Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto says the team will use a combination of Gordon Beckham and Andrew Romine at second base Tuesday night, but that Dee Gordon will likely go back to second base after this.
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto met with the media Tuesday afternoon at Safeco Field to discuss the 80-game suspension handed down to Mariners star second baseman Robinson Cano earlier in the day. Here’s what Dipoto had to say:
(What was the timeline and how did you find out?) “Found out speaking with Robbie and his agents late afternoon yesterday (Monday) just before our game was scheduled to start and then the wheels go tin motion for us. Robbie, speaking with him in person, feels terrible. He was very apologetic and he realized he made a mistake and he wanted me to convey to the team that this is — he feels terrible that he let his teammates down and that he did not use performance-enhancing drugs. It’s a diuretic and unfortunately it’s the same as if it was. He’ll be suspended for 80 games. We support him in this in the meantime. In this particular instance we’re going to be without one of our best players and got to find a way to bridge the gap.
“Obviously tonight we got the combination of Gordon Beckham and Andrew Romine. This is all happening rather quickly but we sat down and talked to Dee Gordon. When we were discussing Robinson Cano, believe it or not, the hand injury he suffered on Sunday in Detroit was probably going to be more of a 2-4 week absence. So we were not looking at a terribly long absence. Obviously that has changed quite a bit. We just sat down and talked to Dee Gordon and tried to come up with an alternative plan and that would be moving Dee to second base. And he said that is something he would be cool with.
“We’re not going to rush it. He’s going to play center field. He is playing center field tonight and he’s going to break out his infield glove and start taking some ground balls this afternoon. We haven’t made that decision definitively but Scott, Dee and I just spoke about it and said he would do whatever the team needs and we’re going to see how that goes for the next couple of days.
“I think we’ll definitely look outside and the ability to augment the team. The one thing and we said this when we acquired Dee, we didn’t want to jerk Dee back and forth. We don’t’ want to move him around. He’s worked so hard to pick up center field. You could just see in the past two weeks he’s definitely as he said it’s fun for him now. So we don’t want to move him around half-hazardly. So giving him the opportunity to move in for a time and then move back when that becomes a reality is something we’re committed to, if in fact he moves there full time. So moving outside we can now look at the potential for second basemen, we could look at the potential for outfielders – people who can help our team get better. The good news is we have answers to supplement out outfield program.
(Did Robby give any indication on why he decided to drop the appeal?) “No. That’s not my business nor my question to answer.”
(Any results on Cano’s doctor visit today?) “There’s been enough else going on that I’ve not yet had a chance to unearth that but there was a 99-percent certainty that he is going to have surgery tomorrow in Philadelphia and he’ll return to Seattle after.
“He will not be able to remain with the club during the games, et cetera. But he will able to come in here and rehab his injury. He just won’t be able to do it while the gates are open or while the club is on the field.”
(Once he’s healthy, can he go to Arizona?) “Only for a period of time. There’s a limit to how long he can do that.”
(How long before Dee Gordon gets comfortable at 2B?) “We are going to play it day by day. By his estimation, he hasn’t taken a groundball since early December. We don’t want to rush into it. He’s such a good athlete, it could be two or three days. It could be that we just decide to keep him in center field if that makes much more sense based on his assessment. We’ll find out.”
(There was a report that Cano’s positive test was in the offseason. Is that accurate?) “I can’t tell you if that’s accurate or not. They let me know yesterday that he will be out for 80 games. That’s what matters to me is this team and how to solve that moving forward.”
(You were not notified before Monday?) “The JDA and rightfully so, there’s confidentiality with it. Robinson, his agents, Brodie Van Wagenen and Kyle Thousand, got on the phone with John Stanton, Kevin Mather and I, late yesterday afternoon and filled us in. Obviously in the time since, we’ve communicated back and forth with Central baseball and we’ve communicated internally about how to solve this moving forward. The biggest thing for is the 2018 Mariners and how we maintain our position in the standings every game and gain to put ourselves in position so that when Robinson does return, and he will, that we are in position to make the best of that.”
(Cano says didn’t know he took a banned substance — are players educated about what is banned?) “The lists are out there. They’re available. It’s a matter of what you are interested in looking at. We’ve all had the opportunity to take a look behind the curtain. Some choose to, some choose not to. I think that’s what Robbie said. In his world, he wishes he would have done things differently or been more careful. I think that’s what he was alluding to. Clearly he knows now that he’s done something wrong, but he didn’t know that going in. If he had to do it over again, he’d read the fine print.”
(What was your initial reaction?) “Disappointment. We are all disappointed. We just lost one of our best players. It’s a hit. It’s a hit to Robbie. It’s a hit to our club, to the franchise in general and to baseball. This is one of the great players in the game. It’s important to know that it’s hurtful to our fans. It’s one of those things that really leaves an impression. I felt that disappointment. I think you all have figured out that I’m an optimistic person by nature. And it turned into, alright how do we turn this to as positive as we can and solve the problem. And that’s what I’ve been thinking about ever since.”
(How do you expect the team to react?) “I’m sure it will be a psychological blow to this team initially. But this team has a nice resilient quality to it. So it can be a nice galvanizing moment where they continue to pull together. We’ve been down. I think the way we’ve played this year and the way it has come together, we’ve been down in games, 3-0, 5-0. We come back. And I think they’ll come back from this. It will sting when they sit down together. But I’m sure now as social media goes, they were all aware they walked in that door. Now it’s just a matter of time moving forward.”
(Can Cano be with the team?) “Just to rehab and that’s it.”
(Can Cano appeal to play in the postseason?) “No, he’s ineligible to play in the 2018 postseason.”
(Would you consider using the $12 million savings on Cano’s salary?) “We could, sure. That’s part of this. This has been less than 24 hours that we’ve had a chance to process this and not something we’ve spent a great deal of time. But we’ve certainly looked at outside alternatives as a possibility.”