The Mets and Mariners have their deal.
A blockbuster that will bring Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the Mets for Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn and reliever Gerson Bautista was finalized Saturday night, leaving only physicals in the way of an official trade, according to industry sources.
As part of the deal, the Mariners will send $20 million to the Mets. Cano agreed to waive his no-trade clause on Saturday — a mere formality for a player who sources said desired a return to New York, where he began his major league career with the Yankees. If all medicals are in line, the trade is expected to become official on Monday.
The key to the deal from the Mets’ perspective is Diaz, a 24-year-old reliever who posted a 1.96 ERA and 57 saves in 2018 for the Mariners and is under club control for the next four seasons. But the 36-year-old Cano will be counted on to help boost a lineup that was among the least productive in the major leagues last season.
It’s a clear sign that new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen has sights set on a playoff run next season, even potentially at the expense of the Mets’ future.
Brodie Van Wagenen taking huge risk on Robinson Cano baggage
Kelenic, a 19-year-old outfielder, was the sixth-overall pick in last year’s draft, and organizational officials viewed him as a potential “five-tool” player who was on a fast track to the major leagues. Dunn, a 2016 first-round pick from Boston College, was the organization’s top pitching prospect.
Bruce and Swarzak have a combined $36 million remaining on their respective deals, help softening the blow of Cano’s contract. On that deal Cano has five years and $120 remaining. The framework of the deal was in place Thursday, but couldn’t be completed until MLB signed off on the $20 million headed to the Mets in the trade.
Cano doesn’t arrive without significant baggage: He served an 80-game suspension last season after testing positive for PEDs, and his sometimes lack of hustle on the base paths can test a manager’s patience. But the Mets believe there is enough remaining in his left-handed swing to take the gamble.
In 80 games last season, Cano slashed .303/.374/.471 with 10 homers and 50 RBIs. In addition to second base, it’s possible he will also see action at third and first.
Cano’s arrival most directly affects Jeff McNeil, the scrappy fan-favorite who was expected to start at second base next season. McNeil will likely be shifted into a utility role, in which he receives action at third and second base. It’s also possible the Mets could ask him to play first on a part-time basis, if needed.
Diaz is expected to bolster a bullpen that was among the worst in the major leagues last season, but the Mets also realize they need additional reinforcements and will likely try to add a proven setup option such as Andrew Miller, David Robertson or Joe Kelly.
Bruce and Swarzak were free-agent disappointments for the Mets who spent much of last season on the disabled list. Bruce has two years and $28 million remaining on his contract. Swarzak is owed $8 million for next season. Their inclusion in the deal will shed dollars from next season’s payroll, even with the addition of Cano and Diaz, the latter of which will receive just above the major league minimum.