The New York Mets new sports agent turned General Manager didn’t waste a lot of time before letting the city know he was here now. Brodie Van Wegenen has reportedly traded for All Star Closer Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano in exchange for two former first round picks, Jay Bruce, and a couple other pitchers.
In my opinion, this is a great trade…for the Mariners. The Mariners have the longest playoff drought of any team in baseball, and the last several years have seemingly seem them stuck in the middle of really rebuilding and trying to go for it. General Manager Jerry Dipoto likes to make deals – but you end up with a blend of good core players and aging veterans. In 2018 the team started out strong before slowly and painfully fading down the stretch and losing the second wild card position to the plucky Oakland A’s.
By trading Robinson Cano after trading James Paxton last week to the Yankees, it is clear that the Mariners are entering full rebuild mode. They need it – as they entered 2018 with the worst farm system in baseball. Now they get several top prospects and get to dump the aging Cano.
For the Mets, we will see how this deal pans out. While the Mariners did kick in around $20M to cover the reaming $100M or so left on Cano’s contract, let’s not forget that Cano is 36 AND just coming off a PED suspension. That seems like a very bad combination on the surface, but not if Cano can make a difference in 2019.
Let us not forget that the Mets made the World Series with this core of pitching (minus outcast son Matt Harvey) in 2015. Jacob Degrom won the Cy Young Award this season, Steven Matz, Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard all turned in pretty reliable seasons as well. If all perform where they should – this could easily once again be a formidable National League rotation. That core of four even all made 25 starts for the Mets, the first time the Mets have had 4 starters make at least 25 starts since that National League Pennant team of 2015.
Before you start popping champagne for the Mets though…I hate this deal. Deals made for the press or to make a point rarely work out for the teams involved. Albert Pujols deal in Anaheim, the Blue Jays big grade back in 2015, the Padres Winter of 2016, the Marlins run a few years before that, etc.. Brodie has an uphill battle – many in the industry feel his job ascendance is more a result of is inclusion in the good ole boy network of Mets ownership than truly being the best person for the job.
Adding an aging veteran who will cost a cost-conscious team a significant commitment in money and time seems like a strange way to get things started. Division rivals the Atlanta Braves made a big splash by signing Josh Donaldson – but signing a 32 year old to a 1 year deal is a far cry from trading for Cano. Yes – getting Edwin Diaz is a big win – but the Mets used two closers last season with just fine results and common sense dictates that a closer is only worth it when provided with a lead to close out. Can the Mets do that in 2019?