This is part three of a three-part series trying to figure out what the worst trade of 2018 was. Just two months after being hired by the New York Mets, Brodie Van Waganen made a move that would have catastrophic effects on the two organizations involved. By trading away Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano the Mariners saved over 100 million dollars for the next 5 years. While Edwin Diaz was coming off of a year where he posted a 1.96 ERA and led the American league in saves with 57, he only had 52 saves in his career before that year. In 2017 his FIP was 4.02 while his ERA was 3.27. This means he was probably lucky and had a good defense behind him. Edwin Diaz has always been able to strikeout a lot of guys and has a career 14.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Edwin Diaz only had one elite year prior to the trade and trading top prospects while also eating Robinson Cano’s humongous salary is a lot to give up for one elite season. Robinson Cano has put together a hall of fame worthy career to this point. He has a career .843 OPS and a 125 OPS+. In 2018 however, he was suspended for PEDs and his hall of fame chances have since tilted considerably. In 2018 he did post an .845 OPS with 10 home runs in only 80 games for Seattle. Once he came over to the Mets though he posted a .736 OPS and a 0.3 WAR. He is now 36 years old and after posting a negative 6 defensive runs saved last season it seems like his hitting and fielding are on a downward slope. The Mets now have to pay a declining Cano over 20 million dollars for the next three years and even if Edwin Diaz is the closer he was in 2018 for the Mets going forward this will still be a tough pill to swallow. In this deal the Mariners got two of the Mets top prospects in Jared Kelenic and Justin Dunn. Jared Kelenic is a 5-tool prospect who has proven he can play center field. This is the one position the Mets do not have a short term nor long term answer for. Brodie decided to trade the one centerfield player in the entire organization who could have been the Mets centerfielder for the next 10 years. In the 2019 offseason the Mets searched for a center field upgrade such as Starling Marte, but they were only able to bring in Jake Marisnick to be a fourth outfielder. They are going to move Brandon Nimmo over to play centerfield in 2020 and potentially for the foreseeable future. Nimmo however does has a career negative 9 career defensive runs saved in centerfield. JD Davis is a negative 11 defensive runs saved in left field as he will be playing Nimmo’s old position and the Mets defense looks like it could be a potential disaster in 2020 and there may not be a solution within the organization coming soon. Justin Dunn has posted a career 3.76 era in the minor leagues and did post a 2.70 era in 6.2 innings in the Major Leagues. He did however walk 9 batters and will need to refine his command and control moving forward to stick in the Major Leagues. Jay Bruce, Gregerson Bautista and Anthony Swarzak didn’t amount for much in Seattle but Swarzak was traded to the Braves for Arodys Vizcaino and Jesse Biddle. Brodie wanted to make an immediate splash and the Mariners front office took advantage of that. The Mets finances will be strained by the Cano contract moving forward potentially restraining them from getting a franchise player added to their team such as Mookie Betts. The Mets will either have to bring in a lot more money by selling the team, unloading Cano which will probably hurt their farm system immensely or wait four more years for his contract to be up. None of those look like a good option. Brodie is the main reason for his team’s problems right now and unless he has a miracle up his sleeve or a time machine hidden in his office, I don’t think the Mets should have him in the front office much longer.
After a careful analysis of the players, their impact and their projected future impact, the worst trade of 2018 for any one team was the trade by the Pittsburg Pirates. They gave away two foundational players in Auston Meadows and Tyler Glasnow for Chris Archer who spent one and a half brutal years in a Pirates uniform and may already have pitched his last pitch in Pittsburg. The Pirates have no playoff appearances or even a good regular season record to show for it and are now entering a rebuild where they could have really used Glasnow and Meadows. While Marlins and Mets fans may believe their deals were the worst they at least have a chance to still get production from the players they received whereas nearly all hope is lost for the Pirates.