The Brodie Van Wagenen era has officially begun with an ear-shattering bang.
The New York Mets rookie general manager made it clear that he intended to be aggressive this offseason. In his efforts to put a winning team on the field in 2019, Van Wagenen flashed that aggressiveness by acquiring All-Stars Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz from the Seattle Mariners.
For the Mets, this is a huge move that fills multiple holes. While Cano is aging, he is still a terrific hitter and should be a good middle-of-the-lineup presence. The real prize of this deal is Diaz, who is arguably the best closer in baseball and will provide some long-awaited stability in the back of the Mets bullpen. At 24, Diaz will be under cheap team control for the next four seasons.
While partially having Cano’s contract for the next five seasons will undoubtedly be a burden, the Mets likely see it as a necessary evil, as they were able to dump the contracts of Bruce and Swarzak, clearing both a path to first base for the promising Peter Alonso and a spot in the bullpen for another high-profile reliever, respectively.
As for Seattle, while trading a reliever of Diaz’s caliber is a tough pill to swallow, they were able to create some long-term payroll relief by dumping Cano’s massive contract. Bruce and Swarzak’s contracts will be easy to manage through what should be a lengthy rebuild.
In addition to ridding themselves of Cano’s deal, the Mariners also acquired some top end talent from New York. The big prize is Kelenic, the sixth overall pick in last year’s draft, who was regarded as one of the best pure hitters in that class and should move quickly through the minors. Dunn had strong season between Single and Double A last year, and has the makings of a middle-of-the-rotation starter, while Bautista is a live arm who could become a late-inning reliever if he refines his command.
After already acquiring Mallex Smith and Justus Sheffield in earlier trades, Seattle is building a promising young core for the future.
With this move, the Hot Stove has officially been lit and will only intensify as we get closer to the MLB Winter Meetings. Both teams appear to be far from done, as the Mariners will look to continue their rebuild, while the Mets will continue their aggressive approach to revamp their roster. Buckle up, folks.
Photo: The Seattle Times