SEATTLE -- The final hurdles in the Mariners' blockbuster trade to send Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the Mets were cleared Monday as the two clubs completed a seven-player swap that could change the course for both franchises.Looking to bolster their future, the Mariners shipped the two All-Stars along
SEATTLE -- The final hurdles in the Mariners' blockbuster trade to send Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the Mets were cleared Monday as the two clubs completed a seven-player swap that could change the course for both franchises.
Looking to bolster their future, the Mariners shipped the two All-Stars along with cash ($20 million, according to a source) to the Mets in exchange for veterans Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak, top prospects Jarred Kelenic (Mariners' new No. 2 prospect) and Justin Dunn (No. 3) and right-handed reliever Gerson Bautista (No. 28).
"This trade bolsters our player-development system with the additions of Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn, while also providing immediate impact to our Major League club in Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak and Gerson Bautista," Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "We view Kelenic as a true five-tool player with a very high ceiling. Dunn is another former first-round Draft pick who we think has a bright future on our pitching staff. Bruce and Swarzak both bring proven production in the field and a veteran presence in our clubhouse. Bautista has demonstrated an impressive high-velocity pitch mix."
The trade is the biggest of the 84 deals made by Dipoto since he took over in Seattle in 2015, and it is an aggressive first move made by new Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen, who was Cano's agent when Seattle signed the longtime Yankees star to a 10-year, $240 million deal in 2014.
But it wasn't the last major deal done by Dipoto on Monday, as the energetic GM sent All-Star shortstop Jean Segura and relievers James Pazos and Juan Nicasio to the Phillies for young shortstop J.P. Crawford and veteran first baseman Carlos Santana just two hours later.
• Mariners acquire Crawford, Santana from Phils
Dipoto has made six deals this offseason as he works to gain roster and payroll flexibility while breaking up an aging core of high-priced veterans that hadn't been able to snap the franchise's 17-year playoff drought, despite finishing 89-73 last season.
Dipoto has also dealt No. 1 starter James Paxton to the Yankees, catcher Mike Zunino and outfielder Guillermo Heredia to the Rays and setup man Alex Colome to the White Sox. Now Segura, Cano and Diaz join the outbound list.
Those trades have added significant long-term assets for the Mariners. Young center fielder Mallex Smith and catcher Omar Narvaez both have four years of team control, while Seattle's farm system has been significantly boosted by the addition of pitchers Justus Sheffield (Mariners' new No. 1 prospect) and Erik Swanson (No. 11), outfielders Dom Thompson-Williams (No. 16) and Jake Fraley (No. 27) and now Kelenic and Dunn from the Mets.
The 19-year-old Kelenic figured as a key element to the Mariners' end of the latest deal, as he is a widely acclaimed five-tool prospect who was the sixth overall selection in last June's Draft as a high schooler from Wisconsin.
Kelenic flew to Seattle last June to take part in a pre-Draft workout at Safeco Field, though he wound up getting selected by the Mets eight spots before the Mariners. Now he finds himself in Seattle, traded for one of the players he idolized growing up.
"Who'd have ever thought you'd literally get traded for Robinson Cano," Kelenic said. "It's pretty special. He's definitely one of the best players in the game of baseball. To be involved in that same trade is pretty crazy and pretty humbling. It's a positive thing in my career, and I'm excited for what the future holds."
Dunn, 23, was the 19th overall selection in the 2016 Draft out of Boston College and finished last season at Double-A Binghamton. He racked up 156 strikeouts in 135 1/3 innings, re-establishing himself as the Mets' top pitching prospect after a rough first year in pro ball in '17.
Like Kelenic, Dunn was heavily scouted by the Mariners going into the Draft, though they wound up taking outfielder Kyle Lewis with the 11th overall pick that year.
"As a New York kid, it was always my dream to play and debut here," he said. "But if you'd asked three years ago, it looked like I'd be a Mariner when I was drafted and I was excited about that. And now it's come full circle."
Kelenic is ranked by MLB Pipeline as No. 62 overall prospect, while Dunn is ranked No. 89.
Bautista is a 23-year-old from the Dominican Republic who features a 100-mph fastball, but he has struggled with his command. He made a brief appearance in the Majors last year, giving up six runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings over five outings. He posted a 2.38 ERA in 11 1/3 innings in the Arizona Fall League.
It remains to be seen whether Bruce and Swarzak stick with the Mariners or are flipped for more prospects, though both said they expected to remain with the club from what they've been told. Both are coming off disappointing injury-plagued seasons.
It remains to be seen if Bruce and Swarzak stick with the Mariners or are flipped for more prospects. Both are coming off disappointing injury-plagued seasons.
Bruce, 31, hit .223/.310/.370 with nine homers and 37 RBIs in 94 games, but he's just a year removed from slugging 36 homers and 101 RBIs for the Indians and Mets in '17.
"This is my third trade, and it doesn't hold quite the shock value as the first, for sure," he said. "But I'm excited and ready to go. I love Seattle. I grew up idolizing Ken Griffey Jr. and played with him in Cincinnati my first year and have stayed in touch with him a little. This is definitely a change of pace for my family and myself, and I'm looking forward to it."
Swarzak, 33, signed a two-year deal with the Mets to bolster their bullpen last year after putting up a 2.33 ERA in 70 appearances in 2017, but he had a 6.15 ERA last season in 29 outings.
The price for those five players was steep. Cano, an eight-time All-Star second baseman with five years and $120 million remaining on that contract, figures as the headliner in the deal. But Diaz surely was the toughest piece for Dipoto to relinquish, as the 24-year-old right-hander emerged as one of the game's elite closers last season and is under team control for four more years. He earned close to the MLB minimum at $570,000 in 2018 and won't be eligible for arbitration for another year.
But Dipoto is gaining both prospects and financial flexibility for the future, as the Mariners are essentially saving about $63.5 million from the $120 million they would have owed Cano over the final five years of his deal.
Bruce is owed $28 million over the final two years of his contract and Swarzak has one year at $8.5 million remaining on his deal, so the Mariners will inherit $36.5 million of short-term salary, in addition to sending the Mets $20 million. But Seattle will clear Cano's $120 million off the books, providing added resources in two years when Dipoto is aiming to have a new, younger nucleus of players ready to make its push.
Diaz, who racked up 57 saves with a 1.96 ERA in 2018, could have remained as part of the future wave Dipoto wants to build toward a playoff push in 2020-21 and beyond. But the Mariners included him in the deal in order to obtain a significant prospect haul as well as to get out from under some of Cano's contract in the same move.
Cano served an 80-game suspension last season for violating the Major Leagues' Joint Drug Agreement, but the eight-time All-Star still posted a .303/.374/.471 line with 10 home runs and 50 RBIs in 80 games.
Cano wound up earning two All-Star berths and putting up a .296/.353/.472 line with 107 home runs and 411 RBIs in his five seasons in Seattle, and now returns to New York, where he spent the first nine seasons of his MLB career with the Yankees.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.