Thought Exercise: What Would You Give For Cano & Diaz?
Image courtesy of © Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY SportsHow much fun would it have been to add Cano and Diaz to the Twin roster for next year? Cano gprovides a middle-of-the-order hitter at second base, and still leaves lots of room to add more offense at first base and designated hitter. Diaz is a 24-year-old lights-out closer who is under team control for four more years. Some of the bigger offseason challenges are handled in one early move.
Of course, the reason the Mariners made this deal is because Cano will make $24 million for the next six years. He also lost half of last season to a performance-enhancing drugs suspension. Plus, he's 35 years old. The reason he's available, and indeed the reason he almost has to be traded with Diaz, is because his contract is such a liability. We may find out the deal includes some money to help cover those salaries in 2021-2023, but right now we don't have any details.
But it's also worth noting that the Mets aren't giving up a tremendous amount here. They're giving up "two top prospects" but the three names prominently mentioned include 19-year-old outifleder Jarred Kelenic (a 6th overall draft pick last year), and pitchers Justin Dunn and/or David Peterson. MLB.com's Pipeline lists Kelenic and Dunn as Top 100 guys, but late-Top 100 guys. By comparion, Twins prospects like Royce Lewis and Alex Kiriloff are top 10. Instead, a comparable package might have been Brusdar Graterol and Trevor Larnach (or any of the Twins #4-#9 prospects).
Plus, the Mets are dumping a couple of questionable contracts themselves. Jay Bruce dealt with cascading injuries last year and will cost them $13M over the next two years. Swarzak had shoulder issues, lost his feel for the zone and is due $8M this year. Without including them, the package would've been even less.
Of course, Minneapolis is not New York City, so to really make the deal a reality, they would've also needed to find something to entice Cano to waive his no-trade clause. Throwing additional money at a bad contract that is going to run until a guy is 41 doesn't seem wise. It certainly doesn't seem like The Twins Way®. But if the only thing standing between getting the deal done and it not getting done is a little more cash, maybe a $5M bonus next year sweetens the pot? This is the year that they have the money, right?
It's a moot point, obviously. Mostly this deal intrigued me because I've been advocating a frugal approach on a middle infielder, but immediately pivoted into full-blow "WANT" mode when I saw the players available. But I'd be interested in what the community thinks. What kind of creative would have made sense for the Twins?
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