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 13, 2008
Posted on: January 14, 2012 7:58 am

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

I'm gonna have to pay much closer attention to Pedroia's defensive play.I think the idea that Pedroia is better than Cano is proposterous or I'm missing something so I'll make it my business to catch every Boston game that I can.You also have to remember that while this is an all around Robinson Cano vs Dustin Pedroia who would you rather have on your team poll & not just defense.With that said,there are a lot of things to consider when breaking down a 2nd Baseman defensively.You need to look at his range in both directions,how well is he on the double play pivot,how is his arm strength,how is his arm strength on relays coming in from the OF,throwing to 3B or Home Plate,how well does he go back on fly balls & even better how does he handle the foul pop behind 1st Base in no mans land with the 1B going back,the RF coming in & the 2B going out on an angle,not to mention the tarp that's sitting there & at some point the gate/wall that seperates the fans from the field.

Since: Oct 25, 2007
Posted on: January 14, 2012 7:39 am

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

The Sox fan below says he sees Pedroia every day and has to go for him, a reasonable opinion. Well, I watch Cano every day and feel the same way. I don't know exactly how these defensice sabermatrician guys create their ratings but I can't remotely remember how many times I've seen Cano demonstrate incredible range-in both directions--to reach ground balls. He also has by far the strongest arm I've seen on a second baseman. So, I think the argument to vote Pedroia based on range is crap. Both guys benefit from good hitting parks and Pedroia definitely walks more and is an inspirational figure in ways that Cano is not. Cano hits 4th and Pedrois hits 1st or 2nd, so of course Robbie will end up with more HR and RBI and a few less runs scored. Cano steals few bases, a real plus for Pedroia. Cano hits in the clutch but so does Pedroia. Truly a toss up, and I'd love to see a poll where only non Yank and non Sox fans vote.

Since: Jun 13, 2008
Posted on: January 14, 2012 7:19 am

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

@ezmover,I believe you're spot on with your assessment of Pagan,he's gonna flourish where ever he is (I forgot who they dealt him to) ,although I don't know what this has to do with Cano vs Pedroia

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: January 14, 2012 4:10 am

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

I can't stand Reyes either.His idea of the 7th inning stretch should be :Take me out of the ballgame.I'm not a Met fan, butl letting Pagan go was a big mistake.Sure, he's coming off a bad season, but Pagan is a very good player.Time will tell.

Since: Jun 13, 2008
Posted on: January 14, 2012 4:07 am

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

@TLC,that is exactly who I've compared him to in the past.It seems like Carew was able to just place the ball where he wanted to.I think Cano has better power than Carew did.

Since: Nov 22, 2011
Posted on: January 14, 2012 12:28 am

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

I would rather have Cano for two reasons. 1) durability and 2) I think his power translates better to other ballparks. I think Pedroia is helped out by the short porch at Fenway. He is a good player, but I think Cano is better overall, with power, speed, range and throwing arm.

Since: Dec 18, 2007
Posted on: January 13, 2012 11:51 pm

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

I hated reyes.  betran as wel. Glad they are gone.  Jo McEwing was my fav met (he is tony larussas favorite player that he ever managed also).  I hate dogs. 

Since: Jan 13, 2012
Posted on: January 13, 2012 11:17 pm

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

I don't hold Pedroia's short season against him only because it was a broken bone in his foot that sidelined him for half the season. It's not like he has a strained "something", or every other week he feels tightness here or there and is always needing a day off. Pedroia is a hard-nosed player. Even with the broken foot they couldn't keep him off the field, he'd be out there taking grounders on his knees.

Despite Pedroia's go-for-broke swing, and his maddening expansion of the strike zone when he gets down in the count, he still strikes out less than Cano and walks twice as much, all despite Cano's nicer looking swing. While Cano has better power numbers than Pedroia, Pedrioa has the higher OBP. I do value OBP, so a slight nod to Pedroia.

Defensively Cano has improved over the past couple of years. Pedroia had a slightly higher fielding percentage last seaon, I still give the glove and the arm to Pedroia, though barely.

Pedroia or Cano? Both excellent players, both solid middle infielders that you can depend on in the field or at the plate. Great guys to build a team around. You don't lose having to choose either player. Pedroia gets my vote.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2012 9:54 pm

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

That Red Flag was 2010
2007-139 games
2008-157 "
2009-154 "
2010,your red flag with only 75 games
2011-159 games.
Injuries happen & Dustin had 1 in 5 years.

Robinson Cano did average a game or 2 more than Pedroia.If that's what it comes down to, this is one mighty close race.Bothh are PROBABLY bound for Cooperstown.

Since: Oct 14, 2010
Posted on: January 13, 2012 9:26 pm

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

Dustin missing that many games is a red flag.  There are none when it comes to Robbie Cano so I'll go with him.  Both teams are fortunate, second sackers like these guys come along rarely and here are two of the best in the same league, same division.

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