Robinson Cano (Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports)

Mets: Forget The Back Page – Stay On Point Instead

The New York Mets need to show their fans and baseball itself they are relevant in the NL East – and they need to do it now. Really?

The New York Mets look at the Philadelphia Phillies with an owner who pronounces he is willing to spend “stupidly,” with rumors swirling they would love to add both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to the barn. Then the Mets turn South to see the Atlanta Braves making early deals for Josh Donaldson and sentimental favorite, Brian McCann, coupling the pieces they added last season. From their perch, they can even see the Washington Nationals finally awakening to life without Harper, and throwing themselves in the mix for Patrick Corbin, Nathan Eovaldi, and others.

Meanwhile, the “other team” in New York looks to the front and pages of the New York Post, seeking ways to become relevant to their fans during the offseason. Dancing Thor as trade bait fulfilled the prophecy for a day or two until the Mets and Brodie Van Wagenen met up with Fred Wilpon’s bewildering double-speak about dealing Noah Syndergaard, sending mixed messages to everyone.

Which is why, perhaps, the Mets are corraling center stage with minute by minute updates on the proposed deal involving Robinson Cano, like this one…

Update, 10:08 AM: According to Andy Martino, the Mets will be receiving approximately $60 million in the current incarnation of the deal. This would roughly cover half of Cano’s owed salary over the next five seasons, not to mention the aforementioned Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak contracts.Source: Chris McShane Amazin Avenue

According to several reports, the deal is all but done. Some reports even say the trade will be announced later today, and if that happens, indeed the headlines will belong to the Mets for at least the weekend, especially given the way New York’s hometown football and basketball teams are (not) playing.

Make no mistake; this is a gutsy trade being made by Van Wagenen. If consummated, boos or cheers will depend on how you want to cherry-pick the deal. The upside is the Mets get a 24-year old closer in Edwin Diaz who will not be “paid” for at least two years. The team also dumps the salaries of Bruce and Swarzak, eliminating mistakes from the previous regime.

But then, there’s the elephant in the room with Robinson Cano, who will play the 2019 season at the age of 36 and will remain under contract with the Mets for four more years after that until he reaches the ripe old age of 40.

Jeff McNeil, New York Mets prospect
Jeff McNeil, New York Mets prospect Photo Credit: YouTube

Already, Cano has seen fit to dope his 35-year-old body up once, undoubtedly to keep his aging skills alive. Can anyone imagine what he might do when he has to play at the age of 39 – or 40? And more significantly, what will the Mets do with him? Not to mention the rationalizing story the Mets will have to feed Jeff McNeil, who just a week ago was handed the second base job by Van Wagenen.

Writers like myself egg on and chide the Mets because of their dysfunction, which leads to inaction. Then, when boldness strikes them as it has with the Cano deal, we’re not happy with that either. Go figure.

Still, inheriting Cano for the next five years is not a good thing for the Mets. The Yankees let him go for a reason, but not before offering the tidy sum of $170 million to stay with the team in New York. Cano left on his own, to play in, of all places, Seattle. His agent (then) Van Wagenen stole an extra fifty million from the Mariners, who like the Mets today needed to make a splash.

The Mariners dove into the deep end and the rest, as they say, is history. Now it’s the Mets turn. Hopefully, they take a deep breath, pausing for a moment before they hit the switch taking them on a one-way ride to nowhere after Cano finishes the 2019 season with credible numbers.

Upside – downside, take your pick. But I know where I’m going on this one.

Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball

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