SEATTLE -- Most of the final hurdles in the Mariners' blockbuster trade that would send Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the Mets were cleared Saturday, with the deal expected to be finalized Monday when all the medical reviews are completed.According to a source, the Mariners will send $20 million,
SEATTLE -- Most of the final hurdles in the Mariners' blockbuster trade that would send Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the Mets were cleared Saturday, with the deal expected to be finalized Monday when all the medical reviews are completed.
According to a source, the Mariners will send $20 million, along with their two All-Stars, to the Mets in exchange for veterans Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak, top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn and right-handed reliever Gerson Bautista.
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The trade was the biggest of the 84 deals made by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto since he took over in Seattle in 2015 as well as the first significant 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.
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.
Cano formally waived his no-trade clause on Saturday, MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported. The clubs also ironed out the final financial details, which result in Seattle essentially saving about $63.5 million from the $120 million it would have owed Cano over the final five years of his deal.
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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 some helpful financial flexibility in two years when Dipoto is aiming to have a new, younger nucleus of players ready to make its push.
The trade is Dipoto's fifth of the 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 had already dealt starter James Paxton to the Yankees, catcher Mike Zunino and outfielder Guillermo Heredia to the Rays and closer Alex Colome to the White Sox, and now Cano and Diaz will join the outbound list.
Those deals 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 and Erik Swanson, outfielders Jake Fraley and Dom Thompson-Williams and now Kelenic and Dunn from the Mets.
The 19-year-old Kelenic figured as a key element to the Mariners' end of the 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.
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 in re-establishing himself as the Mets' top pitching prospect after a rough first year in pro ball in '17.
Kelenic was ranked as the Mets' No. 3 prospect and 62nd overall prospect by MLB Pipeline, while Dunn was No. 4 for the Mets and 89th overall.
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 if Bruce and Swarzak stick with the Mariners or are flipped for younger 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.
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.
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 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 posting a .296/.353/.472 line with 107 home runs and 411 RBIs in his five seasons in Seattle, but 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.