Mets Biggest Mistake Is Trading Justin Dunn

Any day now, the Seattle Mariners and New York Mets are about to complete a blockbuster deal which will alter the next five to ten years for both franchises.

For the Mets, adding Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz is about winning now, and judging from this trade, they better win now.

First and foremost, they will no longer have Jarred Kelenic, who is arguably their best prospect. More than than, Cano’s deal is a complete albatross.

While some are saying the Mets are getting plenty of relief on Cano, it’s not exactly true. Remember, Jay Bruce is only under contract for two more years. Anthony Swarzak‘s deal expires after 2019. After that, there’s no more “offsets.”

Therefore, for the final three years of Cano’s deal, he will be making $20 million per season. Also, we should not forget, even with the Mets trading Bruce and Swarzak, they still owe Cano $100 million over five years. Of course, that assumes the Mariners are providing the $20 million.

With that $20 million figure once being $60 million, we should not be too sure that number won’t change.

An important consideration to this deal is when the Mets are going to deal with Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Michael Conforto hitting free agency, the team will be paying Cano $20 million per season. That puts a tremendous strain on the ability to keep those players.

Perhaps that is why Syndergaard is being shopped now.

If we operate under the assumption the Mets are building their team to win-now, which should be painfully obvious by this trade, you really have to question the wisdom of including Justin Dunn in this trade.

No starting pitching staff is immune to injuries, and since 2015, that has gone double for the Mets. With that being the case, the Mets will really need Triple-A depth to pick up the slack. Here are the career MLB numbers for their current projected Triple-A starters:

This is a group who makes Rafael Montero‘s 5.38 ERA not look so bad. For his part, Montero is not an option as he was released.

The numbers from the aforementioned pitchers are from small sample sizes, but you’d be hard-pressed to argue they would be much better than this next year. You’d be harder pressed to believe they would be able to do much better than this over 10, 15, or even 20 plus starts.

With that being the case, the Mets needed Dunn. He was the one pitcher in their system who was close to MLB ready who you could realistically rely upon for a number of starts. With him gone, the Mets really have zero depth.

With that being the case, you really have to question why a Mets team trying to win-now would completely overlook this. That is more problematic when you consider the Mets have been done in more by lack of depth than any other factor.

In the end, the Mets are going all-in now, and they’re doing it with a need to address the bullpen, catching position, center field, and their bench depth. Now, they are also going to have to add 1-2 quality pitchers who are alright spending extended time in the minors waiting for someone to get hurt.

The pitchers who are willing to do that are rarely good, and ultimately, this is why trading Dunn was a giant mistake.

41 thoughts on “Mets Biggest Mistake Is Trading Justin Dunn”

  1. Luis says:

    “…why a Mets team trying to win-now would completely overlook this.” Because the Wilpons are idiots?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      That’s on BVW who made the deal

  2. newyorkmehts says:

    Just need one healthy productive year from Cano and then can flip him to an AL team.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Why would an AL team take on a four year $80 million deal for a 37 year old 2B?

      1. OldBackstop says:

        Because they could DH him, obviously. It could be part of a bigger deal involving bad contracts and youth, ala this one. Clearly, Brodie is up for complex deals.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          So this is just a series of deals designed to get worse and worse contracts?

          1. OldBackstop says:

            Look….ever read Liar’s Poker? Everything has value at some price. I think Cano is a guy that will hit .280 with 20 hrs when he is 50. He might not be a viable player in the field other than first base in 2021, but he might make a nice piece for an AL team. Yeah, we’d send miney and take some cobtracys they don’t want, but one man’s trash is another man’s meal. Jay Bruce is the Mariners starting left fielder next year. Might he play 150 games and hit his usual ho-hum 30 homers? Sure.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            Mets couldn’t read the value in this situation, but I’m supposed to trust they will in the future?

  3. Dennis Mega says:

    Unless Cano is not healthy then this deal could solidify the infield by moving McNeill to 3rd and adding Alonso at 1st.
    Diaz should take over closer role helping free up Gsellman and Lugo for other roles. Still need at least one more good reliever.
    Money is not fans’ concern. Offense needs bopper since Cespedes will never return now that he has big $. Catcher is huge problem with 2 losers Pawlecki and d’arnaud not the answer. BVW is in the hot seat with cheap, incompetent ownership. Good luck!

    1. metsdaddy says:

      It’s easy to say money isn’t the fans concern, but unless you’re a Yankee, Red Sox, or Dodger fan, it is.

      You know $100 million to Cano severely limits what you can do in the future. In fact, it hinders what you can do now because you’ve already posted huge numbers on future budgets.

      1. OldBackstop says:

        I dont think it hinders what they can do in 2019. They have $20 m cash plus the $20 or so they would have paid Bruce and Swarzak plus the $10 mil plus they are saving on a free agent closer….that puts them $30 mil in the black on this deal for 2019. For 2020 they would have Bruce’s $14 mil plus the $10 mil plus for an FA closer, so that covers Cano again.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          They only reduce the 2019 payroll by $2.5 million. That’s it. After that, payroll goes up by $6 million in 2020 and $20 million the final few seasons.

          That’s restrictive.

          1. OldBackstop says:

            You said how it will restrict them over the short term, but you are ignoring the cost of a free agent reliever and speading the 20 mil from Seattle over the five years of Canos contract, when that is not how the accounting will work. Things could happen before he turns 41 that would trigger insurance ala Wright and Cespedes, or he could be traded. The 20 mil is here and now.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            We don’t know that Cano’s contract is insured, and you could have done any other number of things which would have not required taking on a $100 million.

          3. OldBackstop says:

            BTW, there are two articles in “Musings” making the same arguments I am. Diaz is an enormous money saver, and if the Mets want to contend in the near term they have to pay for obe elite bat somewhere, which Cano should be for the next two years. If you just gave him 120 games last year instead of 80, he would have been the best offensive player on the Mets. His 3.2 WAR trailed only Nimmo. You forget — our offense and bullpen were all world horrible in 2018. They are bolstered here for 2019 in one fell swoop.

          4. metsdaddy says:

            The articles you referred does not take the case you should move your best trade chip or strip your team of pitching depth.

            And remember, more than anything, the Mets fell apart the past few years due to a lack of depth.

    2. OldBackstop says:

      I have seen that comment about McNeil to third so many times….remember we have Todd Frazier signed for 2019? A great glove and a power bat with pop and a team leader. With Bruce and Wilmer gone, I guess Frazier could move to first.

      1. metsdaddy says:

        Why would you move Frazier to first if his real value is playing a good defensive third?

        1. OldBackstop says:

          Good question, that is what I was saying about the comment assigning McNeil to third. I was conceding that Frazier COULD play first, and if he returns to 30 HR production, that could be an option.

        2. OldBackstop says:

          Why would you say we “stripped our pitching depth and our best trading chip.” Dunn/Swarzak/Bautista, none of whom added a whit to our major league team in 2018, for the best closer in baseball is stripping our pitching depth? Who is our “best trading chit”? Not Conforto, Nimmo, McNeil, Alonso…five more….but the two B level maybes?

          1. metsdaddy says:

            You’re completely wrong on Dunn and Kelenic.

            Also, players are trading chits only to the extent you’re willing to move them. A win-now team is unwilling to move those players you mentioned.

  4. OldBackstop says:

    I think the other consideration financially is that the Metsies would have to look to FA for a closer….while there are a number out there, Kimbrel stated this week he is looking for six years. But for the years Diaz is under control, it is reasonable to subtract an FA closer’s price from Cano’s 20 mil. MLBtrade rumors has Kimbrel at 4/$70, and the next tranche, Famila, Britton and Robertson, all at $3/33. Also, maybe just a guess here, but given that Brodie is his ex-agent, it would not surprise me to see Cano agree to some sort of restructuring that makes his deal more payroll friendly.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Why does Cano agree to take less money, and why does the MLBPA agree to let him do it?

      1. OldBackstop says:

        I didnt say he’d take less money, I said he might make it more payroll friendly.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          To do that, he’d need to accept less money.

          Yes, I understand he could restructure, but why would he?

          1. OldBackstop says:

            Because Brodie was his agent and friend? And of course the contract is insured, you don’t commit a quarter of a billion dollars in todays game without insurance. And if it somehow, weirdly, isn’t, clearly the Coupons will do so ala Wright and Cespedes.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            I’m not taking less money because my boss is my friend.

          3. OldBackstop says:

            I didnt say he’d take less money, I said it could be restructured. Incentives, annuities, a player buyout, charity, tax instruments, lengthening to lower the annual hit. YOU wouldn’t take less money, yeah, but if you had a quarter billion and you’d like a competitive team and to be a home town hero you might. Remember that Cano and Brodie had a phone call before the Mets pulled the trigger? What do you think they talked about?

          4. metsdaddy says:

            It doesn’t matter how much money you have. You’re not taking any less due to friendship or even a motivation to win.

            Specific to Cano, he’s won a World Series. Moreover, if you try to bring his salary down to a palatable level, you’re going to owe him a ton over the next few years. Much more than a rounding error.

  5. OldBackstop says:

    As to Dunn….out of this whole deal, THAT is your problem? A power pitcher with control isues who left 2017 early with a shoulder injury and pitched to a 4.22 ERA in AA this year? Minor leaguers or not, the Mariners were looking for young players with years of control to get the 24 year old, best closer in baseball. Conforto, Nimmo, Rosario, Alonso, Gimenez, Mcneil were certainly on their wish list..the midseason list I saw had Dunn listed as “second tier” at the number five prospect behind Vientos.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Dunn is absolutely the reason to be upset. He’s a mid 90s fastball guy with a very good slider and a vastly improving change-up. Essentially, you’ve just traded a better Fulmer.

      More than that, the Mets have zero pitching depth now, so even with the Mets making all these moves, their season may very well end with an injury to a SP.

      As for Diaz, he was best for one year. He could be just as good, or he could meltdown in New York. He could also get hurt.

      1. OldBackstop says:

        So Diaz, who has never been hurt, is an injury risk and Dunn, who missed time with a shoulder injury year before last, isn’t? When do you project Dunn to be of use in Queens? He was a 4.22 ERA player in AA this year. He has a history of control problems. Diaz, who is only a year older, is the best closer in baseball. You have to give up to get.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          When you get a chance compare Diaz’s Double-A numbers to Dunn’s. Then get back to me.

  6. OldBackstop says:

    ? Diaz had better numbers and he was at AAA two years younger…but that doesn’t matter which is my point. Dunn is an unknown with mediocre AA numbers, 4.22 at AA going into his fourth year and one arm injury already. Some were only an appearance or two, but the Rumble Ponies had 22 pitchers last year with lower ERAs than Justin Dunn.
    We don’t have to wonder about Diaz and the major leagues….he led the MAJOR leagues in saves in 2018 and was striking out 15 guys per 9. FIFTEEN. I’d trade 10 Dunns for him, Dunn is a lottery ticket, that is all. His average fastball velocity is behind deGrom, Thor, Wheeler and Matz.
    I was much more bummed about Kelenic, btw. He might be special. But anyone in the low minors is a lottery ticket.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      If you’re judging players by Double-A numbers, Dunn was better than Diaz.

      1. OldBackstop says:

        I? Measured how? Diaz had a lower ERA.

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