Robinson Cano trade grades: Mets are swinging for the fences; Mariners get a ‘C+’ for their rebuilding effort
MLB 

With the long-awaited trade between the Seattle Mariners and New York Mets finally agreed upon, it’s time to break down all of the moves and grade the trade for each team. As with any trade in baseball, it will be a few seasons before we can accurately judge. But for now, we’ll take a look at the current players included in this blockbuster trade.

The Mets are sending veteran outfielder Jay Bruce, relievers Anthony Swarzak and Gerson Bautista and top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn in exchange for 36-year-old Robinson Cano, closer Edwin Diaz and $20 million to help offset the remaining cost of Cano’s contract. The trade is contingent upon the players passing their physical exams, and the deal could be announced as soon as Monday.

Led by Jerry Dipoto, the Mariners have hastened their rebuild by ridding themselves of much of Cano’s 10-year, $240 million deal (which was negotiated by former CAA agent and now-Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen) and adding a couple of prospects. On the other side of the trade, the Mets get a great closer in Diaz and a veteran second baseman in Cano. 

New York Mets trade grade: B-

Receive:

  • Robinson Cano
  • Edwin Diaz
  • $20 million to offset Cano’s remaining salary

This trade is a sign that the Mets appear to be going for it. With a few more big-time acquisitions this offseason, whether it’s via trade or free agency, they could seriously be a contending team in 2019. They’ve got a long way to go, but this wasn’t too bad of a start for first-year GM Van Wagenen. There are reports that the Mets are already trying to get Corey Kluber from Cleveland, so this trade seems to be a decent start for the Mets who will be trying to compete in what looks to be a loaded National League East next season. 

Cano, who was suspended for 80 games for PEDs, hit .303 with 10 home runs and 50 RBI in 80 games last season. While the last three years of his contract (roughly $85 million) may be problematic as he defense regresses, the 36-year-old and eight-time All-Star can still prove a quality bat for the Mets lineup in 2019, at least.

One of the Mets’ top priorities for 2019 was rebuilding the bullpen and getting Diaz is a great start. The 24-year-old tied for the second-most saves in a season in MLB history in 2018 with 57. Diaz posted a 1.96 ERA with 124 strikeouts over 73 1/3 innings in his second full season as closer, with the Mariners going 66-0 in games he entered with a lead. He’s under team control through 2022 and he doesn’t become arbitration eligible until after next season. Diaz made just $571,000 in 2018.

In this trade, the Mets were also are able to rid the salaries of Bruce, who is owed $28 million over the next two years, and Swarzak, who is in the final year of his two-year, $14 million deal, onto the Mariners’ payroll.

Seattle Mariners trade grade: C+

Receive:

  • Jay Bruce
  • Anthony Swarzak
  • Gerson Bautista
  • Justin Dunn
  • Jarred Kelenic

The Mariners, who finished 89-73 this past season, are currently in a complete rebuild since Dipoto’s goal is to get a younger roster so that they can build toward a postseason push for 2020-21 and beyond. Seattle has gone 17 years since its last postseason appearance, the longest drought in North American professional sports. Dipoto already dealt left-hander ace James Paxton to the Yankees, catcher Mike Zunino to the Rays and reliever Alex Colome to the White Sox.

The Mariners are getting two of the Mets’ top prospects in this deal along with right-handed reliever Bautista.

Kelenic, the Mets’ No. 3 prospect, was the sixth overall pick in the MLB Draft last June and is ranked as the No. 62 in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline, while Dunn is No. 4 for the Mets (top pitching prospect) and 89th overall. Kelenic at 19-years-old, hit .286/.371/.468 with five homers and 33 RBIs in 44 games in Rookie League ball. Dunn at 23-years-old, went 8-8 with a 3.59 ERA in 24 starts between Class A-Advanced and Double-A last year and is the Mets’ top pitching prospect.

Bruce and Swarzak are mostly part of this trade as Cano’s salary offsets. But Bruce may be the one to land on the Mariners’ 2019 opening day roster. Bruce is a left-handed power hitter in decline who is owed $13 million in each of the next two seasons. The 31-year-old would probably see most of his time at designated hitter playing for an American League team. Swarzak pitched only 26 1/3 innings in an injury-plagued 2018, and is owed $8 million in 2019, his final year under contract.

One thing’s for sure when it comes to Seattle, this trade is only the start for them. There’s definitely going to be more to come, and additional players who could be included in future trades this offseason include Jean Segura, Kyle Seager and Dee Gordon.

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