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YES doesn’t note when Robinson Cano doesn’t hustle? Really?

Aug 26, 2013, 11:03 AM EDT

cano gray getty Getty Images

Fun stuff from Phil Mushnick of the Post: he hates the fact that Robinson Cano doesn’t hustle. And he hates it even more that the Yankees broadcasters at YES don’t call Cano out for it. Really, he lays into the network for not noticing this, accusing them of being the Yankees’ Pravda or something:

So is the silence of Yankee TV commentators who for some reason — perhaps a lack of guidance from YES management or YES’ fear of having to hear from Yankee management — feel that we don’t know good baseball from bad … Yet, the Yankee TV guys, Ken Singleton, David Cone and Lou Piniella, ignored what had just happened. They passed on Cano’s inconceivable disregard for playing winning baseball before they even had a chance to change the subject. Piniella, three-time Manager of the Year for crying out loud, said nothing! Standard Cano, followed by standard TV indulgence.

I guess Mushnick doesn’t watch every game — or else he doesn’t read HBT — because if he did he would have remembered that just a couple of weeks ago YES’ Michael Kay spent a long time going after Cano for not hustling down the line. Oh well, I guess it doesn’t count if the only one doing it is the LEAD BROADCASTER ON THE NETWORK.

Not that it should matter. Joe Girardi has been asked about Cano’s habit of not running out 4-3 grounders at full speed all the time and Girardi says he doesn’t care. Nor should he, given that Cano is the one superstar he’s got who has been consistently healthy and given that the dude is hitting .307/.386/.510.

Maybe the failure to give 110% when it doesn’t matter is bothersome to people, but I’ll take that line and some occasional jogging over a guy who busts it down the line in the course of making far more outs or a guy who pulls a hamstring in the name of empty, showy hustle.

  1. flamethrower101 - Aug 26, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    I’ll admit that sometimes it bothers me when I see Cano just jogging down the 1st base line on a simple grounder. Comes off as a lack of effort to me. But he’s producing well and at the end of the day that’s what’s important. It’s not like Starlin Castro of the Cubs who keeps making the same mistakes over and over AND he’s producing a carbon turd.

    • 18thstreet - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      Cano also suffers from having talents that make his successes look easy. He had a play against the Red Sox that he really made an amazing toss to first — off-balance, feet positioned wrong, whatever — and barely got the runner out. (Note: I might be misremembering this.) But he made it look so easy.

      I love Pedroia, but he never makes anything look easy. You might not be aware of this if you watch ESPN, but Pedroia’s uniform is always dirty. (It’s true! And they never mention it!! Ever!!!) Cano, on the other hand, puts up amazing numbers and makes it look so easy that he doesn’t get proper credit for it.

      This may be wishful thinking on behalf of a Red Sox fan, but I think Cano leaves to a place that either makes him feel more appreciated for the great stuff he does or doesn’t get on him for his laziness on the routine grounders.

      • Glenn - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:56 PM

        According to Baseball Reference. Cano has a defensive WAR of 5.9 for nine seasons counting 2013. Pedroia has played about 1 1/2 seasons less and has a 10.5 WAR. Seems like Pedroia is doing more than just making it look hard.

      • 18thstreet - Aug 26, 2013 at 5:00 PM

        Yes, but he also makes it look hard. I love the guy. One of my favorite players ever.

        But someone with a small knowledge of baseball simply could not miss what he contributes on the field. On the other hand, Carlos Beltran, in his prime, was quietly outstanding. You could miss it (except in that year he went bonkers in the playoffs).

    • kevinbnyc - Aug 26, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      Plus, look what happened to Jeter when he was busting it down the line!


  2. Marty McKee - Aug 26, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    Kind of a false argument there. You seem to be making the claim that a guy “who busts it down the line” automatically makes “far more outs.” Obviously, one quality has little or nothing to do with the other. Of course, EVERYBODY would rather have a player who makes fewer outs, whether he’s Charlie Hustle or not. I’d rather have a guy who busts it down the line AND makes fewer outs. How about you?

    Also, I never thought I would see the day when baseball experts would advocate that players not do their best on the field.

    • Alex K - Aug 26, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      You don’t think Cano is doing his best on the field?

      Honestly, what difference does it make if a runner is thrown out by 2 steps or 5?

      • dondada10 - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        The difference is that 1 time out of 10 the fielder bobbles he ball and those 2 steps you were out by become a safe call. Don’t run out all 10 of those grounders and the one time it isn’t fielded cleanly you’re out by 1 step instead of 5 and look like a real asshole.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:36 PM

        I would think the bobble rate is much less than one in ten, actually.

    • ptfu - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:11 PM

      That line of Craig’s you’re referring to is rather lengthy and convoluted, so your interpretation is understandable. I think what Craig is talking about is conserving energy and avoiding risk of injury. The baseball season is a long grind and players want to make it to the end. When you want maximum long-term production, sometimes less is more. Lose the battle to win the war: don’t hustle now, even if you miss out on a few base hits, to stay healthy for when it really matters. Craig is saying, hustling for the sake of hustling isn’t worth it.

      • raysfan1 - Aug 26, 2013 at 1:53 PM

        Exactly. Plus, the injury bug bit the Yankees pretty hard this year, making it so they can’t afford losing Cano.

      • Marty McKee - Aug 26, 2013 at 2:23 PM

        What if you’re a team in last place? Does that mean you should never hustle down the line because the game doesn’t “really matter?” The Astros were out of the pennant race on Opening Day. Why should any Astro, by what I think is your logic, ever hustle down the line, because the war was lost before the season started?

  3. yanks33 - Aug 26, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    I’m not sure what the hell this guy is talking about, i have personally heard Michael Kay say remarks about Cano not hustling multiple times

    • louhudson23 - Aug 26, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      Perhaps Kay’s remarks have chilled things a bit?

    • bigharold - Aug 26, 2013 at 11:49 AM

      The thing is,.. it’s the NY Post, .. they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

      • dcarroll73 - Aug 27, 2013 at 12:31 AM

        And everyone who ever had the misfortune to hear him knows that Michael Kay does not know anything so this is one hell of a battle.
        (For the record, I think Robbie is a sharp enough judge of his own speed and the opposing fielders that he correctly assesses the odds just about every time, and as one Yankee fan, I am rather glad that ONE starting infielder was NOT on the DL – sort of balances one starting outfielder not on DL – pretty damn good season considering, eh?)

  4. jolink653 - Aug 26, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    I’ve heard them call Cano out on it a lot, but it’s gotten to the point where they’ve said it enough and have gotten tired of repeating themselves…we know he doesn’t hustle on every play and we’ve just accepted it

  5. rickdobrydney - Aug 26, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Yeah, Kay does mention it a lot. Cano knows he has a gross $200 million contract staring him in the face in a few months , and God forbid if he gets hurt……

  6. rbj1 - Aug 26, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    I’d rather have the very good baseball player Robinson Cano not hustle on routine grounders that are made 99.99% of the time than have him hustle and pull a hamstring and be out 6 weeks.

    • anthonyverna - Aug 26, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      I would believe it’s only logical.

    • bigharold - Aug 26, 2013 at 11:59 AM

      I’d rather have a guy going 100% but, results do count. If he was going all out all the time he’d get what, .. 2, 3 extra hits a season? It’s not worth risking losing a one of your better offensive weapons. And, lets not forget, Cano’s defense is excellent. One rarely sees him give up on plays and his throwing ability, .. especially while moving to his right is outstanding. I think with his defense you get a much better indicator of Cano’s willingness to hustle.

      Cano is what he is and the minor imperfections come with the amazing talent.

  7. cruuuzcontrol - Aug 26, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    Craig, it’s hard to take you serious when you don’t put much research or thought into your posts. Mushnick has been ALL OVER Cano for YEARS on the lack of hustle Cano regularly displays. And he actually wrote about the Kay comment you cite here in his column just days after it happened. So your criticism here is inaccurate, and you would have realized that if you bothered to check into it before posting this. Mushnick’s ongoing point that a few throwaway comments per season amongst a larger culture of silence and deference to the good things he does for the Yankees is a good one, despite it being couched in the lamentable, codgery “back in my day!” tone that Mushnick employs regularly.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 26, 2013 at 1:52 PM

      So the fact that he wrote a column today in which he goes on at length about YES never commenting on it, ignoring it and possibly being cowed by the Yankees themselves into silence on the matter is … for what purpose?

      If what you say is true, his knowledge of YES’s habits on this makes this column even worse than if he was truly ignorant of it.

      • cruuuzcontrol - Aug 26, 2013 at 3:05 PM

        He puts these bits about Cano in his columns all the time. I guess a cynic would look at it and say he uses it as an easy way to fill column space. Another person, like me, may look at it and say that he’s using his status as the Post’s media critic to do what the announcers should be doing and calling Cano out when he doesn’t hustle. It’s just convenient that Cano doesn’t hustle very often. Gifted player, yes. But it’s a flaw that just looks bad.

  8. skeleteeth - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    “.. empty, showy hustle.”

    Maybe I could see the correlation between Cano hustling being considered showy because he just comes off that way in everything he does but christ’s sake, how does running hard somehow make a guy a braggart?

  9. psunick - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    So, Andrew McCutchen…arguably a much better player than Cano…is at fault for hustling down the first base line 100% of the time?

    • Alex K - Aug 26, 2013 at 1:23 PM

      You might want to pump the brakes on calling McCutchen much better than Cano. I don’t say that to dog on McCutchen, I say it because Cano is one of the 10 best baseball players on the planet. McCutchen has been a bit better than Cano this year, but this is the first time that has ever been the case.

      • psunick - Aug 26, 2013 at 3:00 PM

        I don’t disagree with you, Alex. Cano has been playing at a very high level for longer than McCutchen. I wasn’t dogging on Cano, either.

        But I don’t understand the tone of posters who will bash a player like AM for hustling. I mean, one benefit of his hustle, I think, is this: he averages 8 GIDP a season; Cano averages 20. With a similar number of PA each; they both are fixtures in their lineups.

      • Alex K - Aug 26, 2013 at 3:29 PM

        I didn’t think you were saying anything negative about Cano, I just wanted to make sure you knew I wasn’t trying to say anything bad about McCutchen because it would be easy for it to seem that way when I disagree with what you said.

        As for GIDP Cano hits the ball on the ground 48% of the time for his career and McCutchen 41.9% so some of the difference in their number can be attributed to this. Also, McCutchen is faster than Cano, in general, so it would make sense that he hits into less double plays.

        I never got the sense that people were bashing players for hustling. Just not bashing guys who jog down the line occassionally.

  10. coloradogolfcoupons - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Watch Puig bust it down the line. Watch fielders botch balls and throw wildly due to Puig busting it down the line. See Puig reaching first on routine grounders by busting it down the line. Watch Dodger Stadium fill up with wildly cheering fans nightly to watch Puig bust it down the line, every time up, in every situation, offensive and defensive. See a city fall in love with Puig, and watch Puig lead a team to start playing better themselves.

    And then tell me loafing down the line is what you want in your star player.

    • yahmule - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:44 PM

      Puig is a hot dog. Cano is a loafer.

      You know who blends hustle with respect for the game?

      White guys.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      Cano is not a fast man. Cano at 100% would not put the same kind of pressure on the D.

  11. mudhead123 - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    Someone ranting and raving about puig? He just started playing about 2 months ago. How about using an example of a more tenure player for your argument

  12. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Yes, it can be frustrating. At the same time, both of Jeter’s injuries this season have come while he was busting it down the line. Conicidence, or something more?

    I will just say this: Whatever Cano has been doing seems to be working, and baseball players like routine and repetition. Let’s not mess with it, mmmkay?

  13. Black Dog - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    A physical therapist told me that busting it on every play makes it less likely that you’ll pull a hamstring, not more, because you condition your hamstring. If you loaf on all those ground balls to second, then bust it on the potential infield hit down the third base line, the hamstring muscle is less conditioned to the burst and more likely to pull.

    If you buy the argument that Cano’s production means he should take it easy running out groundballs to second, why stop there? A hard slide to break up a double play is a lot riskier than busting it down the line. How many outs can Cano save a season by slamming into the shortstop breaking up a double play — maybe 10? Certainly not worth risking his production.

    And how about diving for groundballs? Troy Tulowitzki broke a rib diving for a ball and missed six weeks. Was that one out worth six weeks of lost production? No way. Cano certainly shouldn’t take that risk.

    So now you’ve got a heavy-hitting second basemen who doesn’t run out ground balls, slide hard into second, or dive for groundballs. A great example for the young players.

    Or you could play the game the right way and bust it down the line.

    • Kevin S. - Aug 26, 2013 at 2:15 PM

      You really think baseball player conditioning comes from running the basepaths?

  14. tvguy22 - Aug 26, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Here’s hoping he loafs in Game 162 with a playoff spot on the line and the 2nd baseman boots the ball, but still throws him out by a step. That will be a teachable moment for my kids. Not that we would be watching the Yankees, of course…

  15. Darkoestrada - Aug 26, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    The thing is that pretty much all slow “slugging” type players do the same thing. It’s not limited to cano. He’s a second baseman so I think people sometimes forget that he’s not at all fast. You can talk about guys like Harper, trout or piug running hard but they’re very young and have enough speed where it actually puts pressure on the defense. There’s almost no value in guys like cano, Cabrera, Dunn, Ortiz etc running all out on routine grounders. It really isn’t a big deal. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if organizations preferred their best players to take it easy on routine grounders. Just look at David wright. While maybe uncommon, injuries do happen just running to first.

  16. dowhatifeellike - Aug 26, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    The point is that no matter how good someone is, they’re better when they hustle. Cano is talented and he’ll make his money and his numbers anyway, but I just don’t understand how a person can spend an hour lifting every day and then puss out on a couple 8 second sprints when the lights are on.

  17. cshearing - Aug 26, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    The main problem I have with your position, Craig, is that it is presented as an either/or. Sure, you would rather have the talented, productive slacker over the hustling scrub. But that’s a facile proposition. Why not have the supremely talented, productive player who still hustles at all times? He beats out both of the two possibilities you mention.

  18. rje49 - Aug 26, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    A slightly different situation, but how many times does a hitter watch his deep fly ball, jogging toward first, then when the ball falls in short of the fence he barely makes it to second. No chance for a triple. Not surprising, there isn’t a single active player in the top 100 for career triples.

    • dowhatifeellike - Aug 26, 2013 at 9:01 PM

      I think part of that is ingrained in the baseball culture. In college I didn’t put many over the fences, so I was used to hustling out of the box. My teammates would rag on me for having “the fastest home run trot in baseball” because I was already at second base when the ball would get out.

  19. hbk72777 - Aug 26, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    Mushnick is a bitch. He cries over stuff that just doesn’t matter in life.

    Sure , he doesn’t hustle, who cares? Nothing worse than a moron running out a sure out or making a diving catch and getting hurt. It’s one out, even if there’s a throwing error and he doesn’t get to first, so what? It’s better than pulling a hammy to be “Charlie Hustle”.

    Cano makes up for it in other ways. His double plays are ridiculous, the way he turns them effortlessly .

  20. hbk72777 - Aug 26, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    I can see the fat geek WAR nerds are out in force today.

    It’s why people who played the game , like Reynolds, Pleasac and Williams, laugh in Brian Kenny’s face.

    It’s like the old math tricks, you start out with any number and still end up with the same one on the magicians card.

    Numbers and stats can be twisted to say whatever you want them to say.

    • km9000 - Aug 26, 2013 at 11:28 PM

      But the old school players and media types actually think magic is real.

      • dcarroll73 - Aug 27, 2013 at 12:46 AM

        I am open to modern stats, but any application that would have us believe that Pedroia is superior to Cano fails the smell test. Please! Go back to your computers, geeks.

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