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Offishial news, 11/19/20: Canó busted; TV updates; Alexander Guillén

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One of the best players of his generation, Robinson Canó has now been caught with performance-enhancing drugs twice in the twilight of his career, sowing doubt about whether his prime was legitimate.

New York Mets v Miami Marlins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Say it ain’t so, Canó?!

Mets second baseman Robinson Canó tested positive for stanozolol. Being that it’s the second PED slip-up of his major league career, he has been suspended without pay for the entire 2021 season. He didn’t even appeal the punishment.

Canó battered Marlins pitching in 2020, slashing .400/.423/.880 with three home runs in 26 plate appearances. He almost single-handedly made the difference in the outcome of their Aug. 26 game.

Shortly after the news broke, rookie pitchers Alex Vesia and Sterling Sharp (who has since been returned to the Nationals) playfully questioned the legitimacy of his long balls against them.

From a Mets perspective, this is unequivocally good news. Canó had been owed $24 million next season and they were on the hook for $20.25 million of that (with the rest coming from the Mariners). With new owner Steve Cohen in place and many teams reluctant to spend on payroll coming off a summer of reduced revenues, they should be able to reallocate that money towards signing multiple quality veterans. Cohen even tweeted so himself.

During the late 2000s and early 2010s, Canó was on my short list of favorite MLB players (if not in the No. 1 spot). I’m confused and disappointed by whatever motivations he had for doing this, because his reputation will never fully recover.

TV situation

Neither side has blinked yet in negotiations between the Marlins and Sinclair Broadcasting, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The 15-year deal that has kept the Fish on FOX Sports Florida expired, and for much of that period, they were receiving the least local television revenue of any MLB team. Despite the recent downturn in the economy and the fact that primetime ratings for their games were roughly the same in 2020 as they were in 2019, the Marlins are seeking to “triple” the annual price, Jackson writes—into the $50 million per year range—bringing it close to league norms.

The expectation is that they will reach a compromise shortly after New Years’. If this drags on beyond that, however, I worry about it impacting spring training coverage. Historically, FS Florida has slacked in that department, only doing one or two “dress rehearsal” broadcasts with their main on-air talent. It’d be a shame if this state of limbo prevents the network from taking a step forward heading into a legitimately fascinating Marlins campaign.

Whenever baseball gets back on TV, we will need to get adjusted to a new name and jingle. Sinclair has sold naming rights to its regional sports networks. For the next 10 years (at least), they’ll belong to Bally’s casinos.

Intriguing NRI

The first player acquisition of the Kim Ng era! This week, the Marlins signed Alexander Guillén to a minor league deal.

Guillén was signed and developed by the Rockies organization. He possesses a mid-90s fastball—reportedly peaks at 98 miles per hour—and a curveball and changeup that he can use to put away either left-handed or right-handed batters.

Guillén had an excellent age-23 season in 2019. He struck out more than 30% of opponents between Double-A Hartford and the Arizona Fall League (1.53 ERA, 2.34 FIP, 0.93 WHIP in 76.2 IP during the regular season). Although he didn’t make any starts for Hartford, the Dominican right-hander averaged two innings per appearance.

The Rockies invited Guillén to spring training this year where he pitched an unremarkable 3 13 innings. He spent the summer at their alternate training site, but was never recalled.

The Marlins haven’t acknowledged the move publicly—they will wait until inking a handful of other minor league free agents, then (sometime next month) introduce the whole group.

Walk-off links

  • Sandy Alcantara has switched agencies from Octagon to CAA, which also represents Brian Anderson, Jorge Alfaro and Nick Neidert, just to name a few. Alcantara is still a year away from arbitration eligibility (and four away from free agency).
  • Infield prospect Joe Dunand (remember him?) made his winter ball season debut with Leones del Escogido, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a sacrifice fly.
  • The Marlins introduced a three-game Holiday Bundle ticket package that includes 2021 Opening Day. See below for the seating sections that you have to choose from.