After the Mets announced on Thursday that the team had relieved manager Mickey Callaway of his duties, GM Brodie Van Wagenen and COO Jeff Wilpon discussed the move and answered questions on a conference call with media.
Van Wagenen gave some insight on the team's trade for Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano from the Seattle Mariners on Dec. 3, 2018.
"From my standpoint on the Diaz and the Cano trade, I would say first off that every move that we made last off-season and hopefully every move we'll make going forward is rooted in wanting to win in this current season, and wanting to continue to win in subsequent seasons," Van Wagenen said.
"2019 we had high expectations and ambition, and bringing a middle of the order bat as well as an elite closer in the organization was something that was a priority and we made a priority," Van Wagenen said. "I think that we recognized that we were gonna be giving up good players... some major league players in Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak. As well as some good minor league players."
The Mets ended up trading away Gerson Bautista, Jarred Kelenic, and Justin Dunn in addition to Bruce and Swarzak. They received an additional $20 million from the Mariners to offset Cano's salary.
"We recognized that the minor league players probably weren't gonna make a significant impact in 2019 for sure. And obviously, may make an impact to the Mariners in 2020, but that's a little bit less clear," Van Wagenen said. "We felt like Diaz and Cano would make impacts immediately. And after a great start by Edwin in April, obviously he had some challenges as the year went on."
Diaz, an All-Star closer in 2018, struggled for most of the 2019 season. He gave up 15 ninth-inning home runs, while going 2-7 with a 5.59 ERA.
"I do think that Edwin, personally, took a lot of heat for his performances. I know I did as well," Van Wagenen said. "Edwin still saved 26 games for us this year. I think that's 30 percent of the wins we had... it's far from where we hoped he could be, and it's far from where we believe he will be."
Yes, Diaz did save 26 games for the Mets this season, but it's a major drop-off from the 57 saves he had for Seattle in 2018.
While Cano had a career-low .256 batting average, the second baseman only played in 107 games while missing time with a torn left hamstring in August.
"We feel good about the talent that those two players possess. And we are confident that they both will be helping us make contributions in this upcoming 2020 season," Van Wagenen said.
There have been rumors that the Mets were interested in trading Edwin Diaz, as well as Noah Syndergaard, this summer. However, Van Wagenen shut those rumors down by saying both will be on the team next year.