Seattle Mariners Receive: Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, Jarred Kelenic, Justin Dunn, Gerson Bautista
New York Mets Receive: Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, $20 million in cash
I’m not sure when’s the last time I’ve seen a trade be so derided by two fanbases as the one that just went down between two teams heading in the opposite direction. When the dust settles, however, I think Mets fan will realize this is actually a pretty good deal for them that actually puts them very close to Atlanta’s burgeoning powerhouse. Being able to land a Hall of Fame caliber hitter in Cano at half price thanks to the cash, a controllable, dominant closer in Diaz, keep Andres Gimenez and Peter Alonso, and likely preclude them from trading Noah Syndergaard is no understatement. Dry those Wilmer Flores tears, Mets fans, you guys are going to be OK.
Robinson Cano, 2B
Cano is the type of player that’s fairly immune to dramatic swings in fantasy value thanks to his consistent skills at the plate. After his return from a PED suspension, he slashed .317/.363/.497, all numbers in line with his career slash line. The Mets' infield is suddenly a little crowded. You have to expect Cano to play second base but the Mets really don’t care about defense it seems and might occasionally slot him at first base where he already might have eligibility based on your fantasy platform. If you’re a Jeff McNeil apologist like me, expect him to play some third base and outfield…somehow.
The unfortunate thing about the trade is Cano goes from one of the few parks that is even more pitcher friendly than Safeco Field. In fact, for left-handers in 2018, Citi Field had the worst runs factor producing them 14 percent worse than league average. I wouldn’t fret about it too much, though, as that fluctuates heavily year to year. Remember that the lefties last season for New York either missed time because of injury or were generally ineffective.
His 144 Fantrax ADP should still be seen as a bargain when you take the slash line into consideration. Overall, expect a slight depression on Cano’s line but not enough to change his outlook for 2019.
2019 Projection: 75/20/86 … .297/.358/.473 in 157 games
Edwin Diaz, RP
Diaz is coming off one of the most statistically insane reliever seasons in recent years. In 73.1 innings he recorded a 44 K%, 6 BB%, 1.96 ERA (1.61 FIP) with a whopping 57 saves. His 3.5 WAR ranked as the seventh-highest mark since 2000. It was undoubtedly a career year 24-year-old who’ll now have immense pressure to come close to repeating in 2019 under a much larger spotlight.
Everyone knows he won’t repeat, but a move to the National League is always a nice, albeit small bump for a closer. Frankly, there’s really not much to say about Diaz’s fantasy value here. He took slight step forwards in his strikeout profile after ticking up his slider usage. Outside of an injury there’s no way he doesn’t finish 2019 as a top five closer with fantastic ratios. The Mets are likely an 85-win team and Diaz should be a good bet for at least 30 saves. He’ll still cost you a pretty penny (54th overall ADP), so prepare to pay if you want him.
Projection for 2019: 38 SV/2.42/0.98/105 K in 70 IP
Jay Bruce, 1B/OF
The Mets get to unload Bruce’s remaining contract (2/$26 million) and now he’ll likely make his home in either left field where Seattle has Ben Gamel listed or at first base. Though still just 31, it feels like Bruce has been around forever, maybe because his profile hasn’t changed. Last year he missed two months with “Sore Right Hip” and it derailed his season. A hitter’s hips are integral in providing the necessary torque and therefore power to his game. Without his hips, Bruce turned in a career low .147 ISO. Though it’s fair to wonder if this was dogging him all season. Before going on the DL on June 17, he had .613 OPS.
Assuming health (and the DH should help ensure this), Bruce should return to his home run hitting ways and return to being a one-dimensional player. If you’re looking for some late pop, his ADP is well outside the 300s. He’s a decent flier in deep leagues for your CI spot if you find yourself lacking power.
2019 Projection: 64/24/76/2 … .240/.307/.465 in 135 games
Anthony Swarzak, RP
Swarzak suffered a strained left oblique in the first week of the season that knocked him out until early June. He never shook the rust off upon return as batters obliterated him and he went down with shoulder inflammation in August for a month before returning the final three weeks of the season. All in all, Swarzak should be in consideration for saves once he proves he’s good again. Remember, in 2017 he turned in a 2.33 ERA season with a 10.5 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 in 77.1 innings. The 33-year-old should be a nice snag in SV+HLD leagues and could see some save chances after the Mariners shipped Alex Colome to the White Sox. As it stands, a shaky Juan Nicasio is Swarzak’s obstacle.
12/3 EDIT: Goodbye Juan Nicasio. He was traded to the Phillies. Swarzak, with a good spring, might have a legitimate chance at being the Mariners closer from the get go. He has the upside of a top 15 closer with a very cheap price tag.
Projection for 2019: 8 Saves/3.56/1.11/78 K in 65 IP
Jarred Kelenic, OF
.286/.371/.468 with 6 HR, 15 SB (12 games in GCL, 44 games in Appy League)
Kelenic is the headliner for Seattle and their new top prospect. Just 19 years old, the sixth overall pick of 2018 impressed in his professional debut showcasing just how good he is with the bat. He has a a quick swing and a great feel for the barrel but still needs to work on an all-fields approach. The hit tool can be a future 60 and the power is shaping up to be average, though I can see him maximizing that thanks to his good bat control. He has good idea of the strike zone and his above-average speed will keep opposing teams honest when he’s on the basepaths as well.
His overall fantasy value isn’t impacted with the move. He’s still a top 100 dynasty prospect and his ETA is likely 2022.
Justin Dunn, RHP
135.1 IP, 3.59 ERA, 27 K%, 8.5 BB% (45.2 IP in High-A, 89.2 in Double-A)
Our own Jason Woodell caught him a couple of times including his final High-A start, a 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1BB, 10 K performance.
His fastball and slider are potential plus pitches that are already inducing whiffs. Jason reports his changeup was flashing plus that night as well and like him I agree that’s the pitch that will elevate him to SP3 status if he can command it well enough.
Seattle’s dearth of arms ensures Dunn now ranks as the team’s second-best pitching prospect. He’ll open the season in Arkansas with the hopes of finishing it in Tacoma, setting up a mid-season 2020 major league debut. The shift from NL to AL is no fun for a pitcher but the park helps mitigate it a bit. Dunn remains a prospect in the 125-150 range for me.
Gerson Bautista, RP
2018 MiLB: 49 IP, 5.14 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 29.7 K%, 10 BB%
2018 MLB: 4.1 IP, 12.46 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 12 K%, 20 BB%
Here are Jason Pennini’s scouting notes: Thin frame with plus arm speed. Head movement at foot strike and effort to the delivery. Spine tilt with high three quarters arm slot. Twits back to propel self forward; below average posture and balance. FB 94-97 T98 was mostly straight in viewings, reportedly touched 100 during season. SL 82-85 with decent depth but somewhat lazy shape and left up in zone at times, roughly average. High-probability pen arm somewhere in the middle relief to setup guy range.