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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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Comments
brian8ball
Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: January 13, 2012 10:47 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2012 10:27 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

I'll take Pedroia. More for the intangibles. He's more intense and nobody gives more effort than him in the game and that's at any position. Also because he's an infinitely better base runner than Cano. His base running ability means you can bat him leadoff or in the 2-hole. His power means you can bat him 3-5 too. Cano's a better HITTER, but Pedroia's the better all around player. And to correct something in the article, Pedroia's not the best fielding second baseman in baseball. Brandon Phillips is.



Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2012 10:24 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

Being a lifetime Bosox mate,i am biased,but let's be real,both of these guys play in a hitter's friendly ballpark(s) with multiple MVP candidates all around them,natural good given talent,i'll give Cano the edge but mighty mite DP plays the game like Troy Polamalu with no regards for his body,this Q&A is like asking Brad Pitt,who is better in the sack,Jennifer or Jolie???


brian8ball
Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: January 13, 2012 10:22 am
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brian8ball
Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: January 13, 2012 10:21 am
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Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: January 13, 2012 10:17 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

Pedroia seems to be coming up a little short in the voting. Haha



Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: January 13, 2012 10:15 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

You can tell when the scribes are told to find something to write about.
When all else fails, dredge up some useless comparison between a Yankee and a Red Sock.




brian8ball
Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: January 13, 2012 9:59 am
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Since: Mar 29, 2007
Posted on: January 13, 2012 9:51 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

Well, the first thing we can do is throw out about 98% of the opinions posted here, and about 99% of the votes in the so-called poll, for being obviously biased opinions from fans of one team or the other. I'm a fan of neither team. In fact, as with most everyone in the country, I strongly dislike both teams, mostly because of their fans. Both players are terrific, 2 of the better 2nd baseman, obviously. Pedroia has done more with less than most players ever. Cano's natural talents only have me asking why it took so long for him to be this good. Personally, right now, I give a slight edge to Cano. If Cano continues at the pace he set last year, he's the better player overall. Regardless of the Red Sox meltdown last year, Pedroia is probably the better leader, but that may just be cultural. However, as with MVP arguments, the only really stupid opinions are the ones that say "hands down", or "no brainer", or "by far". Both are terrific. That's kind of the point.



Since: Dec 19, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2012 9:45 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Cano or Pedroia?

In fantasy terms it's a wash, 25-30 HR's doesn't mean you're more productive.  Pedroia scored a few more fantasy points actually. Overall production in real baseball it's pedroia.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com