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The offseason of
rebuilding retooling reckoning reimagining began by moving a pair of longtime Mariners with cheap contracts and positive production. But the Mariners only have a few more players like that - if they had a greater number they probably wouldn’t be tearing the roster up to begin with - and the latest rumors seem focused on dumping salary - specifically, the salary of Robinson Canó.
As trade rumors continue to swirl, two sources tell me they fully expect the Mariners to find a way to move Robinson Cano this offseason. Will be interesting to see 1) how much money the Mariners eat and 2) what kind of talent they get back.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) November 27, 2018
Hmm. Sure, mysterious rumor man, but what would that look like?
Mariners, Yanks talked about a Cano return to the Bronx. Ellsbury would have been going to Seattle in proposalbut Mariners didn’t want to eat extra $ at time. Cano has $120M left, Ellsbury $48M. Ellsbury May be more open to waiving no-trade, and good chance Canó might accept NY.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 27, 2018
Okay... This has long been the most sensible option for moving Canó - returning him to his original home, with a competitive roster around him, and a team that has nearly infinite profits it can dig into if willing. The deal would also bring Jacoby Ellsbury back to the Pacific Northwest where he was raised, and give him a chance to play for a team that has a space in left field if they so choose. Both players have no-trade-clauses, but a one-for-one deal would save the Mariners money long-term in exchange for drastically worse production in the next two seasons. Eating more money could allow the M’s to add on a prospect from the Yankees as well, which is appealing if ownership is willing to place a down payment on potential future production.
What does the other New York team have to offer?
"Cano would go to the Mets, & Seattle would pay approximately $10M annually of the $120M owed to Cano over the next 5 years ... The Mets are also trying to get Seattle to take on a burdensome contract like Jay Bruce's, and obtain a player like Edwin Diaz or Mitch Haniger." https://t.co/C5bxxGwl7I— Editor Joe Veyera (@JoeVeyera) November 27, 2018
Get out. Now.
Look, I know it’s a rumor, and much like the ludicrous “Wil Myers for Mike Leake and Jean Segura” tidbits the Padres leaked recently, there’s only so much to be gleaned from “discussion”, especially when we’re only hearing one sides’ perspective. I do not think a deal close to what’s listed above would come to pass, if for no other reason than because in 2018 teams are smart enough to know that freeing up payroll isn’t the most direct path to improving your team - improving your farm system and developing players in their early-to-mid-20s is. Maybe (hopefully) that balance will change somewhat in a new CBA in a few years, but for now the path to competing is run through having a crop of 22-29 year-olds arrive and thrive simultaneously, and augmenting externally from there.
As LL alum Brendan Gawlowski put it recently, there are wholly justifiable reasons to move Canó and his contract for a team looking to 2021 as their next point of competition, but not at the expense of sacrificing an opportunity to acquire young talent. The rumored proposal with the Yankees, while unremarkable, at least frees up money for extending and augmenting the core that will hopefully develop in the next couple seasons without weakening anything else. The deal supposedly in discussions with the Mets would do dramatic damage to any efforts to improve the team’s future further (by trading Edwin Díaz and/or Mitch Haniger) solely in aid of avoiding paying more money.
The reason it hasn’t happened is obviously that the Mariners understand that! It’s unsettling that something in that vein is being discussed, even as it’s fair to acknowledge nothing has come of it, and nothing may. But Canó has a no-trade-clause, and if Dipoto is determined to move him (or ownership has mandated he do so), the Mariners’ choices may be limited to Robi’s former team and the team run by his former agent. That’s a bad spot to be in, and the rumors thus far don’t inspire confidence in Seattle’s options. Prove us wrong, Jerry.