If and when this deal goes down, which it sounds like it’ll be any minute, I’m sure you’ll hear from our Mets guys Clem and KFC, but I had to weigh in here from an outsider’s perspective. Both teams are stupid. They are.
If you’re a Mets fan, then you already knew that. Maybe Mariners fans already knew that, too. I don’t think Mariners fans quite think their organization is “stupid” so much as they think that they’re incapable of reaching the postseason any time soon, but if the two sentiments aren’t brothers then they’re cousins. Anyway, let’s take a look at this from both sides.
If you’re the Mets, you’re getting Robinson Cano, who is 36 years old and is still owed $24 million annually through 2023. That’s $120 million over the next five years AKA $120 million through his age-40 season. Cano’s defense has been on the decline since about 2012, but the Mets aren’t bringing him aboard for his defense. The second baseman’s offense really hasn’t taken a swan dive yet, but we also don’t know what a full season of Cano looks like without performance-enhancing drugs. But, to be fair, Cano hit .317 with an .860 OPS in 179 plate appearances after returning from his PED suspension. It’s not a huge sample size, but it’s worth taking a look at, and it was pretty damn good for whatever that’s worth to you.
By now, you know how good Edwin Diaz is. This past season was his coming out party, as the 24-year-old right-hander challenged K-Rod’s single season saves record in 2018, coming up a few saves short with a major league leading 57 saves, the second most saves in a single season ever. In the process of doing so, Diaz posted a 1.96 ERA, a 0.79 WHIP, which was second best in the majors, and a 15.22 K/9, which trailed only Josh Hader, Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances.
Here’s why I think both teams are stupid — I’ll start with the Mariners. Seattle is blowing it up, and that’s fine. If they don’t think they can contend with this group, then be my guest if that’s your assessment. But if you’re going to try to blow this thing up and rebuild for the future, then why are you using your greatest asset just to get rid of Cano’s contract? You mean to tell me that there’s NOBODY else in your entire organization that you could attach to Cano in order to get a team to bite on a deal that would include him? I find that incredibly hard to believe.
I’m not saying hang on to Diaz. Trade his ass. But when you do, fleece some team for a huge haul of prospects. We’ve seen closers several years older with fewer years of control fetch massive hauls on the open trade market in recent years. Diaz alone could land the Mariners not just one, but multiple blue chip prospects. And when the Mariners rid themselves of the remaining $120 million that’s owed to Cano, you know that they’re not then going to turn around and reinvest that into the team any time soon because they’re rebuilding. I understand not wanting to spend more money than you have to on a roster that you don’t think is going to contend for a postseason spot, but if the plan is to rebuild, then you need to use your most valuable assets to replenish your farm system.
With this deal, Seattle is clearly not doing that. They’re using their most valuable asset to free up money, which is great and all, but then you’re left with an even worse roster and no talent coming your way to build towards that bright future that you’re planning. Again, this is all under the assumption that the Mets are taking on most, if not all, of Cano’s contract, which is why Diaz would be included in the first place. Even if the Mets do get a prospect back, the return will pale in comparison to what Diaz alone would’ve gotten them.
There has to be a better way to unload Cano’s contract without also including Diaz. There has to be. You think Mitch Haniger is going to bring back a comparable haul to what Diaz would’ve had he been traded by himself? Fuck no. But that’s their next best asset to trade after Diaz is gone.
So, I think the Mariners are botching this because I have to believe there was another way to unload Cano’s contract, even if that meant eating a little bit of it while attaching a different player. And the Mets? I mean, the Mets have spent the last two years trying to assemble a team that would’ve been great in 2009. However, in 2019, these names just don’t carry the same juice. No pun intended. My apologies to Cano.
But hey, Diaz will be great in Queens, getting 30 save opportunities next year, maybe even less after they trade Noah Syndergaard. On the bright side, Diaz is under team control through 2022, which gives the Mets plenty of time to break one of the most exciting relievers in the game today.