Will the Mets Regret Trading Jarred Kelenic?

In 2018, the Mets gave their number one prospect to the Seattle Mariners. This was perhaps one of the greatest mistakes made in franchise history. The Mets traded Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn for second-basemen Robinson Cano and reliever Edwin Diaz. On May 13, 2021, Kelenic was brought up by the Mariners to the Major Leagues. 

Controversy and Cano

Robinson Cano is an eight-time All-Star and has 2,624 hits in his career. He possesses the ninth-most hits for a second baseman in baseball history. Those in front of him all have plaques in Cooperstown. 

However, the second baseman was suspended for the 2021 season after testing positive for PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs) a second time. He failed his first drug test with the Seattle Mariners, which resulted in an 80 game suspension. Six months later, the Mets traded their best prospect for him. 

In the initial scandal, Cano stated that he “would never do anything to cheat the rules of the game that I love.” He claimed that he was given the drugs by a doctor in the Dominican Republican as a medical ailment. The details of this consultation have not been revealed. 

Cano’s inability to participate this season has forced New York to make modifications to their lineup. Most notably, Jeff McNeil has had to play at second base. Cano’s absence serves as a painful reminder of the mistake that the Mets made. While Cano is sitting on the sidelines, Jarred Kelenic is starting to make his imprint in Major League Baseball. 

Jarred Kelenic is Already on the Rise

The Mets acquired Kelenic as the sixth overall pick in the 2018 draft. When he was traded to the Mariners, Seattle placed him in the minors to give him time to develop. 

However, due to the pandemic and the cancellation of the minor league’s 2020 season, plans needed to be rearranged. Kelenic was sent to the Mariners training camp to prepare for major league baseball. Starting in the 2021 season, he played for the Tacoma Rainiers of the Triple-A West league. 

Kelenic was also determined to be a Top 5 prospect for the 2021 season. Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto knew that he was not ready to play on a major league team. Nevertheless, he planned to bring up Kelenic by the end of this season.

In his debut, he recorded no hits. Two days later, however, Kelenic recorded his first MLB hit with a homer. The 21-year-old outfielder is already proving his spot in Major League Baseball. Kelenic could be a future All-Star for Seattle, thus proving New York’s incredible mistake.

The Mets Aren’t Completely Empty-Handed

During the trade, the Mets acquired closer Edwin Diaz from Seattle. His 2019 season stats did not meet the expectations of New York. But since then, Diaz’s performance has risen completely.

In the 2020 season, he produced an overall 1.75 ERA and only allowed one hit in his final twelve appearances. Coach Luis Rojas emphasized this by saying, “Diaz had a tremendous year — one of the best years for a reliever in the season, I thought.”

As for this season, Edwin Diaz continues to improve. He has not let up a single run in a save situation and has seven saves so far. He is starting to exhibit the numbers that New York traded for.

Winners and Losers

The Mariners came out of this trade successfully and the effects of it are still being felt by the Mets.

Cano is unreliable and the Mets can not put faith in him. However, Edwin Diaz’s improvement should provide a little faith for New York. As his performance has improved, the Mets have trusted him to close out games as their primary closer.

The Mets most definitely got the short end of the stick in this trade. Kelenic’s major league debut will remind New York of this. As the outfielder becomes more comfortable and improves his game, the Mets will have to deal with the fact that they traded away an amazing opportunity.

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