Jarred Kelenic rises to #4 on MLB pipeline to the chagrin of Mets fans everywhere.
The infamous seven-player trade was finalized on December 3, 2018. Had Díaz performed anywhere close to decent, then perhaps this trade would not continue to trigger Mets fans to this day.
In his first major transaction, and fresh off the hiring process, the new Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen dealt two of the organization’s top-100 prospects, two right-handed relievers from their bullpen, and OF Jay Bruce to the Seattle Mariners.
In return, the Mets received 2B Robinson Canó, $20 million toward his remaining 5-year, $120 million, and RHP Edwin Díaz who was coming off a career year in 2018.
Though the trade was always tainted with skepticism, it did highlight the sharp contrast to the more steady-handed approach of his predecessor, Sandy Alderson while underscoring Van Wagenen’s commitment to building a postseason contender.
Let’s rewind for a moment: When Van Wagenen said, “I’m willing to fail at the risk of being successful,” during the introductory press conference to welcome Canó and Díaz to the organization, I doubt he foresaw how true his words would turn out be true – and not for the good.
Fans, on the other hand, always saw how flawed the deal was because of what it did to their infield alignment by pushing Jeff McNeil out of the everyday second base job. Now everyone knows better – The Mets got fleeced.
Although both teams dumped a significant amount of salary on each other (With the Mets swapping Bruce and Swarzak’s contracts for Canó’s, plus $20 million cash), the Mariners came out ahead.
That brutal reminder was once again given to Mets fans this past week when it was announced that Kelenic had risen to #4 on MLB’s pipeline heading into the 2021 season.
At the time of the exchange, the Mets saw the deal as an ‘all-in’ move that would ignite the fanbase and help them contend. Granted, Díaz was then considered a true prize: touted for his 100 mph fastball, a wicked breaking ball, 1.96 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 124 strikeouts through 73.1 innings and a league-leading 57 saves in 2018.
He was also a 2018 AL All-Star, Mariano Rivera AL Reliever of the Year, the Mariner’s Team MVP, and he won 4 AL Reliever of the Month awards throughout the same season.
Unfortunately, Díaz never regained his all-star form, and Canó’s production at the plate never compensated for his struggles (which albeit they were never meant to).
Ultimately, the Mets never benefited from any of that #filthy on a consistent basis despite a few bright spots spread throughout his 2020 campaign. And unless he returns to the kind of pitcher he was in Seattle, this one uncomfortable fact remains: The Mets lost the Díaz/Canó trade.
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They even lost the argument that trading for them was the right thing to do then, now, or ever!