The Seattle Mariners and New York Mets have been known to be working toward a trade that would send second baseman Robinson Cano back to the Big Apple. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the talks have “gained momentum” over the past day. Though nothing is gone, the expected trade would also see the Mariners send closer Edwin Diaz to the Mets:
Cano would presumably slot in at second base for the Mets. He’s coming off a season marred by suspension and injury, but one in which he still managed to post a 136 OPS+ in 80 games. Outside of last season, he’s consistently been a reliable presence in the lineup. From 2015-17, he averaged 156 appearances and a slash line of .289/.341/.478 with 28 home runs.
The Mariners are motivated to move Cano in part due to his contract. Cano is owed $24 million in each of the next five seasons — or $120 million total. Seattle’s previous management group signed him to a 10-year pact worth $240 million prior to the start of the 2014 season. It’s unclear how much of that remaining $120 million the Mariners will pay as part of the deal.
Tacking on Diaz should reduce that figure. An All-Star last season, he compiled a 1.96 ERA and led the majors with 57 saves. He’s under team control through the 2022 season, making him a potential long-term fit in the ninth inning for the Mets. The catch is that he’ll become eligible for arbitration after this coming season. Compiling saves is the only way relievers can make serious bucks before hitting the open market, so expect Diaz’s salary to shoot up soon.
In addition to financial breathing room, the Mariners are expected to receive at least a couple players. There have been rumors about outfielder-slash-first baseman Jay Bruce heading back to Seattle as salary ballast. He’s due $28 million over the next two seasons. Additionally, the Mets are expected to send along a couple prospects, with outfielder Jarred Kelenic and right-hander Justin Dunn being potential targets. It wouldn’t be too surprising to see the Mets send another controllable piece as well, albeit not to the level as the aforementioned prospects.
Kelenic was the No. 6 pick in June’s draft. He’s considered New York’s third-best prospect, according to MLB.com. Their report portrays him as a well-rounded prospect who has average or better tools across the board. He won’t turn 20 until next July, so he’s at least a little ways off. But in time he could develop into a quality starting outfielder.
Dunn, meanwhile, was ranked fourth in the Mets system by MLB.com. He was the 19th pick in 2016, and could reach the majors as soon as next season. Dunn has a plus fastball and a pair of average or better breaking balls. He needs to continue to refine his changeup and command — neither of which is surprising given he spent most of his collegiate career in relief.
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