A few things could stand in the way of a Canó/Díaz-to-the-Mets deal. The Mariners have not yet approached Canó asking him to waive his no-trade clause, sources tell Yahoo Sports. Still, if there is a deal in place, Canó is expected to agree to it, according to sources.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 29, 2018
Seeing as the Mets’ farm system is top-heavy, featuring four of MLB Pipeline’s top-100 prospects, but is otherwise rather mediocre, this potential deal seems to be a sign of just how much the Mariners want to get rid of the 36-year-old Cano. The six-time All-Star is still owed $120 million over the next five years, and Seattle’ front office is obviously uncomfortable paying him that much through his age-40 season — especially with Cano’s reputation having taken a hit with a positive PED test earlier this year, and with both Cano and fellow veteran Dee Gordon being rather inexperienced at positions other than second base.
The 24-year-old Diaz, the 2018 Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year, has some of the most electrifying stuff in baseball and led the majors with 57 saves this year. He posted a ridiculous 1.96 ERA over 73 games while striking out 124 and walking only 17 batters. He’d be a transformative addition to a Mets bullpen that was one of the majors’ worst in 2018, spending large chunks the year without both of its experienced closers: Jeurys Familia, who spent some time on the DL and then was traded to the Athletics in July, and AJ Ramos, who struggled mightily over 28 appearances before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in June.
While the Mariners may want to get rid of Cano, he clearly still has talent. He hit .303/.374/.471 with 10 homers in 348 plate appearances last season, and he still plays a solid second base — he had four defensive runs saved and a 9.3 UZR/150 there last season. It’ll be interesting to see how the Mets utilize him if a deal is completed, seeing as second baseman Jeff McNeil was arguably their best hitter down the stretch in 2018. McNeil has a ton of minor-league experience at third base and some at shortstop, so it’s possible that he could end up spelling or displacing third baseman Todd Frazier and/or shortstop Amed Rosario, both of whom struggled offensively this past season. Moving Cano to a corner-infield spot would certainly also be a possibility, though first base probably wouldn’t open up unless slugger Peter Alonso, the top first-base prospect in baseball, is traded this offseason.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that two former first-round picks: Jarred Kelenic, their top pick earlier this year, and right-handed pitcher Justin Dunn, their first-round selection in 2016. Both are ranked as top-100 prospects by MLB Pipeline — Kelenic is ranked 62nd, while Dunn is ranked 89th:
Source: Two former first-round picks are among the #Mets prospects under discussion in talks with #Mariners for Cano-Diaz: OF Jarred Kelenic, 6th overall in 2018, and RHP Justin Dunn, 19th overall in ‘16. ”Significant momentum” in talks, per @JeffPassan.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 29, 2018
Former Colorado Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd tried to work up a rough framework of a deal on MLB Network earlier this week — one that would include top Mets prospect Andres Gimenez, Dunn, former top prospect Dominic Smith, and highly-paid but redundant outfielder Jay Bruce: