A former perennial MVP candidate is headed back to the city where his career began.
Robinson Cano has been traded from the Seattle Mariners organization to the New York Mets in a blockbuster deal, according to multiple sources. Cano is the latest big-name deal for the team in what has been an off-season of salary dumps for the Mariners that has already included James Paxton and Mike Zunino.
The full details of the deal include the New York Mets receiving Cano and all-star closer and 2018 sensation Edwin Diaz. In return in Mariners will be gaining Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, and prospects Justin Dunn, Jarred Kelenic and Gerson Bautista.
Robinson Canó to the #Mets?
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) November 26, 2018
Cano is an eight-time all-star, a five-time silver slugger, a two-time gold glove winner and won the 2009 World Series with the Yankees. While the 36-year-old’s resume is nothing less than impressive, in recent years the second baseman has seen his career on the downturn. Making Cano the centerpiece of the deal may sound flashy, but in reality, the Mets are acquiring a man who just served an 80 game suspension for using PEDs.
In his last full season in 2017, he was named to the all-star team showing that he does still have some pop left in his bat and one of the smoothest swings in the game. What his stats don’t show is that his ability in the field has vastly diminished, and for a Mets team with Dominic Smith and Jeff McNeil slated as its starting right side of the infield, he offers what seems like a slight upgrade at most.
Reminder: Robinson Cano is 36 years old, signed through the age of 41, may no longer be a viable major league infielder, and is coming off a year highlighted by an 80-GAME PED SUSPENSION. Trading anything of value for him is suicidal #Mets
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) November 30, 2018
For all the knocks that could be said of Cano, he is still an above average MLB player, one who has been through it all. The problem is his massive contract, which has him owed $120 million over the next 5 years.
The true centerpiece and the man that Mets fans should be feeling amazin’ about is the acquisition of Edwin Diaz. The 24-year-old finished a triumphant 2018 season with 57 saves and an era under two. With a slider that instantly became one of the most difficult pitches to hit, Diaz looks poised to have sustained success in the league.
Edwin Díaz was a 3.5-WAR major league pitcher last season. He is 24.
Justin Dunn put up a 4.22 ERA at Double-A last season. He is 23.
Dunn is very talented, no question, and he could be great. But let’s stop fetishizing prospects. Dunn is not close to being what Díaz is. https://t.co/KvrWCt8GtA
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 30, 2018
For a Mets team in need of a closer and bullpen hope, in general, Diaz fills a need almost perfectly, instantly giving the Mets one of the best arms in the NL East.
It is no secret that the Mariners are tearing it all down and starting it over. The best way to start over? Get all of the big money off the books and trade current assets for those that can be a part of future success.
Getting Cano off the books do just that and should be viewed as a massive win for Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto. Trading away Cano should be seen as the official pressing of the restart team for Seattle as their failed experiment from the 2014 off-season produced zero post-season appearances.
The Mariners in return are bringing in Dunn and Kelenic, the Mets third and fourth overall prospects. The 19-year-old Kelenic was one of the top pure hitters in the 2018 draft class and projects as an above average left-handed bat in left field. In Dunn, the Mariners get another former first-round pick, this time from the 2016 draft. With a fastball reaching 95 mph and a strong slider as his outpitch, Dunn has shown flashes in his short time in the Mets organization. While he has been a starter during his time in the minors, he has shown some experience out of the bullpen and can project as a strong late-inning arm out of the pen.
#Mets No. 3 prospect and the No. 6 overall Draft pick Jarred Kelenic (@JKelenic_1019) collected a pair of two-hit games and his fifth career homer in a doubleheader for @Kingsport_Mets. BOX: https://t.co/s32wgYWlLh pic.twitter.com/KEBiCl5xY7
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) August 23, 2018
The acquisitions of Kelenic, Dunn and even Bautista project to help the Mariners in the future but immediately it is Bruce and Swarzak who will have an immediate impact. Coming off a poor season after signing a three year $39 million contract, 31-year-old Bruce will be looking to return to form out in the Northwest. For a team that is in need of a designated hitter and a left-handed first baseman, Bruce can more than fill that void.
In Swarzak, the Mariners are receiving a bullpen arm who is coming off a down season of his own. The right-hander is only one season removed from having a sub 2.50 era out of the bullpen for the White Sox and the Mets. If Swarzak can return to form, he can become trade bait in an effort to bring back another prospect to the rebuilding Mariners.
The bottom line for this deal is that it offers at least a minor bit of hope for both sides. For the Mets, they receive a historically talented left-handed bat that they were in dire need of. The addition of Diaz may prove to make this deal to be worth every penny if he continues on his dominant trajectory and can lead a Mets bullpen and team that already has one of the league’s best pitching staffs, to begin with.
A quick look at the $ …
– Robinson Cano: 5 years, $120M
– Jay Bruce: 2 years, $26M
– Anthony Swarzak: 1 year, $8M
Mets are taking on $86M. Plus Diaz should make somewhere from $30M-$35M over the next four seasons, should he remain an elite closer.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 30, 2018
For the Mariners, this deal is just another step in what looks like a long rebuild for a franchise yearning for a playoff appearance. Bringing back some top prospects and removing money from the books is all they can ask for.