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Mets Offseason Review: What if they chose the Indians’ deal over the Mariners’?

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 28: Closing pitcher Edwin Diaz #39 celebrates with Robinson Cano #22 of the Seattle Mariners after the Mariners defeated the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on April 28, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Mariners defeated the Indians 3-1. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 28: Closing pitcher Edwin Diaz #39 celebrates with Robinson Cano #22 of the Seattle Mariners after the Mariners defeated the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on April 28, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Mariners defeated the Indians 3-1. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The 2018-2019 offseason for the New York Mets got started with a blockbuster trade with the Seattle Mariners. What if instead of the M’s, the Mets made a big deal with the Cleveland Indians?

When the New York Mets acquired Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz from the Seattle Mariners, there wasn’t a lengthy buildup. We didn’t anticipate for days whether or not they were on the verge of a blockbuster. It kind of just became rumored and was all but done over the course of two days. It took a weekend to finalize before the pair officially became Mets.

I wonder, like most, if this was the big deal they should have gone with.

There have been plenty or Cleveland Indians trade rumors about how willing they are to sell one of their starting pitchers and shed some salary along with it. Both Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer were on the trade block. Either could have potentially been paired with Jason Kipnis or Edwin Encarnacion; the latter of which now plays for the Seattle Mariners following a salary swap deal the pair struck.

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The Mets never became a part of a deal like this with the Indians. They took their albatross contract already with Cano heading to Flushing.

There are things to like about both trades; real and fictional.

The deal they made with the Mariners gave them a solid veteran bat (Cano) and an affordable elite closer (Diaz). A hypothetical deal with the Indians would give them an ace for a few more years at a heftier price than Diaz while requiring them to take on Kipnis’ bad contract for only one year.

Between the two, I’m not sure which one I like best.

The problem with the deal the Mets did make is we’re almost guaranteed to see Cano waste a roster spot. I’m doubtful he keeps his ironman reputation intact over the next five years. As he nears 40, an injury is almost inevitable.

A deal for Kluber or Bauer with Kipnis is a short-term option. I assume they wouldn’t invite Kipnis back as there’s no obvious fit even now. Meanwhile, Kluber would probably be ready to ride off into the sunset when his contract ends. As for Bauer, he intends to play on one-year contracts for the rest of his career. I don’t want to mess with that insanity.

One thing we must weigh in these two deals is what the Mets were able to get rid of. They cleared Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak from the roster and books. They’re adding Cano for a discount rate this year while also employing one of the best closers in baseball.

I’m not so sure a trade with the Indians would be nearly as kind to the payroll. Cleveland isn’t going into a full rebuild. I’m not quite sure what it is they’re doing, but it’s not that. A deal with them would likely require the Mets to put Brandon Nimmo or Michael Conforto on the guillotine. With this in mind, I think it’s easy to see which team offered a better deal.

Next. Best and worst case scenarios for Robert Gsellman in 2019

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The key, when comparing these two deals, is what the Mets sacrificed. Jarred Kelenic may end up as a star, but that won’t happen for at least a few years. They managed to avoid subtracting anything significant from the big league roster. For that alone, I prefer the real life than the fantasy move.

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