‘We Came Here to Win’: Mets Unveil Cano and Diaz

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Edwin Diaz was at dwelling in his native Puerto Rico final week when buzz a couple of potential blockbuster commerce that might ship him and his Seattle Mariners’ teammate, Robinson Cano, to the Mets fluttered throughout social media. By Friday, the commerce was in principally in place. That evening, Cano, who was in his native Dominican Republic, known as Diaz.

“Be prepared,” Cano informed Diaz. “We’re going to New York. We’re going to have enjoyable over there, win video games and assist the workforce.”

On Monday, Cano, a second baseman, and Diaz, a reduction pitcher, had been in New York for his or her physicals and dinner with the Mets’ brass, together with the homeowners, entrance workplace workers and Supervisor Mickey Callaway. The subsequent morning, the gamers had been formally launched because the Mets’ new stars — finishing a splashy, albeit dangerous, transfer that signaled the workforce’s dedication to contending for a playoff spot in 2019 after back-to-back dropping seasons.

“We didn’t make this transfer to have this be our final transfer,” the Mets’ common supervisor, Brodie Van Wagenen, stated simply over a month into his new job. Earlier than he was employed in October, Van Wagenen was an agent who had represented, amongst different gamers, Cano.

The commerce was each daring and precarious for varied causes. The Nationwide League East is getting harder by the minute: the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals, who reached a cope with the highest free agent starter Patrick Corbin on Tuesday, are all enhancing.

The Mets mortgaged a part of their future by giving up three prospects — together with two first-round draft picks in outfielder Jarred Kelenic and pitcher Justin Dunn — and absorbed $100 million of the contract that Cano, 36, signed with the Mariners to be able to purchase him and Diaz, 24.

Jeff Wilpon, the Mets’ chief working officer and a co-owner of the workforce, known as the commerce “fairly impartial” by way of for 2019 for 3 causes: The Mets unloaded $36.5 million (the quantity owed to underperforming veteran gamers, outfielder Jay Bruce and reduction pitcher Anthony Swarzak) from their payroll; they acquired $20 million from the Mariners; and Diaz is comparatively cheap now.

Questions will linger concerning the new acquisitions, although. The Mets took on the 5 remaining years on Cano’s contract, which is able to expire when he’s 40. He performed solely 80 video games final season due to a fractured hand and an 80-game suspension associated to a optimistic take a look at for a banned substance.

Cano declined to deal with the suspension when requested on Tuesday, saying that he already had mentioned it in the course of the season and needed to give attention to the optimistic. Van Wagenen is aware of the main points of the episode however wouldn’t particularly deal with it past saying that Cano was suspended for a diuretic and never a performance-enhancing drug.

Cano was certainly caught utilizing furosemide, a diuretic he stated final season was given by a physician for a medical situation, however it’s generally used to cover the presence of different banned substances. Underneath baseball’s drug coverage, a participant who checks optimistic for a diuretic is suspended if he can not show that he used it for authentic functions or if league officers decide the intent was to make use of it as a masking agent.

“If I had any concern about Robby’s bodily state or efficiency skill going ahead, I might not have made the deal,” Van Wagenen stated.

Wilpon stated he was “very snug” with the reason Van Wagenen gave him concerning Cano’s suspension however declined to elaborate. “I may very well be confirmed fallacious, however I don’t assume he’s a drug cheat,” Wilpon stated of Cano.

Regardless, Cano’s energy and protection at second base, the place he gained Gold Gloves in 2010 and 2012, have declined some through the years, however he nonetheless hit .303 with an .845 on-base-slugging-percentage final season — manufacturing that would have helped the Mets’ streaky offense.

Cano stated he felt youthful than 36 and that he’s able to competing towards youthful gamers. He pointed to David Ortiz and his former Yankees teammates Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez as examples of those that performed at 40. (Not all had been productive at that age and a few performed below a cloud of performance-enhancing drug utilization.)

“You’re not going to be the identical man while you get to 40 as 25,” Cano stated. “Your physique is so totally different. However I’ll say this: Should you work exhausting and all the time put together your self, like different guys did up to now, you’ll have the ability to play at that degree.”

Cano, an eight-time All-Star, stated it was simpler to waive his no-trade clause figuring out he could be reunited with Van Wagenen, however he additionally cited his love for New York, the fervour for baseball right here and the possibility to compete for a title once more.

“He has a imaginative and prescient on his legacy,” Van Wagenen stated. “He has a mission in thoughts that he desires to outline his profession the following 5 years as a lot as he has over the course of the final 10.”

Though reduction pitchers might be unstable from 12 months to 12 months, the Mets consider Diaz’s age, 4 years of management and price relative to older free agent reduction pitchers outweighs any decline in Cano’s efficiency.

“While you begin as excessive as Robby Cano did, that decline is fairly worthwhile and pretty much as good as something we’ve within the group,” Van Wagenen stated.

The Mets consider their window to win is for the following few seasons, whereas pitchers Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, who’s unlikely to be traded, and outfielders Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto are all in the identical uniform.

Van Wagenen known as Diaz one of the best nearer in baseball. Diaz, whose fastball reaches 100 miles per hour, confirmed promise earlier than a breakout 2018, which he attributed to an improved aggressive mentality. He had a serious league-high 57 saves whereas posting a 1.96 E.R.A., placing out 124 over 73⅓ innings, and incomes his first All-Star nod.

Diaz stated a bone spur, which was found in his throwing arm when he was drafted in 2012, has by no means been a difficulty. He stated he was impressed the Mets gave up three prospects to accumulate Cano and him.

“We got here right here to win and attempt to attain the World Collection and get a hoop,” he stated.

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