The Seattle Mariners have traded All-Star closer Edwin Dìaz and eight-time All-Star second baseman Robinson Canò to the New York Mets as part of a massive seven player deal on Monday.
The Mets will send veterans Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak to Seattle along with three prospects, outfield Jarred Kelenic, and right-handed pitchers Justin Dunn and Gerson Bautista.
“This trade bolsters our player development system with the additions of Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn, while also providing immediate impact to our Major League club in Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak and Gerson Bautista,” Mariners G.M. Jerry Dipoto said in a statement. “We view Kelenic as a true 5-tool player with a very high ceiling. Dunn is another former 1st round draft pick, who we think has a bright future on our pitching staff. Bruce and Swarzak both bring proven production in the field and a veteran presence in our clubhouse. Bautista has demonstrated an impressive high-velocity pitch mix.”
Kelenic, 19, is the prized piece in Seattle's haul. He was the sixth overall pick in June's MLB Draft and was ranked as the No. 4 prospect in the Mets' system by Baseball America and No. 3 by MLB Pipeline. Dunn, 23, is rated as the Mets’ No. 5 prospect by Baseball America and No. 4 by MLB Pipeline and was the 19th overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft.
Canò, 36, had to waive his no-trade clause for the deal to be consummated. However, the agreement allows Canò to return to New York, where he spent the first nine years of his career as a member of the Yankees. Additionally, the Mets new General Manager, Brodie Van Wagenen, was Canò's agent when he signed the 10-year, $240 million deal with Seattle in 2013.
Additionally, the Mariners taking on the contracts of Bruce, 31, and Swarzak, 33, help offset the remaining five years and $120 million remaining on Canò's deal. Bruce has two years, $28 million remaining on his contract. Swarzak is owed $8.5 million in the only remaining year of his deal. They're also reportedly sending $20 million in cash to the Mets to help offset some of Cano's remaining contract.
The trading of a star young closer in Dìaz, 24, is the most difficult part for the Mariners to swallow. The team converted Dìaz from a starter to the bullpen in 2016 and he rose quickly through the team's farm system as his fastball regularly peaked out over 100 miles per hour.
He made the All-Star team for the first time last summer and led the league in saves with 57 and posted a 1.96 ERA in 73 appearances. He struck out 124 batters in 73 1/3 innings pitched. The Mariners were 66-0 in games Diaz entered with a lead.
However, with the Mariners fully intent on punting the 2019 and possibly 2020 seasons in a roster reset, the reality is a closer isn't going to be vitally important to the team's long term plans and Diaz is likely their best trade asset. By the time the team would hypothetically be competitive again in 2021, Diaz will already be in his arbitration years and close to reaching free agency.
The Mariners may have been able to command even more in a trade for Dìaz as a standalone asset. However, tethering Canò to the deal allows the team to get out from under the remaining five years of his contract and potentially add some more long term flexibility. The Mariners are thought to be picking up a sizable portion of Canò's remaining contract as part of the deal agreed upon on Friday.
Kelenic played only in rookie ball leagues after being drafted by the Mets in June. He appeared in a total of 56 games, posting a .286 batting average with 10 doubles, six triples and six home runs in 220 at-bats.
Dunn split time between High-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton last season in the Mets system. He was promoted to Double-A after posting a 2.36 ERA with 51 strikeouts in 45 2/3 innings pitched in nine starts. He started 15 games in Double-A with a 4.22 ERA, 105 strikeouts in 89 2/3 innings pitched.
Bautista, 23, appeared in five games for the Mets in 2018. He posted an 0-1 record with a 12.46 ERA, allowing six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings pitched with three strikeouts, five walks and two home runs allowed. In 31 games for Triple-A Las Vegas, Bautista posted a 3-1 record with three saves and a 5.22 ERA in 39 2/3 innings pitched.
Since the end of the season, the Mariners have now traded away Canò, Dìaz, Alex Colomé, James Paxton, Mike Zunino and Guillermo Heredia. Additionally, Nelson Cruz and Denard Span are free agents and wouldn't appear to factor into the plans of a team looking to rebuild its roster. Jean Segura is reportedly close to being sent to the Philadelphia Philies as well.
May the last one in Seattle turn out the lights. The overhaul is well underway.
Photo Credit: CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 28: Closing pitcher Edwin Dìaz #39 celebrates with Robinson Canò #22 of the Seattle Mariners after the Mariners defeated the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on April 28, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Mariners defeated the Indians 3-1. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)