Robinson Cano (left) and Edwin Diaz

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Brown: Why Mets Fans Should Be Thrilled With Cano, Diaz Trade

New Mets GM Already Starting Off With A Bang

December 03, 2018 - 2:28 pm
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By Jake Brown

The Mets mean business this offseason under new GM Brodie Van Wagenen. They made a blockbuster deal to acquire All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano, and more importantly, a closer that put up historic numbers last season in Edwin Diaz. 

Per usual when it comes to the Mets, there was a lot of pessimism from a lot of the fan base and some reporters as well. While it's completely understandable based on the Mets track record in the past, Mets fans should actually be thrilled with this deal...and here's why. 

Mariners Went 66-0 In 2018 When Diaz Entered Game With A Lead...And He's So Cheap 

First off, many are looking at this deal from the angle of Cano is old and expensive, when they should be looking at Diaz first. He isn't the neighborhood name like Craig Kimbrel or Andrew Miller that many believe the Mets could have went after in free agency. Most people don't know much about him at all. Look at the guy's numbers from last season...and over his three big league seasons. He was by far the best closer in the game in 2018. Saving 57 games is sensational in itself...but putting that with a 1.96 ERA, a .79 WHIP, to go along with 124 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings pitched, and just 41 hits given up, is unreal. The Mariners went...check this...66-0 (!!!) when Diaz came into the game with a lead. The Mariners went 89-73 last season, and Diaz was a big reason why. He will keep fans heart rates much lower late in games this season, after dealing with Jeurys Familia seemingly always putting runners on base. 

Also, Diaz is basically free for the Mets. He's under team control through 2022 and isn't arbitration eligible until after next season. He made just $571,000 in 2018. Diaz is going to cost the Mets far less than if they went out and signed someone like Kimbrel to a long-term deal. Not paying a dominant closer somewhat offsets some of the money they are paying Cano in this trade. It also gives them a bit of flexibility to try and get a reliever like Miller or Adam Ottavino in free agency to get the ball to Diaz in the 9th inning. Having a great bullpen is so essential in the game today with starters never going as long as they used to, and the bullpen plagued the Mets last season. The addition of Diaz alone improves this team.

Cano Still Puts Up Numbers, Still Plays Every Game, Is Probably The Best 2nd Baseman In Franchise History 

What gets overlooked about Cano is that he goes out there and plays nearly all 162 games. In his 14 MLB seasons, he's only played less than 150 games his rookie season (132) and last year (80), after serving his PED suspension. He came back from that suspension and hit .303. The guy averages 24 homers and 96 RBI a year. That is by far better than any second baseman the Mets have ever had. We're talking about a franchise whose best second baseman was Edgardo Alfonzo. I love Fonzie, but let's be real, he's nowhere near a Hall of Famer. If Cano doesn't get suspended last year, you're looking at a Hall of Famer. Sure, he's 36 and maybe the last few years of this contract won't pay off, but the goal is for him to put up his career numbers in 2019 and 2020. Cano has showed no signs of slowing down just yet, and instantly makes the Mets offense better. He also is a smooth fielder, who doesn't commit many errors. With all the injuries the Mets have suffered in the past, they have a chance to pencil Cano's name into the lineup at second base at least 150 times this season. That's encouraging. 

Who Knows What Kelenic Will Turn Out To Be

Do you know how many Mets prospects haven't panned out? Lastings Milledge, Fernando Martinez, Alex Escobar, Bill Pulsipher...the list goes on and on. Why are Mets fans going crazy about a 19-year-old in Jarred Kelenic? The soonest Kelenic would be in Queens would be 2021, and who knows what you have in him by then? You hope that Michael Conforto continues to excel and he holds on to one of the outfield spots, and you hope Brandon Nimmo pans out (if they don't trade him). That's two starting outfielders right there. It amazes me at the backlash they are getting over trading a prospect that is a complete unknown. He didn't tear the cover off the ball in his first year in the minor leagues. He hit .286 in 56 games with six homers and 42 RBI. Sure, it's way too early to judge any of his stats at this point, but he didn't dominate his first year. Trading away a single prospect isn't destroying your franchise.

Justin Dunn could also end up being great, but is still an unknown. That one means less since the Mets have pitching right now. Gerson Bautista we have seen already in the big leagues, and was never considered a top prospect. Mets fans can 100% live with trading both of those guys. 

Oh yeah, and they also got rid of Jay Bruce's contract, which should have fans ecstatic. 

Win Now

If you're a Mets fan and you're not sick of losing, you're nuts. It's been far too long without this team winning a World Series, and the goal should be to win one in 2019. With the starting pitching they have, the stud closer they have, and the young promising bats in Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Nimmo, and Peter Alonso on the way...go after it. Stop worrying about 2021 and 2022 and beyond and worry about 2019. Prospects come and go. There's a draft every year. There's new kids that can hit a baseball every year. They can trust their new scouting department to take care of the future down the road. Let Van Wagenen be aggressive and try and turn this ship around from a losing culture to a winner. The Mets just got an All-Star infielder and last year's best closer in the game. Be happy. Be optimistic. Sandy Alderson almost never took these risks. 

What's Next?

Van Wagenen is far from finished.  This team badly needs to go out and get a starting catcher. They can try and sign Yasmani Grandal or Wilson Ramos, or they can try and trade for someone like Francisco Cervelli. J.T. Realmuto likely will cost them too much. 

They also should go get another outfielder. With Yoenis Cespedes likely out for the first half of the season, the Mets got to get someone. Their starting outfield right now looks like Nimmo, Juan Lagares, and Conforto. They need to go out and get someone, whether it's A.J. Pollock or Hunter Pence or even someone serviceable who wouldn't cost them much like Rajai Davis. They need someone who can play five games a week until Cespedes returns. 

They will also need more bullpen help as stated earlier. They could really use a strong setup man like Miller, who also is a lefty. 

It wouldn't hurt to get another starting pitcher as well. They don't need an ace, but a 4th or 5th starter would go a long ways to solidifying the starting five along with Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zach Wheeler, and Steven Matz...assuming they don't trade one of them. Someone like J.A. Happ or even Wade Miley or Doug Fister would do. 

You can follow Jake on Twitter @JakeBrownRadio.