious in its vagueness. Goeff Baker of The Seattle Times published a piece detailing the culture of PED use in Canó's native Dominican Republic, noting that big-league players that fail PED tests have disproportionately been from the DR.
Canó had been putting up his customary excellent numbers before his injury, including a career-best .385 on-base percentage, but despite his absence the Mariners have managed to win anyway, albeit with fewer runs scored. For now, Canó's visage continues to appear on the giant poster above Safeco Field's left-field gates, but it remains to be seen how much (if at all) his reputation and image will be diminished by his PED use.