When the rumor of the trade was first reported I was excited. It wasn’t just because we were getting a dominate closer and a middle of the order hitter either. No I was excited for a different reason.
The trade made clear for the first time since new GM Brodie Van Wagenen got the job that he was trying to win NOW. Even though in his press conference and ensuing interviews he said as much, all sports fans know that’s what they always say. So as a long time NY Mets fan, almost 30 years, I saw the trade as strong evidence that Brodie was going for it.
As we all know by now we get Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano plus money for prospects headlined by our 6th pick in last years draft, Jared Kelenic. Plus we send them Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak as further salary relief to help pay the remaining 5 years and 120 million remaining on Cano’s contract.
With this one trade we fill 2 gaping holes, closer, and an infield power bat. While also keeping our assets that will help us come opening day 2019. Great right? Like myself the fans should be happy. Let me go to Twitter and celebrate with them. No. Not even close. To my surprise you guys overwhelmingly hated this trade. Let me tell you why I think you are wrong.
First lets talk about Jared Kelenic. Young 5 tool player. Was suppose to be our future. For perspective lets go back to the 2013 draft. 5 years ago (the amount left on Cano’s deal). Anybody drafted high then should be a known player by now.
First overall pick was Mark Appel. Who? Exactly. He has no Major League appearances (Appel is actually a unique story being only the 3rd 1st overall pick to never reach The Show). The 2nd pick that year is a star. MVP winner Kris Bryant. But hes the exception. Out of the top 10 picks Bryant is the only person to make an All-Star game so far. At #5 the first High School positional player was drafted, similar to Kelenic, Clint Frazier. Frazier now a Yankee has all the talent in the world but injuries have kept him off the field. Of course injuries can affect anyone but with 2-3 years until Jared could help a Major League team it has to be factored in.
The 11th pick that year, our own Dominic Smith. Good ole Dom. 11th pick, Jared Kelenic was 6th (pretty close). I don’t know about you but a young player that might be good in 3 years vs 2 sure things. On a team with win now starting pitching (Degrom is 30) and a strong core. I say lets win now.
Ok fine but why not just sign a closer. That way we fill that need without giving up any assets, future or not. Perfectly fair point and the biggest argument against this trade that I have seen. This viewpoint was also put forth by ESPN’s Buster Olney. The reason this doesn’t hold up I came across while reading an article in The Athletic. We all know the Wilpons haven’t been quick to up the payroll since the Madoff fiasco. Sources tell The Athletic that Brodie has around the same payroll this year as last, 155 million dollars. As constructed before the trade we were at around 135 mil. That leaves 20 million dollars to fill multiple holes. Catcher, 3 plus bullpen arms including a closer, more middle of the order power and an outfielder to fill in for Cespedes (if he ever comes back). Reports stated that Craig Kimbrell, the top closer on the market, was asking for 6 years in excess of 15 mil. a year.
Even if you argue we could of signed a lesser closer it would still cost more then 10 million per. That leaves less then 10 million left to fill all those holes. Not to mention we wouldn’t have arguably the leagues best closer last year, and a proven hitter like Cano. This trade filled 2 glaring needs and leaves us flexibility to keep improving the team. Obviously more moves need to be made, and I have faith they will.
In closing what it really comes down to is having a little faith in BVW. We’re Mets fans you say, we have no faith and for good reason. VERY TRUE. I wouldn’t try to argue with you on that. What I would say is read up on our new GM, there is a lot of articles about him. One constant that you will read is how smart and driven the man is. This is not some idiot we see in sports that gets hired after just being fired. I think for once Mets ownership got one right (crazy I know). So lets not judge this trade on the loss of one 19 year old prospect, or the fact that Cano has 5 years left and he’s 36.
Let’s wait and see what happens this winter, and then this season. After all if we go deep in the playoffs next year, or by god win a World Series, none of that will matter. We will all be so happy that Brodie went all in on this trade. Like Jim Fassell once said he put all his chips in the middle. Hes trying to WIN NOW.
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