The Mets have made their first big move of the Brodie Van Wagenen era with the blockbuster trade for second baseman Robinson Cano and closer Edwin Diaz. Unquestionably, adding these two players will push the Mets closer to contention in 2019.
To get those players, the Mets had to pay a steep price. In addition to dumping the salaries of Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak, the team also parted with top prospects Jarred Kelenic, Justin Dunn, and Gerson Bautista. It was a hefty price to pay even with the Mariners kicking in $20 million to offset Cano’s salary.
The trade has already elicited many strong opinions throughout talk radio and social media, and in this Roundtable, our writers offer theirs:
John Edwards – Creative
Mets pick up a top 5 infield bat at a discount, a top 5 closer at a discount, lose some cumbersome contracts and a positional mismatch, all at the cost of a couple top 100 prospects. Given the talent that they gave up compared to what they got, it’s a win for the Mets. Yes, they’ll probably miss Kelenic/Dunn down the road, and probably Bautista – but that this was all that they had to give up for what they got, it definitely feels like a discount for the Mets. Sure, you can probably improve the team similarly on the FA market, but that doesn’t get rid of Bruce, and given the Mets’ apparently payroll limitations, I’m willing to pat BVG on the back for his creativity. Thunderous start to the offseason.
John Flanigan – The Beginning
I personally would chalk this trade up as a win for the Mets. With his first deal of the offseason, Brodie Van Wagenen has managed to shed the contracts of both Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak while acquiring a top closer and star second baseman. Obviously the loss of Dunn and Kelenic may hurt the organization down the road. But moving forward, the 2019 New York Mets are a better team with Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano. With that being said, Van Wagenen’s aggressiveness and creativity cannot stop here. This is just the beginning, and there are plenty more moves to be made to help build this team into a contender.
Michael Mayer – Continue to Add
The Mets certainly got better in the short-term with the addition of Cano and Diaz. The issues arise when you look at the potential for the Mets having $20 million wrapped up in a 39/40 year-old Cano. And then the amount of value the Mets gave up, Jarred Kelenic is seen as many as the highest-ceiling Mets prospect though baseball people are less enthused about Justin Dunn. You would’ve thought the Mets had more leverage given Cano’s no-trade clause and want to return to New York. Perhaps the Mets were concerned with Diaz going to Philadelphia, they were showing serious interest in acquiring the elite closer with Jean Segura. Overall, this deal signals the Mets wanting to win now and they have to back it up by continuing to add more talent like a catcher, more high-end relievers, right-handed bat and depth in general.
Jack Ramsey – Undoubtedly Better
There was a lot of question as to whether Brodie Van Wagenen was the right move for the Mets this off-season, but so far, hes proven to be the right guy for the job. Just over a month in, hes already put his stamp on the league, trading for a dominant closer in Edwin Diaz and perennial All-Star caliber second baseman in Robinson Cano. Although the price may have seemed steep, the Major League roster is undoubtedly better, and prospects are just that: prospective major leaguers. Although Jarred Kelenic has a 5-tool ceiling, there is still a lot of time for a 19 year-old to flame out or for unknown variables to effect his playing ability.
The reality is the amount of teams in on Edwin Diaz likely drove up the asking price, and the Mets had to get their man, considering divisional rival Philadelphia was also in on Diaz. Whether or not this trade ends in the Mets favor remains to be seen, and likely hinges on the production on Cano and how Kelenic pans out. As for 2019 and 2020, the Mets are undoubtedly better and have put themselves in position to compete for a NL East title if they continue with their off-season plan.
Sam Lebowitz – Question Marks Remain
Trades are often difficult to judge in a vacuum, and this trade is no different. What we know is that the Mets are a better team than they were a week ago. We also know that their farm system is significantly weaker without its 3rd and 4th ranked prospects. While I don’t consider myself a prospect hugger, I am rather high on both Kelenic and Dunn. Kelenic is the highest-upside athlete in the entire system and Dunn is knocking on the door to the majors and helps our pitching depth. I feel bad about trading them without significant compensation. In simplest terms, the Mets acquired a 36-year-old and a reliever for two former first-rounders. Critics of this trade will make note of how uneven that seems. Yet, the 36-year-old is still a capable everyday starting player and the reliever might very well be the game’s best closer, and there was legitimate competition to acquire him. There’s simply too many question marks to properly evaluate this trade at this moment. I’ll withhold any proper evaluation until we see how Diaz and Cano’s tenure as Mets go, and vice-versa with Dunn and Kelenic. We need to see what further moves the Mets make this offseason. They should not be done yet. Although, I will say this: with the talent they gave up, the Mets should have been able to recoup more of Cano’s salary. That hurts.
Matt Mancuso – Torn
There’s a lot to unpack from this trade. Personally, I’m torn about this deal. I love getting Cano and Diaz, yet the prospect package we parted with seems a little bit heavy. The early returns of this deal look promising; however it’s very possible that in the coming years, this trade could be called the Jarred Kelenic deal, rather than the Robinson Cano trade.
Marshall Field – Win Now
Just over a month in his new role as GM, Brodie Van Wagenen has shown Mets fans he is here to produce a winner now. Like the Cano/Diaz trade or not, the initiatives and creativity of the trade are undeniable. The Mets are a better team today then they were one week ago, and although there is much more work to be done, Van Wagenen seems unafraid to stir the pot and do what is necessary to make his new team a winner. Many will not like some of the trades, signings, or releases he makes (as the Cano trade clearly shows), but as a Met fan it is comforting to know there is someone at the helm whose purpose is clear…winning and winning now. The deal with Seattle clearly demonstrates that.
John Sasso – Ouch
On Cano/Diaz deal…ouch. Certainly makes the lineup better in 2019. Diaz improves the bullpen. I like Cano, but is it realistic to think he ages like Beltre? The cost for Diaz was in line with similarly elite controllable closers (Giles, Miller), but I can’t buy in. Dunn was on pace to play a role on the 2019 team, with as a spot starter or in the bullpen. Fact is Drew Gagnon is still around and as of now will be counted on at some point. I would definitely prefer Dunn get those innings. And Kelenic; well we just witnessed an athletic OF climb from Low A to the majors and do so convincingly. Kelenic’s status definitely had some helium, and I don’t think the Mets maximized it’s value. Is the team better in the short term, yeah, but in it of itself this isn’t a move that moves the needle enough to overcome what is becoming baseballs most competitive division. There needs to be more. Not just tweaks, but significant additions are still needed.
Tim Ryder – Home Run
Between the monies and contracts being offset for Cano and the level of quality Edwin Diaz brings to the back-end of the bullpen, it leaves the 2019 Mets in a better position to win. Sure, losing Kelenic and Dunn stings, but Diaz appears to be worth it. And landing Cano at a discounted rate at the expense of Bruce and Swarzak is a home run in my book.
Dilip Sridhar – Torn
I’m torn on this. Kelenic and Dunn are two good prospects and I really believe Kelenic will be a very good player. That said, Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz will both be good players for the Mets and Jay Bruce is no longer one. The Mets essentially added 6-7 wins to their 2019 team not factoring other parts of this deal. Parts like McNeil replacing Frazier and Peter Alonso now being free to play. This move makes sense if the Mets are all in so the next step is to keep the pedal on the gas. Sign Harper, sign Miller, and get a catcher.
Jack Hendon – More Moves to Be Made
Diaz and Cano make the team enormously better, but it doesn’t resolve enough issues to render the Mets a front runner in the division. Dealing Kelenic and Dunn – both of whom were poised to move up our rankings/MLB rankings in 2019 – makes it harder to acquire someone like Kluber, for example… at least not without pulling prospects from a Syndergaard trade. If the organization doesn’t use the financial scraps from Swarzak, Bruce, and Cano’s $20MM to sign quality relievers and either a catcher or outfielder, this trade is largely for naught.
Josh Finkelstein– Intrigued
I am quite in the middle on this trade, to be honest. I’m not a fan of giving up Jarred Kelenic as I honestly believe he is going to be a star in the league one day. I was pretty much willing to part with any one prospect other than him. However, Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz certainly make this team better than they were over a week ago. I am interested to see what Brodie Van Wagenen plans to do the rest of the offseason. This can’t be the only big move of the offseason, but this team did get significantly better by making this deal. I like the aggressiveness, even if this trade might appear a bit reckless with it.
John Sheridan – Mistake
There are many, many things wrong with this trade including the fact the Mets margin of error to build their team now and in the future has tightened significantly.
This is a win-now trade, which only works if you win-now. As constituted, at best, this is a Wild Card contender. This is also a team who still may not be willing to spend like such a team, and who lost two major assets to accomplish that.
More than that, Cano is due $20 million per season in the years Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and even Diaz hit free agency. Essentially, this means, this is a two-year window, especially with the Mets believing Cano may only have two good years remaining.
With that in mind, this trade makes zero sense. You are still built on starting pitching and pitching is fragile, especially this group. Yet, somehow in this deal, the Mets traded Dunn, who was their best starting pitcher in the minors last season and was expected to contribute in 2019.
Considering how fragile the Mets rotation is and with Jason Vargas already slotted in the rotation, the team is one injury away from potential disaster. And that’s assuming they don’t trade Noah Syndergaard. That may not lead to a playoff spot regardless of how good Cano and Diaz are. That is partially due to the Phillies following this trade by obtaining Jean Segura and their hot pursuit of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.
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So what do you think? Are you for or against this trade? Perhaps you have more of a wait-and-see approach. We look forward to continuing this discussion in the comment section.