The New York Mets will welcome the Seattle Mariners for a three-game series at Citi Field this weekend. It is the first meeting between the two teams since a much-discussed blockbuster trade between the two teams in 2018, the first offseason for new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen.
The Mets acquired Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Jarred Kelenic, Justin Dunn, Gerson Bautista, Jay Bruce, and Anthony Swarzak. So as the two teams face up this weekend for the Mets’ first interleague action this season, there is a lot to be scrutinized from the controversial transaction.
Part of the trade didn’t pan out for the Mets
Cano’s tenure with the Mets was full of turmoil. He struggled in 2019, then had a great 2020 season, then was a season-long suspension for a failed drug test in 2021, and then saw his Mets career crash to an end when he struggled following the suspension. Cano was designated for assignment on May 2 and released six days later. Cano now reportedly has a deal with the Padres.
Diaz had one struggle of a season in 2019, where the home run ball ballooned his ERA that season to 5.59, but has otherwise been dominant, especially this season, as he has a 1.93 ERA in 14 innings, with 24 strikeouts. His performance this season may behoove the Mets to give the impending free agent a new contract.
For some Mets fans, their worst fears have not come to fruition
Anxious Mets fans saw Kelenic tear up the minor leagues, as he was ranked the 4th best prospect by both MLB.com and Baseball America before the 2021 season.
But Kelenic has struggled mightily since his debut, exactly one year ago today. He is batting .140 with 36 strikeouts in 86 at-bats this year, and his career batting average is just .173 with a -1.8 WAR figure.
So perhaps a revenge series for Kelenic this weekend?
The rest of the Mariners' huge return haul hasn't returned much value to Seattle, either
Both Bruce and Swarzak were traded to other National League East rivals early in the season.
Bautista only pitched in eight games with Seattle in 2019, and had an 11.00 ERA. An elbow injury kept him out of 2020 and was released later that year and is now pitching in Mexico.
Dunn did have a productive Mariners career until 2021 when shoulder issues plagued him. He made 25 starts in three seasons with Seattle, pitching to a 3.94 ERA in 102.2 innings. He was part of the package that went to the Cincinnati Reds in the trade that sent All-Stars Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez to Seattle in March.
Something must be said about trades involving prospects, regardless of which ones are traded
When players are dealt as prospects, players are still prospects. Minor league players have yet to prove themselves as worthy of being in the major leagues. But major league players are on a class of their own compared to their minor league counterparts.Think of this poignant point Jeff Passan of ESPN made during the labor mayhem. “If you went and got the next 1,200 best players in the world, the product would suffer greatly,” Passan wrote.
Kelenic, Dunn, and Bautista were players that, at the time, would not have made a major league roster when the trade happened. Bruce and Swarzak were, and they were both traded from Seattle by June 3 of that year (mainly because of Seattle’s strategy to restock their farm system).
Unless Kelenic turns things around soon, Mets fans who lamented the return package to Seattle will look at what they gave up as nothing but players who never panned out, and this was about getting an elite closer pitching at a high level due for a big pay day and a big pay raise.