Robinson Cano rumors: Cost aside, which team needs him the most?

Jonathan Daniel

Almost every team in baseball would look a little more daunting with Cano in their lineup, but who could use him the most?

Maybe "$310M" rhymes with something in Jay-Z's next chart-topper.

Or maybe he arrived at the number by using the tried-and-true method of career batting average times a billion.

Otherwise, it's hard to imagine a logical progression of thought that would end with that number.

But if you can look past what would be the most lucrative contract of all time, Cano's value on the field is unquestionable. There are only a handful of teams that would consider their current second baseman a better option. Over the last four seasons, Cano's 142 wRC+ is tied for 9th in all of baseball, and the next best second baseman over that span is Dustin Pedroia with a wRC+ of 122. Matt Carpenter could also be considered second-best with a 138 wRC+, but he's played about half as many games as the other players on the list. Cano leads all second baseman in every major category (sabermetric and traditional) in that span, so it's not difficult to see how he could help just about every team in baseball.

But which teams would benefit the most?

Which teams could use Cano to push themselves to the next level?

New York Yankees

2013 record: 85-77

This conversation obviously starts with the Yankees. They wouldn't be "adding" him by definition, but they would certainly have a better chance at getting back to the top of the AL East if Cano remained in pinstripes. New York's other options clearly pale in comparison, but if they were to go in another direction at second, could they still produce a playoff team in 2014?

Baltimore Orioles

2013 record: 85-77

Man, a one through four of Machado-Jones-Cano-Davis would be pretty frightening. The O's are considering another year of the Brian Roberts Saga, but he's unlikely to be the solution for an entire season. They have Jonathan Schoop in the minors, and he's probably their most realistic long-term solution. But they might feel he's ready for the majors yet, and of course, his ceiling isn't quite of Canoan proportions. Their bats would continue to be some of the best in the game, but even with a huge improvement at second, would their pitching be good enough to lead them deep into the playoffs?

Kansas City Royals

2013 record: 86-76

Somehow, Chris Getz has been a starting major league baseball player for large chunks of 4 seasons in a row, despite providing the Royals just 0.6 fWAR in that time. That's not per-season. That's his total contribution. Kansas City added Emilio Bonifacio during the 2013 season, and he played admirably in his short stint with the Royals. But his career numbers suggest he was the benefactor of some trajectorial serendipity (.369 BABIP), and he still put up a wRC+ of just 96. Cano might help the Royals the most of all teams because his 4.0-8.0 WAR would be literal.

Washington Nationals

2013 record: 86-76

Anthony Rendon made the transition to second without losing too much value, but landing Cano would allow the Nats to shop him as a third baseman (where he might be more valuable). Washington could also use Rendon/Zimmerman at first if they could find anyone willing to trade for Adam LaRoche. No matter how they manipulated the roster, if Cano joined the Nationals, they'd be a significantly better offensive team. He would provide them with an incredibly useful infusion of left-handed power to supplement Bryce Harper from that side of the plate.

Clearly, most lineups would be more intimidating with Cano in the middle of the order, but who do you think could benefit the most if, say, Ol' Dirty Bastard was his agent instead of Jay-Z?

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