I’m in a points league, head-to-head just like fantasy football. Pitchers obviously get you more points, but would you trade away Cano to get Cain? I’m on the fence on this one.
The only way to give you a definitive answer is to understand how points are scored in your league and what the roster requirements are for your team.
But I can say that, just like in fantasy football, the gross number of points isn’t the important thing. Quarterbacks generally score more points than other positions, but the difference between the average QB and the replacement QB is generally less than the difference between the average RB and the the replacement RB.
You have the same issue here. What you have to determine is how many more points Matt Cain will score versus the pitcher who takes his place, then compare that to the difference between Robinson Cano and the second baseman who would replace him.
Without knowing your league settings I can’t tell you who rates better. And without knowing the makeup of your team (do you have a strong squad of hitters now, so you can afford to take a little hit to improve your pitching staff) it’s equally difficult to give you a definitive answer. But if you think about it this way I suspect an answer will become quickly obvious (or this really is a close call).
Until then, I’ll say: Cano.
Bonus Link: My friend Todd Zola has written the primer-to-end-all-primers on Head to Head Points over at ESPN. It looks like you need to be an Insider, but I include it here in case you are an Insider, or maybe you don’t need to be.