BOSTON — If you were about to start your own Major League Baseball team, and you had the choice of having either Dustin Pedroia or Robinson Cano be your second baseman, who would you pick?
"I'd have to go with Cano," Oakland Athletics closer Andrew Bailey said. "Just my gut feeling. They're both great players."
The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have had several great positional rivalries over the years: Carlton Fisk vs. Thurman Munson, Jason Varitek vs. Jorge Posada, Nomar Garciaparra vs. Derek Jeter.
Now, it's Pedroia vs. Cano.
Pedroia, 28, has played in 686 major league games. He has a .305 batting average, .375 on-base percentage, .463 slugging percentage and .838 OPS with 71 homers, 199 doubles, 825 hits and 80 stolen bases.
Cano, 28, had played in 1,024 major league games entering yesterday. He has a .308 batting average, .347 on-base percentage, .494 slugging percentage and .841 OPS for his career along with 139 homers, 275 doubles, 1,230 hits and 28 stolen bases.
Basically, Cano hits for some more power, but Pedroia gets on base at a higher rate.
Pedroia has more speed while both second basemen hit for about the same average.
So which of the two would you rather have on your team?
"It's not easy," Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon said, pausing to think. "Either one. Both are different kind of players. They are both really good. Defensively, they're pretty similar — Cano more of a flair kind of a guy where Pedroia is more of a grind-it-out kind of a fellow. Pure hitting-wise, probably Cano (is better) as a pure hitter. Probably. I think they both have wonderful intangibles, but Pedroia just drips with them."
Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Josh Tomlin said Cano makes the game look easy.
"He does everything real smooth and easy," Tomlin said. "And Pedroia is one of those guys who is hard-nosed and will give you everything he has."