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: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2012 3:49 pm

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

2 things: 

Pedroia has hit for a .780 OPS on the road in his career, nice little omission.

Cano made 3 errors in 2010 in pretty much the same amount of chances as his other years showing that year he pretty much eliminated the mental lapses that have always been his biggest defensive weakness. there's no way Pedroia would've deserved to take that gold glove away from him.  

I'd take Cano over Pedroia, because I feel like we've already seen Pedroia's best and I'm not certain we've seen Cano's. Even if we have, Cano's 2010 is something Pedroia's never really approached. Cano has so much ability he just makes everything look so easy out there, while Pedroia is a max effort, fight-for-every-inch guy. You can see the difference in their swings; Cano's sweet, fluid stroke vs. Pedroia's mighty-mouse hack. I just think Cano might have another level and even if he doesn't, he's clearly at least on par with Pedroia.

Since: May 7, 2010
Posted on: January 13, 2012 3:43 pm

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

This is opening a big can of worms. Both Cano and pedroia are great, any team would be lucky to have either of them. I'm going to take the 5th. 

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2012 3:29 pm

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

Leading by example? So it was Pedroia who bought the chicken & beer!

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2012 3:24 pm

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

Look they`re both all star 2nd basemen, so to say Pedroia "based upon the defensive separation" ???  the 2011 Fielding Bible award???  Stop already Bill James, go back into your Fenway stat cave and cook it up showing your boy Pedi is the man.  Cano only won the 2010 Gold Glove because Pedroia was hurt anyway...Please hate the Yankees all you want but Cnao is a top notch fielder at second as is Pedroia.  They`ll go back & forth ala DiMaggio/Williams in the day. Try enjoying seeing 2 stars nyou root for the Red Sawx, I`ll take Cano.   

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2012 3:22 pm

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

You can take Pedroia, I'LL KEEP CANO!

What an idiotic article.

Since: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2012 3:20 pm

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

all very compelling arguments. i'm a sox fan and wouldn't trade pedroia for any other 2b, but i fully appreciate the argument that cano is in fact better, especially when support by statistics, as brian8ball did. really can't lose with either one; but i do think cano has better power upside so i vote for him.

Since: Nov 7, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2012 3:16 pm

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

Pedroia is a good player and a gritty teammate that you would love to have on your team, but he is no Robinson Cano.  Cano is a complete player, an MVP type player ever year who will just keep adding to his numbers.  Plus, Cano gets unfairly criticized for his defense.  Sure, it appears that Pedroia has more range than Cano because he dives for every ball that is not hit 2 feet from him.  Cano is so graceful at getting to balls that it appears he is not hustling.  If you watched Cano every day, you would be amazed at how great a second baseman his is.  In fact, between him and Texiera, it's amazing any ground ball gets through on the right side.  Plus, because of his arm, he makes sick plays up the middle that no other second baseman can make.  He gets the NY bias and that is why he hasn't won an MVP yet.  He easily could have either of the past 2 seasons. 

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: January 13, 2012 2:27 pm

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

Unlike you I stand behind my teams.Being a BOYS fan and a Sox's fan I see why you would think that way though.
I see you are still TROLLING though.And I would say the Cowboys are the BIGGEST choke team the Last 5 years in the .

Brian. You say everybody trolls you.  You are the biggest loser on these boards dude. 


I wish you wouldn't have punked out and really met me somewhere like you promised you would. 

Bit**.  Would have been great beating on your punk a**


Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: January 13, 2012 1:47 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Jul 20, 2011
Posted on: January 13, 2012 1:47 pm

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

Pedroia, but for superficial reasons only.

When he does something good on the field or at the plate, he doesn't appear too cocky.

Cano puffs out his cheeks (a bit like Griffey Jr. used to do) whenever he does anything good.

That tilts the scales for me.

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