Mariners trade with Mets sending All-Stars Robinson Canó, Edwin Díaz to NY finally official
The rumors dominated baseball’s hot stove for an entire week. At long last, the talk between the Seattle Mariners and New York Mets has officially produced the biggest blockbuster of the offseason.
The biggest trade in a clear offseason rebuilding effort sees Seattle sending All-Stars Robinson Canó and Edwin Díaz to the Big Apple for a five-player return headlined by a pair of recent Mets first-round draft picks: 19-year-old outfielder Jarred Kelenic (No. 6 overall, 2018) and 23-year-old pitcher Justin Dunn (No. 19 overall, 2016). Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Mariners are also sending along $20 million to help cover the remaining five years of Canó’s massive contract.
#Mariners acquire Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, Gerson Bautista, Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn from New York-NL in exchange for Robinson Canó, Edwin Díaz and cash considerations.
— MarinersPR (@MarinersPR) December 3, 2018
For the Mariners, it was important enough to shed some of Canó’s $24 million yearly salary that they included Díaz, perhaps the best closer in the game who at all of 24 years old is coming off a year in which he matched the mark for second-most saves in a season ever.
Making that loss a little more palatable is the considerable impact the deal makes in the Mariners’ farm system, specifically with the acquisition of Kelenic and Dunn. Kelenic, who was the Mets’ No. 4 prospect, shared his reaction to the trade before it was officially announced Monday morning.
— Jarred Kelenic (@JKelenic_1019) December 3, 2018
The Mariners get some major league additions, too, in veteran slugger Jay Bruce, veteran reliever Anthony Swarzak, and 23-year-old reliever Gerson Bautista – though at the rate general manager Jerry Dipoto is making trades there are no guarantees all five players will remain with Seattle through the offseason. And to that end, Swarzak was rumored to be included in the trade sending All-Star shortstop Jean Segura to Philadelphia (though he wasn’t when the trade was completed Monday afternoon).
The inclusion of Bruce and Swarzak in the deal helps New York offset the incoming financial burden of Canó, especially Bruce. The 31-year-old outfielder is due $13 million each of the next two seasons and had a rough 2018 season, posting a slash line of just .223/.310/.370.
“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,” Dipoto said in a press release announcing the trade. “We view Kelenic as a true five-tool player with a very high ceiling. Dunn is another former first-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.”
Worth noting is that Canó waived a no-trade clause not only to return to New York, where he starred with the Yankees for the first nine seasons of his MLB career, but also to be reunited with new Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, a former sports agent who actually represented Canó when he signed the 10-year, $240 million contract to join the Mariners prior to the 2014 season.
In five years with Seattle, Canó made two All-Star teams and had a career year in 2016, hitting 39 homers, driving in 103 runs and posting a slash line of .298/.350/.533. He came to Seattle as the biggest free agent signing ever made by the Mariners, but his tenure will likely be remembered most for his 80-game suspension for the use of a banned diuretic that interrupted his 2018 campaign.
I want to thank the Seattle Mariners organization, the city of Seattle, & the fans who are some of the best in our game. 5 years ago, you welcomed me to your city and embraced me from day one. Playing for you was a privilege, & I’m grateful for your support throughout the years. pic.twitter.com/6PduRRv0aG
— Robinson Cano (@RobinsonCano) December 3, 2018
Díaz spent 2 1/2 seasons in the majors with the Mariners, jumping straight from Double-A to Seattle not long after being converted from a starter to reliever in 2016. He didn’t take long to assume the Mariners’ closer role and recorded 109 saves since his debut not even three years ago, which already ranks second in franchise history. He was named the 2018 Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year after finishing the year with 57 saves, 124 strikeouts, a 1.96 ERA and 0.79 WHIP over 73 appearances (73 1/3 innings).
I am grateful to the @Mariners organization for giving me the opportunity to start my career with them and for all those who believed in me. Many thanks to my coaches and my teammates. Seattle fans, thank you very much for supporting me. Blessings to all. #Grateful #ThankYouAll pic.twitter.com/Y92mdH0iWP
— Edwin Diaz (@EdiDiaz44) December 3, 2018
This is the third major trade of the offseason for Dipoto, who is reported to have a fourth to follow shortly with All-Star shortstop Jean Segura heading to Philadelphia. The Mariners GM previously sent ace James Paxton to the Yankees for three players, including New York’s top prospect in left-handed pitcher Justus Sheffield, and before that acquired speedy center fielder Mallex Smith as part of a three-player return from Tampa Bay for catcher Mike Zunino and outfielder Guillermo Heredia.
For a detailed look at the players acquired by the Mariners from the Mets for Canó and Díaz, visit this post.