There has been a fair bit of speculation in the last few days that the Mariners are preparing to move Robinson Cano to the Mets. Last night, most people went to bed expecting an announcement at some point today. Joel Sherman called the deal “near certain” to get done. Here’s his reported potential trade.
- Robinson Cano
- Edwin Diaz
- Some Cash
On Tuesday, when I engaged in my own speculation and assessed Cano’s current trade value, I discussed how a deal with the Mets might look.
The reported potential framework of a deal involving Cano and $50 million going to the Mets comes close value-wise. The Mets are said to be trying to include Jay Bruce or receive Edwin Diaz or Mitch Haniger. There is a chance Cano could be packaged with Diaz or Haniger for some prospect return, but absent that, those two – particularly Haniger – don’t make sense to include as the Mariners try to rebuild; using those pieces to acquire talent for the Mariners next run at contention would seem to be a far better option than simply having to eat less money. As for Bruce and the $29 million owed to him over the next two seasons, that would likely need to come out of the money the Mariners are paying. Cano plus $30 million for Bruce is a deal that could make sense for both clubs. If the Mets were to insist on Diaz (the more likely supplemental piece to move) in the trade, New York would need to add prospects to the deal, essentially combining two separate trades into one.
Given what we know at this moment, separating this trade into two deals makes sense, so long as the rest of the money sent over to the Mariners is in the $20 million range. The first involves the Mets receiving Cano and whatever the Mariners don’t pick up of the $120 million he is due over the next five years. In turn, they move two contracts they no longer want. Anthony Swarzak is owed $8 million next season after a below replacement-level 2018 and Jay Bruce, who has been a replacement-level player since 2014 (with his pre-free agency 2017 the lone exception), is due $29 million. The Mariners sending somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 to $8 million annually from 2021 to 2023 would make this is a pretty reasonable deal for both sides, though it does lead to some questions about the Mets’ intentions, given both the other ways the club might have spent the money due to Cano and the fact that this trade is roughly salary neutral for the 2019 season, meaning that the Mets haven’t actually spent any more money yet.
Would they have been better off making the same salary commitment to A.J. Pollock, then signing a reasonably priced closer like David Robertson and keeping two of their best prospects? That’s the sort of question that comes with moves made by the Mets organization. Perhaps the club will now spend more money given that they’ve made two solid additions to the roster without adding any salary this season. According to Kiley McDaniel, the plan is to trade Noah Syndergaard — presumably to fill other holes cheaply — and then sign a free agent pitcher. That certainly doesn’t sound like a team getting ready to bust out after years of spending below their market.
As for second part, and arguably the more important part, of the trade, we see an elite reliever with four years of team control and a minimum salary in 2019 moved for a back-end top-100 prospect in first round pick Kelenic, a top-200 prospect in Justin Dunn, and a fungible reliever. The Mariners expressed resistance to the idea of trading Diaz earlier this offseason, but this is the sort of deal a rebuilding team should make given the lack of value their own team would receive on the mound in a losing season, and their need to replenish a depleted farm system.
This deal isn’t final yet. Will Trader Jerry continue his work on the farm? Will Brodie and Robbie reunite under the lights of the big city? Stay Tuned. We’ll have full trade analysis when the deal becomes official.
Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.