The Seattle Mariners and New York Mets are aggressively approaching a deal that would send Robinson Cano back to New York, according to multiple reports Thursday morning.
But it would apparently send Edwin Diaz there, too.
An argument could be made that a Cano-Diaz deal would be the biggest blockbuster of the offseason considering Diaz’s remarkable 2018 season and the fact that Cano is still one of the game’s best hitters.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports was first to report that there is “significant momentum” toward a deal with the Mets, though multiple reports indicated it’s not imminent — just intensifying.
The Mariners would also have to persuade Cano to waive his no-trade clause, though other reports have sourced people close to Cano who say he would likely do so for either of the New York teams. The 36-year-old played for the Yankees the first nine seasons of his career.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that a pair of first-round draft picks have been tossed in on the Mets’ end, including outfielder Jarred Kelenic (the sixth overall pick in 2018) and right-hander Justin Dunn (the 19th pick in 2016).
Kelenic is the No. 4 prospect in the Mets’ organization, as ranked by Baseball America, and Dunn is No. 5.
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto is clearly eager to move Cano and the $120 million owed to him over the next five seasons. Some reports have noted they’ll make some deal, any deal, that ships him out of Seattle likely before the end of Major League Baseball’s weeklong winter meetings, which begin Dec. 9.
Interestingly enough, new Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen was the one who negotiated Cano’s deal as his agent when Cano signed with the Mariners in December 2013.
But Dipoto’s been adamant that any deal involving Diaz, their star closer who saved 57 games this past season, would only be made if there’s a significant haul involved. It’s right to wonder whether the Mariners would bring back more in a Diaz deal if they were to focus on a package surrounding him alone and not pairing him with Cano’s giant contract.
“We’re going to be open-minded to anything we’re doing through this offseason and as we move forward,” Dipoto said last week on 710-ESPN radio. “That being said, we would absolutely have to be blown away to move players like Edwin Diaz, Mitch Haniger and Marco Gonzales. These are the (type of) players we are trying to acquire.”
It’s understandable the Mariners would shop Diaz. His value might not ever be higher. Since Seattle is taking a step back in 2019 — as evidenced by already trading catcher Mike Zunino and ace lefty James Paxton — the Mariners might be better off using Diaz’s massive trade value to fill other needs.
But this all depends on if the Mariners are simply desperate to dump Cano’s salary, even though he’s hit .296/.353/.472 in his five seasons in Seattle. Only Jose Altuve, Charlie Blackmon, Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt and Freddie Freeman have matched that slash line in that span.
Any deal for Cano is made more difficult concerning he just turned 36, is under contract through his age-40 season and he served an 80-game drug suspension this past year — which is why the Mets might be requiring Diaz in a deal.
What’s clear, though, is the Hot Stove market on Cano is burning up.