Mets Get The Off-Season Started With A Bang

To say that the Mets’ new general manager, Brodie Van Wagenen made a splash with his first major transaction would be a severe understatement. He did a cannon ball into a kiddie pool!

In fact, he made a franchise altering trade.

The Mets have officially acquired Robinson Canó and Edwin Diaz via trade with the Seattle Mariners. The complete deal is Robinson Canó, and Edwin Diaz plus $20M in cash for Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, Jarred Kelenic, Justin Dunn and Gerson Bautista.

Whoa! There is a lot to tackle here so let’s get right into it.

                       THE FINANCIALS

The Seattle Mariners sent New York 20 million in cash, but you have to take into account that the deal includes Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak. Bruce and Swarzak are owed 36.5 million dollars collectively.

That would mean the Mets are covering 63.5 million dollars of Canó’s contract over 5 years. That breaks down to the Mets paying Canó 12.4 million a year for the next 5 seasons.

                         PROS AND CONS

The biggest positive of this deal would have to be Edwin Diaz. He is elite with a capital ELITE. The Mets bullpen was third worst in baseball in 2018, pitching to a 4.96 ERA. Diaz provides instant…Well, relief.

Over 73 innings pitched in 2018, Diaz posted a sparkling 1.96 ERA to go along with a 0.79 WHIP. Diaz was lights out for the Mariners, notching 57 saves. He has a 100 MPH fastball coupled with a wipeout slider. Factor in his insane walk rate, and you have to be happy as a Met fan.

Here’s the best part. Edwin Diaz will be making the league minimum in 2019, his first of four years of arbitration! Saves are heavily valued, so that number might jump to the 8 million dollar range in 2020. With that being said, you’re not getting a reliever of Diaz’ caliber any other way.

Robinson Canó? Lot to unravel here.

He probably is our best hitter out of the box. He

However, he is 36 years old and served an 80 game suspension last season for a PED masking agent. This is clearly a win now move though. Canó has showed no signs of slowing down. The PED situation is something to monitor, and we may very well regret this in 2021, but I’m confident Canó will be productive for at least another two years.

We did ourselves of Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak, and the money they are owed. Personally, I would have let Swarzak pitch out the final year of his deal, but I’m over the moon that Jay Bruce is no longer a Met. He was an awful fit, and created logjams all over the field.

Here’s what I don’t like.

The Mets had all the leverage here. Robinson Canó has a no trade clause. He wanted to play in New York, yet the Yankees aren’t interested. WHY ARE THE METS SENDING THEIR FIRST ROUND DRAFT PICK, SELECTED SIXTH OVERALL IN JARRED KELENIC IN THIS DEAL?

The exile of Swarzak and Bruce was great, but they are owed 36.5 million dollars. The Atlanta Braves essentially ate that in the Matt Kemp deal and cut Adrian Gonzalez. I’ll just stop right there.

Did we leverage the future to save money? Again?

OK. At this point I’d like to bring in a special guest. He is a huge proponent of this trade for many reasons. I’ve compiled a list of concerns many Met fans have, and gave him the opportunity to try and put the Amazins faithful at ease.

I’d like to welcome a good friend of 90percentmets, Adam Weinstein.

90 PERCENT METS: Many fans are of the opinion that it would just be better to go sign a Machado or harper. Why do you believe this (Cano trade) is the better route?

ADAM WEINSTEIN: So, of the 17 position players who have signed deals of 7 or more years in the 2010s, 16 of them have badly underperformed, almost all of them within the first year or 2 of the deal. So I would not have any interest in the decade plus deals Manny and Bryce will be getting this winter. In a fitting twist, the one player who has over-performed a deal of this length … is Robinson Cano. I am thrilled with both aspects of this trade for that reason.

90 PM: Any concerns with his suspension for PEDs (masking agent) last year?

AW: My view regarding PEDs is that the players getting ROI in their FA deals in their mid to late 30s are the PED users. Cano. Nelson Cruz. Bartolo Colon. So, if you are running a Front Office, and you are looking to avoid Pujols, Ellsbury, Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, Ethier, Prince Fielder, David Wright, Ryan Howard, Josh Hamilton, etc etc ROI, you want to buy the players you believe will use PEDs to sustain performance, and not the players who fall off a cliff overnight, after signing a huge long FA deal. That includes guys as young as Jason Heyward. I believe that was the Mariners philosophy. They signed Cano. They signed Nelson Cruz after a PED violation at age 35. They traded for Dee Gordon already in his 30s and already popped for PED use. They traded for Denard Span, who has been much better 30-34 offensively than he was 26-29.

90 PM: Wow. That is going to spark a lot of debate. Fascinating to say the least. Finally, here is when members of the Mets core will hit free agency:

Wheeler 2020.                                     
deGrom 2021
Syndergaard 2022
Matz 2022
Conforto 2022
Nimmo 2023

Cano is owed $20 million by the Mets in 2021, 2022, and 2023.

Does this worry you?

AW: Not at all. 50 million will coming off the books in the forms of Cespedes and Wright. I think teams trying to contend need to do some things like this. Re-signing Céspedes was necessary to the team’s chances to contend in 2016 and onwards. Same with Cano now. The offense was badly in need of an offensive upgrade. These are 2 good gambles as guys who showed likelihood of ROI through their 30s.

90 PM: Thanks for your time.

Well, the deal is done. It was a deal that caused a lot of sleepless nights, and endless debate and discussion. It’s a win now move, for sure. By itself, it’s not enough so we have to keep going.

They will win the back page tomorrow, but there are a lot of holes that need filling. Hate him or love him, Jay Bruce was an outfielder. Hate him or love him, Anthony Swarzak was a relief pitcher. They need to be replaced. I wouldn’t argue with you if you said we needed a catcher and starting pitching help either.

We’ll be watching, Brodie.