Jorge Luis Cantu Guzman is a professional Mexican baseball player who plays as a first baseman. Born in Texas, Cantu was picked up by scouts when playing in a Junior Olympic tournament in Mexico City, while still in high school. The 16-year old was given a contract by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Cantu joined the Devil Rays and started as a utility player in the minor leagues. Rising through the ranks in the minor leagues, and before making his major league debut, he played for the Mexican National Team and was instrumental in knocking Team USA out of the Olympic qualifying tournament to eliminate them from the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens.
He played for the Devil Rays in the MLB in 2004 for just 50 games and ended with a .301 batting average including 17 RBI.
The following year, his involvement increased and his role changed from being a utility player to being a second baseman. With a season where Cantu had a batting average of .286 over 598 at-bats with 171 hits, it was quite appropriate to be named MVP for the Devil Rays by the Tampa Bay sportswriters. Cantu had 117 RBI as well as 28 home runs.
The following year, injuries hit Cantu and he struggled to get back to his usual level. He batted at an average of just .249 with 62 RBI. Due to these injuries, he had to start the 2007 season in the Durham Bulls, in the AAA-League. The demotion led Cantu to the boardroom, asking for a trade however he went on TV saying that he wanted to go to the Durham Bulls. He played just 25 games in 2007 and batted at only .207 with 4 RBI.
In July of 2007, Cantu was traded out to the Cincinnati Reds along with Shaun Cumberland in exchange for Brian Shackelford as well as Calvin Medlock. Cantu played 27 games with the Reds and hit at .298. In 2007, he also made the shift from second to first base and playing half the season at Tampa Bay and half at the Reds meant that he never got a real look in on that season. In December that year, the Reds decided to release Cantu. The Florida Marlins pulled Cantu in and then decided to assign him to the minor leagues and also gave him an invite to Spring Training.
After Castillo moved to the San Francisco Giants, it made way for the Marlins to bring Cantu into the roster and Cantu didn’t disappoint. He played impressively during spring training and was named as the starting third baseman for the team for the 2008 season. Cantu hit 29 homers in 628 at-bats while going in at third in the batting lineup. His 174 hits gave him a .277 batting average as well as 95 RBI.
In 2009, he has played 72 games till date, with 279 at-bats while notching up 80 hits and 9 homers at an average of .287. This performance has come after Cantu signed a single year contract worth $4.5 million and also after he was moved to first base following spring training.
Cantu hurt his left wrist in the third game of the season and was out for 5 games before returning to the lineup with the help of painkillers. In the first week of May, 2009, Cantu was named as the National League Player of the Week.