By Andrew Holt
Stop the presses: The New York Metropolitan Baseball Club has made an off-season move. The Mets faithful as well as casual fans of the sport know that every once in a while, the hometown team makes a splash in a positive way. In recent memory we have the Piazza three-way trade, Beltran and Cespedes. As for the negative splashes, well, let us not be reminded. The Mets tweeted the following to announce the trade to the listening few:
@Mets: It’s official! We’ve acquired 8x All-Star @RobinsonCano and All-Star closer @EdiDiaz44 from Seattle in exchange for Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, Gerson Bautista, minor league RHP Justin Dunn and minor league outfielder Jarred Kelenic. #Mets
On paper this trade feels very solid. Trading for a slugging juggernaut who also hits for average in Robinson Cano, and for one of the best closers in Major League Baseball in Edwin Diaz, fills tremendous holes. These acquisitions indicate the Mets’ front office and management believe they will be a competitive team in 2019. A slugger, albeit aging at 36 years old, and a lockdown fireman are exactly what the doctor ordered for the injury-plagued and downtrodden Mets. We can sum up 2018 in two points: the horrific bullpen that sought to undo all of the really incredible output and success of the starting rotation (which includes a Cy Young Award winner in DeGrom); and a piecemeal lineup that went most of the season without the protection of Cespedes, and a startling lack of production at the plate from mainstays and new talent alike.
Whom did they offer up to the trade gods? An also-aging Jay Bruce, who dramatically underperformed all expectations and became the bane of some fans after flirting with the Mendoza line for most of his recent stint with the Mets. They also parted ways with Anthony Swarzak, who never seemed to settle in as a Met after battling injuries and only throwing some 26 innings in 2018. Also included in the deal were top prospects Gerson Bautista, minor league RHP Justin Dunn and minor league outfielder Jarred Kelenic — not quite players-to-be-named-later, but with Kelenic specifically, definitely not on the pay-no-mind list either. We will watch their progress closely, if only to have another reason to gripe about management after any remote successes on its part.
This may not be the silver bullet Mets fans were hoping for. But again, the indication with this trade that the top brass believe the Mets will be competitive next year is a positive sign. We hope this isn’t the last move, but if our rotation stays healthy and the bats come back to life, here’s hoping for some October and November nights to remember.