Why Is Robinson Cano Slumping? Because He's Got What I Got
It's been a hot year in Seattle but a cold one for the Seattle Mariners.†
The team that was predicted to be among the best in the A.L. is one game away from being its worst, despite a great first half from free-agent pickup Nelson Cruz, and a great June turnaround from rookie pitcher Taijuan Walker, and a where-did-that-come-from performance by 25-year-old rookie pitcher Mike Montgomery, who was expected to do not much and after seven starts has a 1.62 ERA and a WHIP under 1.00.†
If you'd told me all that at the beginning of the year, I would've thought the M's would indeed be in control of the A.L. West. Instead, we're in danger of dropping through its cellar doors.†
Closer Fernando Rodney lost the closing role after 3 blown saves, 3 losses and an ERA near 7.00. Dustin Ackley has only recently passed the Mendoza line (.200 BA), while Mike Zunino is looking up at it from a deep, deep hole (.159). Basically the brunt of the team is a massive mediocrity not being helped by even worse platoon players. Willie Bloomquist, with 69 at-bats (and now off the team), is a member of the .100/.100/.100 club: .159 BA/.194 OBP/.174 SLG. Midseason pickup Mark Trumbo might join him soon. He's hitting .157 with a .186 OBP and a .205 SLG. These are mice numbers. You think no one in Major League Baseball can get lower until you see that we've given Jesus Sucre 25 at-bats with which he's managed one hit, a single on May 10, for a .040/.040/.040 line.†
Despite all that, the real worry has been Robinson Cano. Last year we signed him to a 10-year, $240 million contract and he responded well: .314/.382/.454. This year?†.252/.291/.365. He's got 5 homers and 27 RBIs. Most people, most Seattleites anyway, assumed he'd break out of this slump soon but here we are, halfway through, and it's still there. I was against the signing from the beginningóno longterm deals, and particularly for a player in his 30sóbut even I thought we'd get a few good years out of him. Instead it seems we got one; the rest is albatross.†
Then suddenly this explanation in†an interview with the Spanish language USA Today:
Cano was in the midst of his sixth All-Star season last year when he started experiencing stomach discomfort in August. With the Mariners in the playoff chase, he didn't get it checked until their season was over, in October. Cano said he was told he had a common parasite, which was treated with antibiotics, but he was left with acid reflux to this day.
“It still affects me,'' Cano said. ”Sometimes you drink water and it makes you feel like vomiting. I can't eat the same way I did. It's hard to deal with, especially being the first time this has happened to me. Sometimes I eat only once a day before playing, because I feel full. And you just don't have the same energy.''
He did have a lousy September last year: .265/.333/.398. And he's describing acid reflux exactly. I know because I have it. I got it about the same time. I began to feel mine, badly, in December, and have been working to get rid of it since. It's a constant annoyance. It's what he says. Even water sometimes burns. You eat barely anything and you're suddenly full. Your stomach feels bloated all the time. You don't have as much energy as you used to. And I sit for a living.
I'd always thought that if I had money, if I was important, there would be another option besides omeprazole. Maybe there isn't. Or maybe the Mariners aren't paying enough attention to their $240-million asset. They should. Then they should tell me what the secret is.
Here's to better health, Robby.†
Lucky hats won't do it. Lucky bats won't do it. But some omeprazole might help.