If you’re an MLBTR fan, then you know we’ve recently been asking readers to evaluate the trade histories of various high-ranking executives (or former execs) from around Major League Baseball. We’ve already polled you on Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen, recently fired Astros president Jeff Luhnow, Brewers president of baseball ops David Stearns, Angels GM Billy Eppler, Rockies GM Jeff Bridich, Tigers GM Al Avila, Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos, Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins, Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto, Phillies GM Matt Klentak, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, Rays GM Erik Neander and ex-Red Sox front office leader Dave Dombrowski.
It’s now time to go to New York and check in on the trades that GM Brodie Van Wagenen, a former agent, has swung since the team persuaded him to switch careers after the 2018 season. Considering he has only been on the job for two years, Van Wagenen’s body of work isn’t particularly large, but it’s one that’s sure to elicit some strong opinions (minor deals omitted; full details at transaction link)…
- Acquired 2B Robinson Cano and RHP Edwin Diaz from Mariners for OFs Jarred Kelenic and Jay Bruce, RHPs Anthony Swarzak and Gerson Bautista, and $20MM
- Acquired OF Keon Broxton from Brewers for RHPs Bobby Wahl and Adam Hill and 2B Felix Valerio
- Acquired INF/OF J.D. Davis and INF Cody Bohanek from Astros for 2B Luis Santana, OF Ross Adolph and C Scott Manea.
- Acquired RHP Walker Lockett and INF Sam Haggerty from Indians for C Kevin Plawecki
- Acquired RHP Wilmer Font from Rays for RHP Neraldo Catalina
- Acquired RHP Marcus Stroman from Blue Jays for LHP Anthony Kay and RHP Simeon Woods Richardson
- Acquired OF Jake Marisnick from Astros for LHP Blake Taylor and OF Kenedy Corona
(Poll link for app users)
not enough data. even with the Cano trade you can spin ut several ways. still very early on that one to judge.
You can spit it one way and one way only. They lost. They either lose by 100 miles or 10. Depending on how Kelenic and Dunn perform.
Not really. If cano and Diaz help the Mets win WS it wouldn’t be a lost. (I’m not saying this is going to happen.. )
I agree. And if kelenic and or Dunn don’t amount to anything then it is a wash. Diaz was the main piece in the trade and getting rid of a few bad contracts and roster positions too. Cano is a huge price I know, but Diaz doing what he did last year nobody expected. Getting davis was good. We will (hopefully) see this year with marisnick, and we shall see with stroman. And starting alonso all should be acknowledged too. Not saying he is good or gonna be good or he stinks. Just saying that there are other aspects to the moves he made which still have to play out!
Kelenic is a stud and will at minimum be a solid player.
What empirical evidence can justify a claim of such certainty?
findingnimmo, even if Dunn and Kelenic never amount to anything it is still not a wash. The Mets are a big market team that operates with a small market mentality. Going all in on Cano limits their financial flexibility to make other moves and he’s only going to be decline as the years go by.
For the deal to be a wash Edwin Diaz has to bounce back and be one of the best relievers in the game for the rest of his time with the Mets while Dunn and Keleneic don’t amount to much. Otherwise, Cano’s presence nukes the value of the deal because who knows what trades or free agent signings the Mets were kept from completing due to the albatross that is Robinson Cano.
Steve and Goaty Goat Goat
I have a suggestion! Congratulations on the improvement in your hiding your accounts skills! You’re off to a much better start!
There is an issue! You have a major tell! The obsessive need to have a profile pic and usage of the same vernacular! You can’t say “empirical evidence” on both accounts! There’s only 1 person around here who uses that term! You’re tipping your hand!
Keep on keeping on! Hiding in plain sight is the right move!
Oh, c’mon, he got smoked by Trader Jerry on the Cano deal. I give him an F.
No, it’s not. It was a bad trade from the moment it was announced. Relief pitching fluctuates so much, you’re foolish to trade away significant talent for it. Then to add to injury they took back a massively over-paid, over-the-hill, PED-using middle infielder. Um…one of the worst trades in team history…even if Diaz was as good in NY as he was in Seattle.
Robinson Cano is a dead money contract. For the Mets to win Edwin Diaz would have to go back to being a sub 2 ERA closer every year AND both Kelenic and Dunn would have to completely flop.
Let me tell you how that is going to work out
As for the guy on the Mets WS comment… well, the day Thor had TJ is the day that pipe dream ended.
Robinson Cano should have spent a month to six weeks in the IL after he was hit in the hand two or three times in April. His hands weren’t right until July. I have no clue whether he was stubborn or blame should go on the medical staff, Mickey, or someone in the front office, but he looked like he was done when he played hurt and like himself when his hands were healthy. He’s not dead money.
He’s 37 years old and he had a good 185 ABS. He’s owed 24 million a year for the next 3 years. If that isn’t dead money— I don’t know what is. If you’re lucky he’ll hit slightly above the league average next year
It doesn’t matter what Kelenic becomes. It’s what his value was at the time. Given the Cano contract, Diaz & Cano should’ve been for Dunn only and maybe Bautista. Basically throwing in Kelenic instead of maximizing his value (IF you’re moving him) means the trade was a loss the second he pulled the trigger. The other moves besides the Font trade, I had no problem with.
D at best should have hired Bloom
I am pretty sure Bloom withdrew his name
You know this?
He was the runner up and no he didn’t
Mets are a joke because of ownership.
GM has an inpatient fanbase in a tough market. Sometimes you have to roll the dice
That being said. They also must build their farm system in the process.
I gave him a C
First 2 trades he made were brutal!! No reason to give up 3 prospects for a 5th OF. I didn’t hate the Diaz/Cano trade as Diaz was coming off an amazing year but I didn’t like it much either. Spend the money on a reliever, don’t trade top prospects for one and an aging 2b.
loved getting JD from the moment they did it. Stroman was a fair deal.
I believe Justin Dunn went to the Mariners in that deal, too. That makes the deal even more frustrating. What’s fortunate is the deal could’ve been even worse. The Mariners would’ve eaten a lot more of Cano’s contract if the Mets replaced Bautista with McNeil.
Justin Dunn was in that awful Kelenic trade too. Trading for Stroman will be a very bad one too if they don’t re sign him.
Re-signing Stroman won’t justify the trade unless he signs at a significant discount.
No it wouldn’t because trading for him made it less necessary to resign Zach Wheeler.
@yankees7448 No it didn’t. They don’t know that Marcus will stay. Nor do they know that they wouldn’t have been able to sign him if they hadn’t traded for him. It only affects their need for Zack Wheeler in 2020. And there very well might not be a 2020 season.
Some serious sunk cost reasoning here.
Your idea of a sunk cost is ridiculous. If you were talking about a player not performing after a deal, yes. But Stroman is not bad and he needs to be part of their rotation long term to justify what they gave up.
@Afk711 once again you are completely oblivious as to the definition of a “sunk cost.”
No one is saying Marcus Stroman is a sunk cost. They are saying that the prospects surrendered to acquire him (Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson) are. The price has already been paid. Kay and Richardson aren’t coming back.
And no, Stroman being part of their rotation long-term would not justify the trade because they didn’t have to trade for him to be part of their rotation long-term. The same way that signing Betts won’t justify trading for him.
I know exactly how economics works. This is not the same thing no matter how much you want to look it without any human element whatsoever. When you trade prospects for someone you are tying them to the player you receive.. no matter how long beyond their original team control you go. Kay and Woods-Richardson are sunk costs but if you think Brodie doesn’t take the fact he traded them away into consideration when Stro hits free agency your delusional. Stroman is from NY so he very well may take a discount to stay with the Mets. If you don’t think this matters in sports take a look at the NFL where team hold on to former 1st round picks as long as they can even if they clearly are a sunk cost. Betts is a whole different situation with the Dodgers getting David Price at half off in that deal too. No one talks about him, but when healthy could be a more impactful player than anyone LA traded away. Also the qualified offer plays a role in these deals too if the player walks.
The Stroman deal might end up a win. Anthony Kay is a nothing pitcher and will remain in AAA for the foreseeable future. Woods Richardson is the key to the entire deal. Until he makes an impact in the big leagues it’s a win for the Mets, for now.
I wouldn’t call Kay nothing.
He’s got mid rotation upside and should atleast eat some innings for their rotation.
Tanner Roark just got $12 million annually to do what Kay should do Next year for the league minimum. And he’s a lefty. There’s value in that.
Kay is not even a major league pitcher. Therefore he does not have value. If he was a major league calibre pitcher the Jays would not have acquired 3-4 starting pitchers in the offseason. Kay was also lit up in Spring, further exposing him.
Kay is a nothing and was overvalued as a Mets prospect. He is at-best a future reliever at this point. The only chance he has at a mid-rotation slot is by learning a new pitch or new grip. He does not throw enough strikes or hard enough to get by.
All American Johnsonville Dogs
Thanks Johnny Superscout for that insightful heavily opinionated analysis of Anthony Kay.
In the 14 innings he pitched last year there was a huge disparity between his era and pitching estimators.
5.79 era but fip pegged him as 2.64 and xfip pegged him as 3.92. Why such a difference? His LOB% well 57.1% which says he may have been the victim of defense or just a little unlucky in some regard. He did have a decent GB% at 52.3%
He averaged 93.7 mph on his 4 seam and 95.7 on his sinker/curve.
There’s reason to be optimistic about him.
Now why did the blue Jays go out and sign pitchers? Same reason a lot of teams do. You don’t want to overwork your young arms.
Roark was given 2 years and Yamaguchi was given 2 years. Ryu was given 4 expecting to be a highly durable TOR arm. I think Jays will regret that deal but time will tell.
Anyways back to Kay. Is he going to be a front of the line starter? Proba ly not. But seems like he has the tools to be a serviceable back end #4 or #5 over a larger sample size.
Most importantly, his stuff plays well in Toronto as a ground all pitcher.
His ERA, FIP or xFIP are all as equally worthless in a 14 inning sample. Really no point in citing them. Or his spring training stats this year. You need a whole lot more than that. That GB% pf 52% was 12% higher than what he posted in a sufficiently large sample in the minors. So , that again is probably a small sample size bias.
All American Johnsonville Dogs
“Anyways back to Kay. Is he going to be a front of the line starter? Proba ly not. But seems like he has the tools to be a serviceable back end #4 or #5 over a larger sample size”
Thanks for agreeing a larger sample size will show his true capabilities. Thanks for reiterating what I already stated. Appreciate it. You can cross that off your list and get back to reinventing the wheel.
Thank you stat nerd. Always appreciate someone who doesn’t watch a man pitch trying to cite examples of why he’s going to be effective. So, I’ll lay this out so even you can understand:
– Kay is not good enough for the major leagues at 25. He was sent to AAA prior to ST shutting down. The Jays don’t feel he is ready.
– The Jays didn’t feel he was ready last year thanks to their offseason. If they had confidence in his ability to start in the majors he would have had a spot ready for him to have and run with. He didn’t.
– At 25, he still struggles with command. He walks too many guys and at the MLB level the hitters are a little better at capitalizing mistakes.
He does not throw consistent enough. Period. There is no bad luck involved. He lacks command and some question if he can be a starter in the majors. Before stepping in to question me, might want to review his lackluster minor league stats. Seeing you don’t want to confront his real issues and throw excuses in the wind. He isn’t 22 years old; he is 25 who couldn’t even cut it in AAA.
I think Brodie DOESN’T take a lot of things into account….you are giving him way too much credit…I don’t know if it is because you are a homer, and blinded by loyalty, or what…the Mets has a team once called “The Miracle Mets.” The only name that can be applied in recent years is, “The Messy Mets.”
“When you trade prospects for someone you are tying them to the player you receive”
“… no matter how long beyond their original team control you go.”
Nope. Only for the years he came with when they traded for him.
“… if you think Brodie doesn’t take the fact he traded them away into consideration when Stro hits free agency your delusional.”
1. My what is delusional?
2. That’s… not how baseball works.
“Stroman is from NY so he very well may take a discount to stay with the Mets.”
That would be true even if they hadn’t traded for him.
“If you don’t think this matters in sports take a look at the NFL where team hold on to former 1st round picks as long as they can even if they clearly are a sunk cost.”
It doesn’t matter. Part of being a good GM is being able to act rationally and objectively. Granted I wouldn’t necessarily call Brodie a “good” GM.
“Also the qualified offer plays a role in these deals too if the player walks.”
The draft pick from the QO is nowhere near as valuable as the prospects surrendered.
Essentially what you are arguing is that it was necessary to trade those assets for Stroman first in order to sign him later. While you could argue that there MIGHT be some value in getting him familiar and comfortable with the city and organization in advance of his free agency, when you just pay him more money than everyone else on top of that, it negates any benefit early acquisition might have brought.
And even if he were to take a discount, it’s not clear that that discount will be worth more than the surplus value from Kay and Richardson.
@ Johnny Superscout
You sold me on the analysis
How Diaz and Stroman pitch will determine the grade. If Diaz is closer to 2018 it will make the trade worthwhile. Stroman has to take up a lot of the slack in replacing Zach and Thor. A continued improvement from JD will add frosting to the cake.
Taking known players who have up side or past achievements it would be
Diaz,Cano,Davis and Stroman for Kelenick,Bruce,Kay,Swarzak and woods Richardson. All of the other names have to raise their game to count.
BVW takes a lot of heat in NY media. Again Diaz is the key to determine the ranking.
Diaz pitching like the 2018 version of him doesn’t change the fact that the Mets got absolutely throttled in that deal.
If he’s a key cog in getting them to the World Series, it does.
I don’t care how good Diaz is. History shows us do not pay premium prospect for relievers no matter how good they are. Kelenic may not have been a top 20 prospect at the time, but he was still a top 100 guy.
Idk, the Cubs seemed to work out getting Chapman for half a season. I would trade any prospect for a ring. Diaz was that missing piece for the Mets last year that stayed missing. He, with a more average season, would have put the Mets in the post season last year. I expect a much better performance this year if it ever happens
Not really as he almost cost them the WS. Torres wasn’t worth reading for him.
The interesting thing is that every single time I bring up this point, people can only point to this one example of it working, and even then Chapman was not great that post season. No one talks about the countless other high end relievers that switched teams for prospects and then the teams don’t win.
thetruth: “Not really as he almost cost them the WS.”
But he DIDN’T. That’s the important part. He certainly was key in getting them that far.
Ha ha…the missing piece? Ha ha…the Mets had all kinds of missing pieces..
What??? If the Mets are in the playoffs race they will trade for a good 2 or bullpen piece if they need it. You acting like they have many holes… I don’t see many.
At least he didn’t trade Syndergaard.
That was a brilliant non-decision by Brodie. It could not have possibly worked out better for the Mets.
Hindsight really is 20/20 isn’t it?
Really? He really should’ve traded him before TJ
I wanted you to rip off the Rangers last year truthfully.
They really wanted him
Of course they did their rotation in 2018 was total buttcheeks.
Big fat F from me
Color me shocked.
Hard to grade without playing in 2020
Plus Callaway (who he inherited) SUCKED!!!
Everyone is focusing on the Cano, Diaz trade. I think the Stroman one may wind up being just as bad. Woods Richardson is going to soar up prospect charts this season (if there is one).
BVW really comes from the Dombrowski school of GMs in trading any prospects for usable talent now. If you win a WS it looks great, but you are selling your future for it. So WS or no WS, you are screwed for the next 2-5 years.
Mets aren’t really screwed rn tho. Their good players are all young and controllable.
Only upcoming FA are
These rest of the good players I think have 3-5 years left
I wouldn’t say 3-5 years, but they do have a window, maybe 2-3 years. Hope they can achieve something because 2025 is gunna be a hard season for the Mets barring some unforeseen outcomes.
But 2025 Baty Allen Alvarez Mauricio Gimenez and maybe more will probably be up by then so it really doesn’t look as bad and we will have some Mets that are good retained. They are set up better than you think.
Who cares what he does on a prospect chart in the future? They got Stroman for two prospects that were not that highly touted at the time. The trade was great when you factor in that Stroman was highly sought after and the Mets didn’t really give up that much. Most people when it happened roasted the Jays for giving Stroman away for so little. You can’t blame the Mets if prospects improve over time.
I like that logic. Now that I think about it, the White Sox trade from 2016 is a good one. They got a quality if aging starting pitcher (James Shields) for a decent but very young and not touted prospect (Fernando Tatis). I’m sure Rick Hahn feels better about it now too!
My less snarky comment is that trades are made based on the fact that teams have different valuations on players (along with obviously different needs). Evaluating the trade, at the time using ‘industry standards’ discounts the fact that the Padres factored in their higher long-term eval of Tatis into their decision to trade Shields, and they were obviously correct.
Richardson was probably five years away and Stroman was pitching as his team’s #1 in the AL East. There is no guarantee ANY pitcher that young ever throws 1 pitch at the top level. Meanwhile, Stroman is already winning games for the Mets and if we play, will slot is as our #2. Any team who won’t trade an 18 year old half a decade away for a true, proven #2 or 3 vet today when they NEED him will never win anything. If Stroman wins just one playoff game, it doesn’t matter what Richardson ever does for the Blue Jays in 2027.
Richardson becomes Roy Halladay and Stroman wins game 3 of the 5 game NLDS and they lose? That sounds like a bad outcome for the trade.
Not a great trade history by any means, but his trades aren’t really why he’s not a good GM. Trades get a C, which is a higher grade than I’d give him overall with free agents and such considered.
Everybody hates the Kelenic trade. I do too. But the player he stole from the Astros might end up being a better hitter than Kelenic. (Yes Ik Kelenic will probably be the more valuable player bc he played CF and Davis isn’t that good at LF). Kelenic might never be a 900 ops bat in his life. Let’s wait 5 years till we judge these trades.
Agreed. I believe Davis has the tools and mindset to be a successful #3 hitter, which is huge when he’s protecting a polar bear. I think if he’s given a chance to handle 3b every day that he settles in there. An average year got him could respectfully be right around .290 30 95 .850 ops. If that’s between Alonso and Conforto, those three are achieving some top notch run production.
…that’s a lineup that might lead the league in a few positive categories, even with Cano leading the league in double plays hit into.
dave frost nhlpa
The Braxton trade…why? There is no reason to even trade for him.
Meanwhile, the Brewers traded one of the three for Narvaez this off season. And Broxton is back on a minor league deal.
Don’t hire player agents to be your GM I guess.
How about in 5 years we come back and assess these? By then we can compare all (if any) mlb stats the minor leaguers sent away will have accrued to the stats of the players we received while Mets. Then factor in whatever players may have been received if/when Diaz and/or Stroman get flipped.
After Cano (along with Cespedes) finally gets caught his pants down, needle hanging, his contract is finally voided and McNeil gets his best position back where his offensive numbers really stand out.
I really like Davis and hope he finally gets full time at bats. I don’t care HOW high a prospect is ranked, until he helps some major league team win a pennant, the former parent club should ALWAYS be looking to flip unproven talent for genuine known mlb commodities. Or flip aging vets who may still have a year or two good ones left for young talent, like Dickey for d’arnaud and Syndergaard. That was a good risk no matter how it worked out. So let’s check back in 5 years after Stroman is a Yankee, Syndergaard has been cashed in for a draft pick, Wheeler’s draft pick compensation has a known value, Diaz has been dealt to the Phils for Moniak and another pitcher who Philly has mishandled, Rosario is traded to
the reds for Senzel who hadn’t locked a position yet in 2022, Matz is moved to the Astros where he “suddenly” becomes a star and Nimmo has been my packed up to Oakland for two relievers. After all this, see if Brody has packaged any of his other acquired young players for some other serviceable parts. Oh crap, I just overloaded my crystal ball! Any way, how many games have all those young ranked minor leaguers the Marlins traded for when they moved Stanton, Ozuna, Yelich, etc helped the big club win?
Sorry for the rambling post, but one of the primary functions of the minor league system is build marketable talent portfolios for its players to enable other teams to WANT them in return for players they can no longer afford or wish to move when contracts are coming due.
Great teams know how to build up its own minor league system to sell it to other teams for proven mlb upgrades.
I think going into last year, there were many unknowns as far as positions & playing time
Now that everyone had their role essentially, I think it would’ve gelled earlier.
They still won 86 games and finished 3 games out of the WC
People forget, they were 10 games under .500 at the break and they played meaningful games in Sept.
If we look at 100 WAR Albert Pujols its safe to say taking on Cano at 24 mil a year til he’s 40 isn’t going to pan out.
If Diaz wins the Cy Young and Cano wins MVP, then all is forgiven.
All is not forgiven.
If you look closely, the Mets traded Corona to the Astros before the epidemic started. They are to blame for the virus, and knowing beforehand what would happen, they traded him to the Astros to try to put the blame on them because they already would be a prime target for skepticism.
Good humor, 13yearoldbaseballfanatic!!
I hate the “WE CAN”T KNOW UNTIL WE KNOW” Argument. The whole point of these discussions is to speculate about what we think will happen. As long as you have some good reason for your speculation, then I think it is fine to make bold claims.
I agree 100%. It’s a bit like saying ‘let’s wait until the race is over before discussing who to bet on’.
Peart of the game
Wrong Luis Santana is linked, https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=santan002lui is the correct link
That Baseball Fan
You excluded Padres GM AJ Preller from the GM write-up links.
Former player agents have the advantage of knowing all of the good and bad concerning every player. When they negotiate a contract they compare their clients good qualities against a similar player. Doesn’t this information give them an advantage when running a team as GM ?
No matter how committed to a former player they only keep their job if they are successful. If they bring a former client on board it will be because they are convinced that player will be able to help.
Let us not forget BVW’s first year saw a 9 game improvement from the year before. The ultimate goal is to be world champs, even if we may not agree with the method. Forget all the different things that happened and just focus on the 9 game improvement. Ultimately when you look back at all the teams that win the WS, you don’t micro analyze how they did it.
Let’s hope for a season and continued improvement in games won.
Of course, without BVW that 9-game improvement might’ve been a 15-game improvement, and might have made the playoffs.
Think about the amount of games lost by:
That’s -0.8 WAR. Forget about the trade value of Kelenic & Dunn. Had you given me that money, and I picked FAs at random, I might have picked up an additional 5 WAR.
Robinson Cano is making $24MM ($20MM luxury tax) according to Spotrac. I’m curious what people think he’s actually worth (pretend the 2020 season is being played, that he’s reasonably healthy and he isn’t suspended for PED’s). What’s he worth?
$0. Maybe a tanking team would pick up $1M of his salry to whether or not he juices again, and then flip him. But most teams have better players on the bench. Brock Holt is much more valuable, and he is a $3M player.
He’s worth something. The bigger issue is the length. He’s 37 years old. In the second half (less than 200 PA’s but nonetheless) he posted an .880 OPS. For the season he put up a 96 OPS+ which put him in line with Starlin Castro. IMO he’s a 5 million dollar guy on a 1 year deal. The issue is all the years on his contract. If I had to put a value on the entire deal it wouldnt be much higher than that.
I hated the trade the day it happened for the following reasons: 1) Cano prevents Mets signing at a needier position, 2) Blocks O’Neil from his natural position, 3) trade showed a total disregard of the Mets system, with multiple infield prospects and ZERO outfield prospects. Trading future CF major leaguer and possible star Kelenic is incredibly shortsighted IMHO.
Brodie is a Bust!
Is there any way to look up fan reaction after the Diaz/Cano trade when it was made to the remarks that the same people make above who knew better after the fact…isn’t that always the New York fan way…Second guess is second best.
Diaz was horrible and that could be explained many ways…overuse, and or the indecision of Calloway who screwed up everyone’s head with his own inexperience and however he wasn’t Brodie’s hire and he’s no longer here…so we’ll see just how good or bad this bullpen is or will be. Clearly setting a major league record of 23 blown saves kept the Mets from a playoff spot…the rest of the machine worked and the JD Davis trade was a steal as much as others c a be looked at as busts at this time…what will Kelenic turn into…another Nimmo or a a Christian Yelich ? Only time will tell.
Search cano trade. You’ll find an old article