Blog Entry

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

Posted on: January 12, 2012 10:35 am
Edited on: January 13, 2012 10:50 pm

By Matt Snyder

As we continue the final trek toward spring training, we also continue the series that's gonna get us there. Our first installment of Who Would You Rather Have got some pretty good discussion going, as it pitted Roy Halladay against Justin Verlander. I believe we have an equally tough decision in front of us this time around, too.

For this installment, we look to baseball's most intense rivalry ... specifically the second basemen: Robinson Cano and Dustin Pedroia. I feel compelled to point out that we seemed to get a lot of non-answers on Twitter and in the comments (like "Tim Lincecum" to the Verlander vs. Halladay question), and I'm thinking those people didn't understand that this is an ongoing series. I can assure you that many big names from across America -- like Lincecum -- will be included at some point. You'll also have a decision between two young NL West sluggers Saturday, for example. Patience ...

Anyhow, it's Cano vs. Pedroia now. Red Sox vs. Yankees. Beantown vs. the Bronx. Let's get it on.

The case for Cano

While he was already a very good hitter, Cano has developed into one of the most feared hitters in baseball over the past two seasons, finishing in the top six of MVP voting both times. His triple slash line of .311/.365/.533 from 2010-11 is a beauty for a second baseman, not to mention the 28 homers, 46 doubles, 118 RBI and 104 runs he posted last season. It was good enough for Cano to bring home the Silver Slugger for the second consecutive season.

A model of durability as well, Cano hasn't played in less than 159 games in any of the past five seasons. Pedroia only managed 75 games in an injury-plagued 2010 season, so that's a point for Cano.

The case for Pedroia

On the other hand, Pedroia played in 157, 154 and 159 games, respectively, in three of the past four seasons, so it's not like he's injury prone. Pedroia, the 2007 Rookie of the Year, also won the 2008 MVP. And Pedroia can do it all. He hit 21 home runs last season while stealing 26 bases and also winning a Gold Glove (his second). His .307/.387/.474 line is competitive with Cano's, too. Where Pedroia has a bit less home-run power, he makes up for it by getting on base. He holds a .373 to .347 advantage in career OBP.

Pedroia has one World Series ring, but so does Cano.

Cano will make $14 million in 2012 while Pedroia will make $8 million, but Pedroia's salary increases in the next several years while Cano is a free agent after a 2013 club option. Age is a veritable wash, as Cano is roughly 10 months older.

Really, any which way you can divide this up, it's a very close call. Many advanced defensive metrics show Pedroia with a significant edge in range, hence the 2011 Fielding Bible award -- meaning the stat crowd views him as the best defensive second baseman in all of baseball. Cano is viewed as no better than average defensively from that perspective. Cano did win the 2010 AL Gold Glove, but Gold Glove voting has produced dubious results at times -- like Rafael Palmeiro taking the honors in 1999 while playing only 28 games in the field. Unlike many younger bloggers and writers, I don't totally discount the Gold Glove, but I do trust the Fielding Bible awards more. Of course, using either one gives the defensive edge to Pedroia -- and you could argue Cano only won the 2010 Gold Glove because Pedroia was hurt anyway, which I would.

Our call

I'm going to go with Pedroia here in a photo finish, the closest of calls, based upon the defensive separation. The two are very close across the board. Just as with yesterday's pick, I could go either way and there definitely isn't a wrong answer. In fact, we have over 20 of these posts lined up, and this may well be the hardest choice among them.

But now it's your turn. Vote and comment away.

Fan Vote:

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Since: Jun 21, 2010
Posted on: January 13, 2012 9:40 am

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

When it is all said and done, Cano will end with some of the most impressive numbers ever posted by a second baseman.  Any difference in defense between Pedrioa and Cano, Cano more than makes up for with his bat.  While Cano has one more year in the majors than Pedrioa, the offensive numbers are not even close.  Cano has posted the following numbers for his career of seven seasons:   613 runs, 1263 hits, 144 hr's, 621 rbi's, .308 avg, .496 slugging.  His 162 game averages are 22 hr's, 96 rbi's, and a .308 average.  Pedrioa has the following for six seasons:  479 runs, 862 hits, 75 hr's, 344 rbi's, .305 avg, .463 slugging.  His 162 game averages are 17 hr's, 78 rbi's, and a .305 average.  This argument is not as close as the writer of the article would make it seem.  This is not to take anything away from Pedrioa, who is a fine player.  Cano is simply better.  A feared hitter and the best hitter in the Yankee lineup is what Cano is.  Nobody would describe Pedrioa as a " feared " hitter, much less the best hitter in the Red Sox lineup.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2012 9:35 am

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

John4599 - your reference to the rhyme song is comical. I had a good laugh. I too find the abbreviated names irritating as well...any way, gotta go with Cano simply on the damage he can do at the plate. As a life-long Yankees fan, I do give respect to Pedroia for his talent and effort on the field. Still, Cano in any line-up is something more to be feared.

Since: Jan 13, 2012
Posted on: January 13, 2012 9:25 am

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

I prefer Cano due to the power, but right now it is a wash.  In the years to come I feel Cano will be the better play becuase Pedroia won't be able to play the way he does for a long period of time.  Between is play in the field and his violent swing his body won't be able to take that kind of pounding for more than 3-4 years.

Since: Dec 30, 2011
Posted on: January 13, 2012 9:21 am

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

this writer is obviously smarter than all of you

im just sayin...

Since: Nov 18, 2011
Posted on: January 13, 2012 9:15 am

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

Robinson Cano every day.  Most of us outside New England do not drink the Red Sox kool-aid.   Pedroia was part of the clubhouse that screwed Terry Francona... if you're a leader you don't let stuff like that take over the locker room.  Where were Ortiz and your crippled old catcher when those self-absorbed pitchers needed a lump raised on their heads?...  The Yankees and Rays will make life miserable for Red Sucks fans for many years to come. 

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2012 9:07 am

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

I voted for Cano. He is a model for consistency, he does the same thing year after year. He plays every day and is a steady fielding second baseman. I see him as a future hall of famer.

Pedroia is no slouch, but he doesn't quite have the power Cano has. His OBP is high though. It's close but I'd take Cano.

Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: January 13, 2012 9:05 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Dec 18, 2007
Posted on: January 13, 2012 9:03 am

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

Cano is a hyper  talented dog who can't be trusted to hustle on any given play.  I detest his kind of player, which sadly is a spreading cancer throughout MLB. 

Since: Dec 30, 2011
Posted on: January 13, 2012 8:38 am

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

I say again

this writer is very smart

and correct

Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: January 13, 2012 8:29 am

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

Cano and its not even close.

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