Coutinho: The Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz Trade Makes Total Sense

I know that the media and Mets Twitter have come out and trashed this proposed deal deal bringing Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to Flushing but I totally understand it and love the fact that Brodie Van Wagenen is not afraid of the backlash he knew would surface as this deal was being negotiated.

The one thing I keep hearing is he is doing Robinson Cano a “favor” and I have to laugh. I like the fact that this is a man who knows Robinson Cano as well as anybody and I think that is a huge advantage here. In a nutshell, he is getting two All-Stars in exchange for three prospects plus ridding himself of the contracts of Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak. Even if the money coming to the Mets is less than expected, this deal pretty much makes Cano’s  2019 salary a wash.

And then we hear the word prospects and I really believe the media and casual fan does not realize how these deals are made. They are complicated and from what I was told, the Mets were asked to protect two players from this deal.  They chose Peter Alonso and Andres Gimenez. After talking with scouts, I understood the attractive qualities that Jarred Kelenic brings to the table, but we are forgetting that we only see the numbers. Mets scouts saw them every day and to a man, scouts always tell me that they evaluate the players when nobody is watching which tells a lot about the prospect’s commitment to his craft.

And these lists change at a moment’s notice–Just 12 months ago where was Dominic Smith in relation to Peter Alonso? Was Jeff McNeil even in the plans? And a few short years ago, weren’t we all told Rafael Montero was a much better prospect than Jacob deGrom? Even the Yankees soured on Justus Sheffield and made the decision to move him for an established starter.

As for Cano, nobody knows him better than Brodie Van Wagenen and I will tell you this–he will be super motivated because he will be in total view of the organization that decided not to pay him and gave that money to Jacoby Ellsbury. Plus he has the chance to get the Mets back to the playoffs.

In Diaz, the Mets get a top three closer that you could argue was the best in baseball last year. And with financial control which makes me laugh how many wanted to snare one of top closers in free agency. That is so short-sighted because Diaz comes with a three year window for arbitration which -could become costly. However, those will be one year commitments, not a long-term guaranteed contract.

Yes, years four and five of Cano’s contract could be costly in terms of production, but if you think these Mets are not better than last year’s version of the team–then you are just not paying attention. Cano will be a 20 homer, 100 RBI guy and Diaz a lights out closer while the team still has free agent money it had allocated available because of the Bruce and Swarzak portion of the deal.

I like the fact the Mets new general manager knew this could be criticized but really believed in it. It indicates a real culture change inside the Mets organization. And this is not the end of the offseason. They will add a catcher, another bat, and more help in the bullpen. I also firmly believe the starting staff will remain intact.

Make no mistake–I liked what I heard about Kelenic but as one scout told me, he is at least two years away from the major league level and the time is now with this rotation that could be the best in baseball from top to bottom.  When the Mets traded for both Mike Piazza and Al Leiter they gave up talent–Preston Wilson and AJ Burnett–who became solid players, but the former two players won a pennant.

You simply can’t hold on to all your prospects, but the key is knowing which ones to deal and which ones to keep. In the mid ’80s, Frank Cashen traded phenoms like Floyd Youmans, Rick Ownbey, and Herm Winningham but knew which ones to keep. And some were not as highly regarded as the names I just mentioned. I am talking about guys like Lenny Dykstra and Kevin Mitchell–who were lower on the prospect list but high on the will to win.

I know I will be get criticized for my take on this deal, but that’s fine. Much like Van Wagenen I never swing at a pitch in the dirt–nothing good can come of it. But mark my words–when this offseason is done, the Mets won’t be talking about “Meaningful September Aspirations” as much as their goal to play “all or nothing late October Baseball” and Brodie Van Wagenen is the right man to be at the controls to get to that finish line.

About Rich Coutinho 14 Articles
Rich Coutinho has been a Met beat reporter since 1984 working at ABC Radio, WFAN, ESPN Radio, and SNY.tv. He is the author of Press Box Revolution as well as an upcoming book on the Miracle Mets which will hit the stores in April of 2019. He lives in Rye, New York.