The last week in MLB was about a team in the National League making a blockbuster trade, another club in the NL signing a pair of players and a free-agent reliever is seeking a long-term contract.
New York Mets Acquire Second Baseman Robinson Cano And Reliever Edwin Diaz from Seattle Mariners
The New York Mets pulled off the first major trade of the offseason, by acquiring second baseman Robinson Cano, reliever Edwin Diaz and $20 million in cash this weekend from the Seattle Mariners.
The Mets will send outfielder Jay Bruce, pitcher Anthony Swarzak, outfield prospect Jarred Kelenic, pitching prospects Gerson Bautista and Justin Dunn to complete the deal, per Jon Heyman of Fancred.
Complete deal is Cano, Diaz plus $20M for Bruce, Swarzak, Kelenic, Dunn and Bautista
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 2, 2018
This was a move which was interesting for both clubs.
The Mets added a proven hitter in Cano, who’s had a solid career, got rid of two bad contracts and a young closer in Diaz coming off a fantastic season.
The Mariners did lose a potentially dynamic closer in Diaz, but they gained a young outfielder in Kelenic who could help the team down the road.
A negative for the Mets with Cano is he’ll be 36-years old next season and is under contract for the next five years.
The Mariners did send the Mets some money to help offset the remaining $120 million.
The Mets will have to pay only $63 million over five years when you factor in the savings from Bruce/Swarzak, plus the amount the Mariners gave them, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
Full deal is Diaz, Cano and $20M to #Mets for Bruce, Swarzak, Kelenic, Dunn and Bautista. Mets will pay Cano 5 yrs $63M once subtract how much owe Bruce/Swarzak plus $20M
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 2, 2018
There’s also a risk with Cano as he was suspended for taking PED’s last season and if caught a second time, would be suspended for an entire year.
The other issue later in the contract is will Cano be able to play the in the field?
The club doesn’t have the luxury of using the designated hitter as teams in the American League can.
The highlight of this deal for the Mets is without question Diaz.
The right-handed reliever was lights out finishing off games for the Mariners last year as he led the AL with 57 saves and blew just four saves.
He posted a 1.96 ERA in 73 1/3 innings (73 games) with 124 strikeouts, a 208 ERA+, a 1.61 FIP and a 0.79 WHIP. The other thing which stands out is he yielded less earned runs (16) than walks issued (17).
The other bonus with Diaz is control as he won’t be arbitration eligible until 2020, and isn’t eligible for free agency until 2023.
This shouldn’t be the only move the Mets make as adding another late-inning arm and another starter should be a priority.
The Mets in the short-term won this deal, but the Mariners will be the long-term winners, especially if Kelenic reaches his potential and Cano becomes a problem in the final years of his contract.
Atlanta Braves Sign Third Baseman Josh Donaldson and Catcher Brian McCann to One-Year Deals
The Atlanta Braves made a pair of interesting moves last week as they signed both third baseman Josh Donaldson and catcher Brian McCann.
They inked Donaldson to a one-year, $23 million contract, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
Donaldson in agreement with #Braves on one-year, $23M free-agent contract, sources tell The Athletic. Deal is pending a physical.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 26, 2018
The deal for McCann is a one-year contract worth $2 million, per Rosenthal.
McCann deal with #Braves is one year, $2M, sources tell The Athletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 26, 2018
The deal with Donaldson was a great move by the Braves.
The third baseman was limited to 52 games last season split between the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians due to shoulder and calf injuries.
He posted a .246 average and .801 OPS with eight home runs and 23 RBIs with both clubs.
When healthy, Donaldson can be an impact bat in the lineup as he was 2015 American League MVP with the Blue Jays, by compiling a .297 batting average and .939 OPS with 41 home runs and 123 RBIs.
There’s a minimal risk by the Braves signing him to a one-year deal, and if he regains his MVP form, they’ll have a run producer in the middle of their lineup at a bargain price.
The top of the Braves’ lineup featuring Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman and Donaldson is potentially deadly.
The deal with McCann was a solid move by the Braves as the catcher returns to where his career started.
McCann played with the Braves from 2005-13 and was an All-Star seven times with them, including five Silver Slugger awards.
McCann did say last November he wanted to retire as a member of the Braves.
The backstop struggled last year with the Houston Astros as indicated by his .212 average and .640 OPS in 63 games with just seven home runs and 23 RBIs.
The veteran catcher can still make a difference on a roster which is very young.
Free-Agent Reliever Craig Kimbrel Seeking A Six-Year Deal
Craig Kimbrel is one of the many relievers who is a free agent this offseason and is expected to garner attention from teams who need an elite closer.
Kimbrel is seeking a contract which will be six years in length, per Buster Olney of ESPN.
Teams being told that in initial ask, All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel is looking for a six-year deal.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 30, 2018
The right-handed reliever is coming off a stellar season with Boston Red Sox as he posted a 2.74 ERA in 62 1/3 innings (63 games) with 42 saves, 96 strikeouts, seven home runs yielded, 31 walks issued, a 3.13 FIP and a 0.99 WHIP.
The last season for Kimbrel marked the fifth time he notched at least 40 saves in a season.
He has a body of work which speaks for itself but getting a six-year deal might be tricky for Kimbrel. This is a long time for a team to commit to a closer.
It’s likely Kimbrel can get a four-year deal with an average annual value of $25 million, including an option for a fifth year valued at $15 million.
Kimbrel will get a lucrative contract this offseason, but it’s hard to envision a club giving him a six-year deal.