There is no doubting Robinson Cano's ability at the plate. He can hit to all fields with power, and is a career .304 hitter. Those skills have yet to show a fall off from age, but what about the other side of his game in the field?
Cano has also been known to have a sure glove at second base with a third baseman's arm to boot. But, at age 36, does he still have the effective range to make all plays in the infield? He doesn't doubt it for a second.
"If I can play second, that's where I want to be," Cano told The Post's Dan Martin. "Trust me, if I lost my range, I'd be the first person to say, 'I think it's time for me to move' or go to DH if that happens [in the National League]."
When the Mets traded for Cano, they recognized they were taking a 36-year-old veteran with five years left on his contract including this season. And SNY's Andy Martino reported back in December that the organization believes he could serve the final years of his contract as a DH if the National League decided to implement it.
Cano seems to be willing to make that switch, but not right now. He knows he can still make the necessary plays in the field to not be a liability to the Mets.
"If I can move and turn the double play, why I switch to another position?" Cano questioned. "People say, 'Oh, he's getting older,' but if you're still able to move, who cares? If I was 29 right now and moving like I do, no one would say anything about me moving positions. I feel I move the same way now as I did then. I think it's more in people's heads. They see I'm older and they assume I'm slowing down."
At the same time, though, Cano can preach he hasn't lost a step but time does catch up with every player. But every great athlete knows the best way to combat age is to play smarter, and 14 years and 2,078 MLB games later, Cano is doing just that.
Yankees LHP James Paxton, who had Cano behind him with the Mariners for the past five seasons, can attest to his former second baseman still having what it takes.
"He's as smooth a second baseman as I've ever seen," Paxton said. "And I think he was better last year than he was before. He was healthy and moving better. He's probably lost a step since his younger days, but he still gets to balls and when he does, he doesn't make many errors. He just makes it look easy."
While Cano admits that he plays smarter, as he said "you get to know best way to position yourself for different hitters" over the years. But, at the end of the day, being able to physically make the plays is what matters.
So, yes, smarts can go a long way. But Cano wants to continue proving he is still one of the best second baseman in the MLB.
"Some people, they think they're smarter than the game," he said. "If I can play, I can play. That's what I want to do."