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Report: Mets, Mariners close on trade involving Robinson Canó, Edwin Díaz

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Update: Per Mike Puma of the New York Post, the Mets have begun informing players they’re involved in the trade if it gets to the finish line. Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak would be in the deal. As would, presumably, two or three prospects.

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Earlier, Craig wrote about the “significant momentum” building between the Mets and Mariners for a trade involving second baseman Robinson Canó and closer Edwin Díaz. That deal is now “close,” according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and could be announced on Friday.

Canó, 36, is under contract for the next five years at $24 million each year for a total of $120 million, and he has full no-trade protection which he would need to waive to facilitate a trade with the Mets. The Mariners will likely have to cover a significant portion of Canó’s remaining salary as well as take on a heavy contract or two, such as outfielder Jay Bruce (two years and $26 million remaining). Some of the Mets’ top prospects that have been floated as having piqued the Mariners’ interest include outfielder Jarred Kelenic and pitcher Justin Dunn. Infielder Jeff McNeil, who finished sixth in NL Rookie of the Year voting this past season, has also been mentioned.

Canó hit .303/.374/.471 with 10 home runs and 50 RBI in 348 plate appearances in 2018. He missed time between May 14 and August 13 serving an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

Díaz, 24, was arguably baseball’s best closer, leading with 57 saves. He also posted a 1.96 ERA with 124 strikeouts and 17 walks in 73 1/3 innings.

Both Canó and Díaz would represent huge upgrades for the Mets, who have a new GM in Brodie Van Wagenen. Notably, Van Wagenen was Canó’s agent before taking the job with the Mets.

Meanwhile, the Mariners seem eager to head into a rebuilding mode despite finishing 89-73. They finished 14 games out of first place and eight games out of second place in the AL West. The club already traded top-tier starter James Paxton to the Yankees and Mike Zunino to the Rays. Once Canó and Díaz have new homes, shortstop Jean Segura and outfielder Mitch Haniger could be next to go.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.