By Zach Gewelb
While the Yankees were the first New York baseball team to make a big move this offseason, the Mets have made a splash of their own, acquiring former All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano and All-Star closer Edwin Diaz from the Mariners Monday in exchange for Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak, plus former first-round draft picks Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn and reliever Gerson Bautista.
The Mariners also will be sending $20 million to the Mets to help pay for Cano.
The move should give Mets fans hope that the team is moving on from its penny-pinching ways and is going all-in on the 2019 season, its first under the direction of new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen. What happens next will provide more clarity.
If the Mets fail to make another couple of moves to improve the major league roster, then the Cano-Diaz trade will be a huge mistake with the club mortgaging their future for two pieces that fail to put them over the top. But, if the Mets go out and acquire a catcher and some bullpen help, then the team has a legitimate shot at competing for a playoff spot next season.
“We did not make this move to make this our last move,” Van Wagenen said during Tuesday’s press conference when the club introduced Cano and Diaz.
It’s been rumored that the Mets were listening to trade offers for stud pitcher Noah Syndergaard, but a deal now seems unlikely following the club’s trade with Seattle, meaning they will likely have to spend more money in free agency rather than acquire major league pieces through trades.
If Van Wagenen has truly convinced the Wilpons to spend, then signing free agents won’t be a problem. But he better be right with the moves he’s making. If he’s wrong, the franchise will be set back for years to come with onerous contracts and a whittled down farm system.
As for the Yankees, they are falling behind in the arms race after Patrick Corbin, the top free agent starter, agreed to a six-year, $140 million deal with the Washington Nationals. It was long expected that Corbin, a native of Clay, N.Y., would sign with the Yankees, the team he grew up rooting for.
Reports surfaced Tuesday that the Yankees refused to offer a sixth year to Corbin, which made it an easy decision for the southpaw to sign with Washington, who seemingly offered him the most in terms of years and money.
After acquiring James Paxton earlier this offseason, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he wanted to add another starter. Now, the Yankees will have to look elsewhere with Corbin off the market.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe