The deal was bigger and even worse than that, of course — the Mets got a closer, Edwin Diaz, whose struggles in 2019 may have cost them a chance at the playoffs, and also gave up a pitching prospect, starter Justin Dunn, who had a solid debut season for Seattle last year. To help offset the cost of Cano, Seattle took the highly paid veterans Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak.
As for 2021, Cano took the contract off Cohen’s payroll all by himself, an unexpected gift to the owner and his new team president, Sandy Alderson, who preceded Van Wagenen as general manager. In a statement, Alderson said the team was “extremely disappointed” in Cano.
“The violation is very unfortunate for him, the organization, our fans and the sport,” he added.
Unfortunate for Cano? Absolutely, although he is still signed through 2023. But the sport has been through this with him before, and the organization and fans should be happy. Cohen is the majors’ richest owner, so the savings from lopping Cano off the payroll are all relative. But it cannot hurt to have even more financial freedom and an open spot at second base with D.J. LeMahieu available in free agency.
LeMahieu just led the majors in hitting, at .364, and has been the Yankees’ best player in each of the last two seasons. Even without LeMahieu, the loss of Cano can help the Mets, who could shift Jeff McNeil to second base and clear left field for Dominic Smith.
Then again, the Mets can think even bigger under Cohen. They could engage not only LeMahieu, but also the other jewels of the free-agent market: starter Trevor Bauer, closer Brad Hand, catcher J.T. Realmuto, outfielders Marcell Ozuna and George Springer.
Nothing is off-limits, it seems, except Cano’s access to major league ballparks in 2021.