The New York Mets just signed Edwin Diaz to the largest contract for a relief pitcher ever at 5 years and $102 million dollars. The previous biggest contract for a relief pitcher was $86 million signed by Aroldis Chapman so Diaz blew past that record with this contract.
It is now four years since the blockbuster trade that brought Diaz to the Mets has gone down. We saw the Mets give up two major league players in Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak, and prospects Justin Dunn, Gerson Bautista, and Jarred Kelenic for Diaz and Robinson Cano.
Four years later and a record-breaking contract, it is a perfect time to see where everyone in this Mets trade is now.
Starting with the Mets return in the deal we have Diaz, who as previously stated just signed the biggest contract for a relief pitcher in MLB history. His first year in NY was not good as most if not all Mets fans remember. He had a 5.59 ERA and it seemed like he was giving up a home run to every other batter he faced. His closer job was questionable going into 2020 but he turned it around and was rock solid. In 2021 he took a small step back but was still solid, and in 2022 he was historically good. It is safe to say Diaz is doing well four years after the trade.
The other piece of the trade the Mets got back was veteran second baseman, Robinson Cano. His first season was a disappointment in 2019 but he had a solid 2020 before testing positive for PEDs and missing all of 2021. In 2022 he struggled mightily before being released by the Mets. He then saw 12 games with the San Diego Padres before released there and another 9 games with the Atlanta Braves before they released him too. Cano is now a free agent and unlikely to see a major league field again.
The Seattle Mariners looked like they got the deal of a lifetime at the time of the deal. Jay Bruce played half a year in Seattle which was not great before being dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies where he was not any better. His next season in Philly was even worse in 2020. He signed with the Yankees in 2021 and retired after only 10 games.
Anthony Swarzak was the other major league piece the Mariners got and he was not good either. He also lasted half a season and was not good before he was also dealt to the Braves and was not great there either. He did not pitch in 2020 and saw 13 games in 2021 where he had an ERA over 9 before hitting free agency in July. He did not play in 2022 and is likely done.
The first of the three minor leaguers we will look at is Justin Dunn. Dunn was okay for the Mariners in his three seasons there. In 2019 he only had 6.2 innings and gave up 2 runs. In 2020 he had a 4.34 ERA in 10 starts and in 2021 he had a 3.75 ERA in 11 starts. He was traded to the Cincinnati Reds prior to the 2022 season and had a 6.10 ERA in 7 starts for them. He has not had the results most have expected him to as a top prospect, but he is still holding a spot in the Majors.
Next up we have Gerson Bautista. Bautista pitched in 9 innings for the Mariners in 2019 and gave up 11 runs. In 2020 he did not pitch, in 2021 he saw 11 innings in AAA for the San Francisco Giants before being released in August. He has not pitched since and remains a free agent and is possibly done with baseball.
Last up we have the biggest name in the deal at the time with top prospect Jarred Kelenic. Kelenic has seen time in the majors with Seattle in both 2021 and 2022 but has been awful. In a combined 500 at-bats he has slashed .168/.251/.338/.589. Kelenic has raked in the minor leagues but still has not been able to make that transition to the majors. Kelenic still has plenty of time to "figure it out" though.
At the time of the deal it looked like the Mariners won it big time. Fast forward four years later to now and it looks like the Mets won it. Although Cano was bad for the Mets, every piece the Mariners got in return was/is bad and/or is out of baseball too. In only four years a lot has changed with everyone involved in the blockbuster deal.