Robinson Cano
Jason Getz | USA TODAY Sports

The Robinson Cano trade has not exactly worked out for the Mets. He was awful in 2019, generally OK in 2020, suspended for all of 2021 for PED usage and now they’re just kind of stuck with him at $24 million a year for the next two seasons.

But give Cano credit. He took a big first step toward returning to good graces by beating the shift with a bunt base hit, sparking a two-run rally in the Mets’ 5-1 Opening Day win over the Nationals on Thursday night in Washington.

“If they’re going to play like that this year, I’m going to take that single,” Cano told The New York Post after the game.

This is the type of stuff that WFAN callers live on. They’re going to forget about the PEDs almost immediately.

For all the talk about banning the shift or restricting it, we’d get even better results if a few more players followed Cano’s lead and just put down bunts. It’s like when an NFL team runs a halfback pass in Week 3. There is a 97% chance they are not going to do it again, but every defensive coordinator from that point forward has to waste time preparing for one and then make adjustments to protect against the possibility. You think the Nationals are going to shift like that again this weekend if Cano is back in the lineup (Brandon Nimmo will bump him out once his neck is OK)?

All kidding aside, it would be pretty cool if Cano somehow has a productive cap to his career with a winning Mets team. The way he bolted the Yankees for the big pay day in Seattle was always so abrupt. And even though he was an All-Star three times with the Mariners, it never felt like he was a player of prominence after he left New York.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.