The trade everyone’s been talking about all week has finally been approved, pending physicals, of course. The clearly-rebuilding Seattle Mariners have agreed to send veteran second baseman Robinson Cano and one of the best closers in baseball Edwin Diaz to the win-now-mode New York Mets. In exchange, they’ll receive $20 million to offset Cano’s remaining salary, as well as a cadre of players and prospects: outfielder Jay Bruce, relievers Anthony Swarzak and Gerson Bautista, and prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn.
But unless Kelenic and Dunn become superstars in the future, the obvious winners in this deal are the Mets, specifically because of Edwin Diaz. The 24-year-old All-Star is coming off a spectacular season, in which he posted a 1.96 ERA with 124 strikeouts over 73.1 innings in 73 games, the most innings and appearances by a closer. Even more impressive is his MLB-most 57 saves; no other pitcher had more than 43.
Cano, who played for the Yankees from 2005-2013, was open about his desire to return to New York, and the Mariners were so ready to say goodbye that they threw in $20 million just to sweeten the more sour end of this deal. Though the 36-year-old hit .303 with 10 homers and 50 RBIs this year, Cano spent half the season on the bench, suspended 80 games for PEDs. He’s owed $120 million over the next five years (the remainder of a 10-year, $240 million contract), but waived his no-trade clause in order for the deal to go through.
No matter how much the Mets gave up for Diaz (and Cano), they’re acquiring the best bullpen arm in baseball at a time when the closer market is bare. It’s a coup of which this Red Sox fan is very jealous, having watched soon-to-be-former-Sox closer Craig Kimbrel flounder for most of the season and postseason.
Photo: The Spokesman-Review