Reflecting On A Disastrous Trade Of All-Stars From Exactly One Year Ago
Robinson Cano Hit Nearly Fifty Points Under His Career Average
Exactly one year ago today Major League Baseball news actually trumped the two most popular cold season sports, the National Football League and the National Basketball Association. It involved a trade of an All-Star who, to make it even more noteworthy, was being returned to the Big Apple.
Seattle on December First traded second baseman Robinson Cano, a former star for the Yankees, to the New York Mets. As if acquiring the services of Cano were not reason enough to arouse optimism in New York, the club also received All-Star closer Edwin Diaz in the deal.
Even though it was primarily a salary dump for the Mariners, they themselves received two former All-Stars. The more prominent was outfielder Jay Bruce, who had twice been selected to play in the Midsummer Classic as a member of the Cincinnati Reds.
Veteran relief pitcher Anthony Swarzak also went to Seattle, along with prospects Gerson Bautista, Justin Dunn, and Jerrod Kellenich. By May 20 Swarzak had been shipped to the Atlanta Braves, and on June 2 Bruce was dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies. Of the three prospects in the trade only Dunn made a Big League appearence, and his stint lasted just one game.
Faring even worse, however, were the Mets, whose All-Star acquisitions had performances inferior to the players they had replaced. Cano's batting average was nearly fifty points lower than his .302 career mark, and his thirteen home runs were just barely half of his usual season total.
Diaz was an even bigger disappointment, especially for a team whose biggest weakness has been the bullpen. His 5.59 earned run average was four points higher than his career percentage, and his seven losses were a career high, as were his seven blown saves.
The underachievement of the two stars ended up being a big reason the Mets fired manager Mickey Calloway, in spite of the fact that his club actually improved in the win column by nine. That front page deal from last December had built completely unrealistic goals for the Mets, who for some reason believed the new 36 year old second baseman would perform like the Robinson Cano of five years ago.
The club must now lower its expectations for Cano, and act accordingly, before making any blockbuster deals. The trade of last year may still pan out for New York, depending on whether the 25 year old Diaz can regain his status as a dominant closer.