In one fell swoop, former Mariners first base coach Andy Van Slyke made enemies with a pair of MLB franchises, including the one that let him go after the 2015 season.
Appearing on St. Louis’ CBS Sports Radio 920, Van Slyke took shots at both Mariners star Robinson Cano and Yasiel Puig, who plays in the Dodgers outfield with his son Scott.
The Cano comments were particularly pointed, Van Slyke saying that the high-paid second baseman was responsible for Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik, manager Lloyd McClendon and members of his coaching staff all losing their jobs during the season.
“Robinson Cano cost the GM his job, the hitting coach got fired because of Cano and then the manager and coaches got fired because of Cano, because that’s how much impact he has on the organization,” Van Slyke said. “He was the worst player and it cost people their jobs in the process.”
Van Slyke did not mince words regarding Cano’s first-half performance in 2015, either – Cano’s batting average dipped as low as .236 on June 16 despite hitting in front of slugger Nelson Cruz.
“Robinson Cano was the single worst third-place everyday player I’ve ever seen, for the first half of a Major League Baseball season,” Van Slyke said, speaking about Cano’s usual spot hitting third in the batting order. “He couldn’t drive home Miss Daisy if he tried. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t get a hit when it mattered. He played the worst defense I’ve ever seen at second. I mean the worst defensive second baseman ever, I’ve ever seen, in 20 years in the big leagues.”
And while Van Slyke qualified that he doesn’t think Cano’s a bad guy, it doesn’t seem like he thinks Cano works hard, something the six-time All-Star was accused of when he left the Yankees two years ago. When host Frank Cusumano said Cano’s struggles weren’t related to “work ethic, he tries,” Van Slyke responded: “He does, sometimes.”
As for Puig, who has been a lightning rod ever since he defected from Cuba and signed a huge contract with the Dodgers, Van Slyke attempted to be coy in sharing some clubhouse dirt out of L.A. – he wasn’t particularly effective, though.
“This is just between you and I,” he said on-air to Cusumano. “When the best player – the highest-paid player on the Los Angeles Dodgers – goes to the GM and… is asked what are (the needs of the Dodgers), this particular highest-paid player said, ‘The first thing you need to do is get rid of Puig.’ That’s all you need to know.”
The highest-paid player on the Dodgers, by the way, is ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw.