Following days of reports on New York and Seattle being in discussion over a potential blockbuster deal, the Mets finally got what they had been hoping for when they agreed on Saturday, December 1, to send outfielder Jay Bruce, reliever Anthony Swarzak, and a trio of minor leaguers over to the Mariners for eight-time All-Star Robinson Cano and Cy Young award candidate Edwin Diaz, per ESPN.
For Seattle, the move marks the latest turn in an off-season that has already seen them deal away ace James Paxton and catcher Mike Zunino in an effort to rebuild from scratch. In addition to snagging up Bruce and Swarzak in the fire sale, general manager Jerry Dipoto landed the franchise 19-year-old center fielder prospect Jarred Kelenic, 23-year-old starting pitcher Justin Dunn, and right-handed reliever Gerson Bautista, who is also 23. For New York, on the other hand, the hope is that Cano and Diaz can contribute to an immediate turn-around following another injury riddled Mets season.
The stats on record per Baseball Reference show that in acquiring Diaz, the Mets are getting a shutdown closer who has seen his numbers climb in each of his first three years in the majors. In fact, an argument can be made for Diaz coming into his own as the best relief pitcher in all of baseball, considering he led the entire American League by sustaining a winning lead 57 times this past season. His 49th save of 2018 made Diaz the Mariners’ all-time single-season saves leader. And just one day after surpassing Fernando Rodney for the milestone, the 24-year-old gunslinger became the youngest player to ever register 50 saves in a season.
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In obtaining Cano, the upside may be a little less certain, but the Mets would still be getting one of the better hitters in the game, in spite of him entering his 15th season at age 36. The former Yankees second-baseman is coming off a season that was cut short due to a drug-suspension that sat him down for nearly half of Seattle’s contests. Through the 80 games that he did get to play, Cano drove in 50 runs and maintained a.303 batting average. He joins his former team’s cross-town rivals with a.304 career average at the plate — and with Adrian Beltre and Ichiro Suzuki retiring, the left handed contact hitter moves up on the list with his 2,470 hits total, the third most among all active players.
Ultimately, Diaz’s 1.96 ERA and 0.79 WHIP ought to translate to immediate success, especially considering the fact that he’ll be closing for a roster of starters that, when healthy, is as elite as any, given the presence of Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. What’s more, the 124 strikeouts he tallied up to only 17 walks speaks to his reliability. Cano’s solid play on both sides of the ball also rings of stability in the Mets lineup. But as CBS Sports points out, he is owed $120 million on a contract they’ll need to make room for through the next five seasons.
In addition to shipping Diaz and Cano over to the opposite coast, they’ve also agreed to pad the deal with $20 million to help offset the latter star’s weighty contract.