On Monday, the New York Mets and Seattle Mariners completed a blockbuster trade headlined by New York’s acquisition of eight-time All-Star second baseman Robinson Canó and elite closer Edwin Diaz. In exchange, Seattle received outfielder Jay Bruce, relievers Anthony Swarzak and Gerson Bautista, and prospects Justin Dunn and Jarred Kelenic. Seattle also sent $20 million to New York to offset a portion of the remaining five years and $120 million on Canó’s contract.

This trade has drawn significant attention across the baseball industry, warranting a thorough examination.

The trade reveals the Mets’ paramount objective of fielding a contending team immediately. The franchise had previously demonstrated the makings of a perennial championship contender, following a World Series appearance in 2015 and a playoff appearance in 2016. However, New York has endured two consecutive losing seasons since then, both of which have been plagued by injuries and underperformance.

This offseason, the Mets overhauled their front office by hiring Brodie Von Wagenen as their general manager. Von Wagenen’s hiring was an unconventional choice. Before the hiring, Von Wagenen was an agent for MLB players. Thus far, his first move has demonstrated his willingness to take risks to achieve that goal.

Canó presents an offensive upgrade at second base and will bolster the middle of the Mets’ anemic lineup. Following his return from a performance-enhancing drugs suspension, Canó played 80 games in which he re-established his offensive prowess, hitting .303 with 10 home runs and 50 runs batted in. The Mets are betting Canó can maintain similar production over the next few years. However, given Canó’s age at 36, his production on offense and ability to play second base may begin to decline in the near future.

The Mets will also find some strength in the addition of Diaz, a dominant young reliever who will help to stabilize a poor Mets bullpen that ranked 28th in ERA last season. The acquisition of Diaz provides an accomplished closer, allowing the Mets to deploy relievers Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman earlier in games. These three relievers will provide the groundwork for a group that needs to be further augmented in free agency.

From the Mariners’ perspective, the trade expedites the rebuilding process by clearing the long-term salary owed to Canó and by acquiring young, controllable talent in Dunn and Kelenic. General Manager Jerry Dipoto had the awareness to recognize that the Mariners would likely be unable to truly compete with their division rivals such as the Astros and the Angels in the short term. As a result, he opted to launch a rebuild of the team, despite the fact that it very narrowly fell short of the playoffs in 2018.

Seattle will receive Bruce and Swarzak, who were included to send the Mariners $36.5 million in salary over the next two years, enabling them to offset Canó’s contract in New York. Perhaps Dipoto will elect to flip these veterans for additional prospects. Yet, in the interim, Bruce and Swarzak are bounce-back candidates for 2019, after both struggled with injuries and performance in 2018.

However, the crown jewels of the deal for Seattle are Dunn and Kelenic, two of the Mets’ top prospects. Dunn is a starting pitcher who posted modest numbers in AA during the 2018 season, but has managed to maintain his position as the No. 3 starter. Kelenic is a 19-year-old five-tool outfielder with All-Star potential.

Ultimately, this deal was the result of two teams with opposite aims for the 2019 season. The Mariners are rebuilding, while the Mets hope to contend. The Mets’ offense and pitching will improve by addressing needs at second base and closer. However, they are undertaking significant risk by sacrificing premium prospects to fill needs at the positions that were among the deepest in regard to free agent alternatives.

Meanwhile, the Mariners continue to trade their top veterans for prospects after also dealing James Paxton and Jean Segura. The deal will be evaluated in the long term based on whether Canó and Diaz are able to lead the Mets to postseason success, and whether Dunn and Kelenic prove to be valuable contributors for the Mariners in the future.

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