Over the last week or so, with Kelenic set to face the Mets for the first time since the trade, a bunch of different iterations of “The Mets’ trade of Kelenic doesn’t look so bad now” and “Have the Mets won the Kelenic trade?” have been popping up.
The problem? The Mets’ trade of Kelenic can never be good. Before we dive into why, let’s take a trip back in time to November of 2018…
The thought at the time went like this: The Mets shouldn’t even ponder including one of the most highly thought of prospects in baseball in a deal that amounts to a salary dump for the Mariners — a deal that would have the Mets doing Seattle an enormous favor by ridding them of the final five years of Cano’s deal while taking on most of the financial burden.
For the Mets, their reward for taking on most of Cano’s contract while also dealing Jay Bruce — with Cano entering his age-36 season just one year removed from a PED suspension — would be Diaz. There was no reason why they would have to give up such a valuable asset (Kelenic) while taking on such a distressed one (Cano).
Now, for those who think I’m engaging in my own revisionist history, that is not the case. And there are receipts.
Here’s what I wrote on Nov. 29, 2018, before the trade happened:
In iterations of this deal that had the Mets getting Cano and Diaz while unloading Bruce and giving up a prospect of the non-Kelenic variety, it seemed too good to be true. A deal that has the same general parameters but includes Kelenic? That would be too bad to be true.
The idea of getting Cano (who is 36 years old but still highly productive) while unloading Bruce and adding arguably the best closer in baseball is tantalizing. But if it comes at the expense of Kelenic, the Mets should move on and simply sign one of the many high-impact relievers available on the free agent market.
Yes, many prospects flame out. But so do relievers. And trading the kind of high-impact player Kelenic could be in the deal for Cano makes no sense. Justin Dunn? Sure. Andres Gimenez? Sure. But Kelenic should be off limits.
At this point, I’ll note how valuable Diaz has been as a Met. They should be incredibly thankful they have him and should be making a strong effort to extend him. But again, it should not have taken Kelenic to get Diaz — not when the Mets were taking on Cano’s contract. Another prospect with much lower value? Fine. But not Kelenic.
And that brings us back to why the Mets trading Kelenic in the Cano and Diaz deal will never be good, no matter how Kelenic’s career turns out.
If Kelenic flames out so badly that he’s out of the league in a few years? The Mets still made a mistake by trading him in the deal for Cano and Diaz.
If Kelenic becomes an average player? The Mets still made a mistake by trading him in the deal for Cano and Diaz.
If Kelenic rebounds and becomes a star? The Mets still made a mistake by trading him in the deal for Cano and Diaz, and it will sting that much more.
To reiterate, the Mets traded a top prospect with huge value in a deal where his name shouldn’t have even been allowed to be discussed. It was a terrible allocation of resources, and that can’t be erased.
That doesn’t mean the Mets shouldn’t be thrilled by what they’ve gotten from Diaz (and what they’ll hopefully continue to get from him beyond this season).
And it doesn’t mean that they were unable to absorb the hit of Cano’s sunk cost. Steve Cohen giving the Mets clearance to move on from Cano (who will land with the San Diego Padres) earlier this season was enormous, and helped blunt the mistake that was acquiring him in the first place.
But you can’t get back value that was wasted. And no matter how Kelenic’s career turns out, the Mets trading him in the manner that they did will always be a waste.
Al Horford, Marcus Smart won’t be available for Celtics in Eastern Conference Finals Game 1; Heat will be without Kyle Lowry
The Boston Celtics say Al Horford and Marcus Smart are both out for Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat, who will also have Kyle Lowry (hamstring) out of action, on Tuesday night in Miami.
Horford is in the league’s health and safety protocols, the team announced. And Boston is prepared for the likely scenario of him remaining in the protocols through Game 2 on Thursday, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Smart won’t play due to a midfoot sprain suffered in Boston’s Game 7 win against the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.
Smart, the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, had been listed as questionable for the series opener, with coach Ime Udoka saying Monday that the veteran guard’s foot was “tender and sore” and that he was set to receive round-the-clock treatment for it before testing it ahead of Tuesday’s game.
Horford’s absence, meanwhile, comes as a surprise — and it’s a significant one. He had a big series against the Bucks, including 30 points in a Game 4 win. And he contested 159 shots as the closest defender in the series, the highest mark for any player in a series since Second Spectrum began tracking the stat in 2013-14.
This marks the third time Horford has been placed in the league’s health and safety protocols. He tested positive for COVID-19 during the preseason, and then was placed in the protocols again in December.
Boston will have Robert Williams III available. The center has blossomed into a huge part of Boston’s team this season, playing 61 games while averaging 10 points and 9.6 rebounds — all career-highs. But he missed the end of the regular season and the beginning of the playoffs after undergoing surgery on his left knee, and then missed time against Milwaukee with a bone bruise in the same knee. He was available for Game 7 against the Bucks but did not play.
Sources told Wojnarowski that Williams had a couple good days of practice and should be able to play significant minutes in Game 1 on Tuesday night.
News of the absences of both Smart and Horford had an immediate sports betting impact. The Game 1 point spread moved from Heat -2.5 to Heat -4 at Caesars Sportsbook.
Charles Barkley picks Mavericks over Warriors for interesting reason
Barkley’s interesting reason for picking Mavs over Warriors originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Charles Barkley made his pick during “Inside the NBA” on Sunday after watching the Mavericks’ shocking Game 7 upset over the Phoenix Suns — and he thinks Dallas is well on its way to another playoff stunner.
But his reason why might surprise you.
“I think the Mavs are going to be better at small ball because of Luka [Dončić]. Nobody can handle that dude one-on-one,” Barkley said. “And if [Jalen] Brunson and [Spencer] Dinwiddie keep playing like they’re playing, this team is going to be tough to beat.
“So I’m going with the upset. I’m going with the Mavs.”
It’s true that the No. 3-seeded Warriors will have their work cut out for them with the No. 4-seeded Mavericks, but Barkley’s assumption that Dallas will prevail when it comes to small ball is questionable at best.
Golden State has been known for its small-ball efficiency not only this postseason but in past years as well, first with the original “Death Lineup” that featured Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala — a blend of smaller players who were still versatile enough to hold their own against larger opponents.
That strategy was reborn this season as the Warriors’ high-scoring, small-ball lineup of the Splash Brothers, Green, Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole decimated the Denver Nuggets during the opening playoff round.
The Dubs were forced to go big in the semifinal round, however, in order to power past the Memphis Grizzlies and advance, with Kevon Looney stepping up in a huge way to bully and bash his way to a game-saving 22 rebounds against the Ja Morant-less lineup in Game 6.
And while it remains to be seen how Golden State’s new small-ball lineup will fare against the Mavericks — if the five see the court together at all — Barkley would be smart to remember the Warriors’ reputation when it comes to big things coming in small packages.
As far as “nobody” being able to handle Dončić, the Warriors are up for the challenge no matter who’s on the floor.
Liverpool beat Southampton to take title race to final day
Jurgen Klopp rated Liverpool’s chances of winning the Premier League as “not likely but possible” after the under-strength quadruple chasers took the title race to the final day of the season with a 2-1 win against Southampton on Tuesday.
After Liverpool defeated Chelsea on penalties in a gruelling FA Cup final just three days earlier, Klopp took a gamble with nine changes at St Mary’s.
Despite effectively fielding a reserve team and trailing to Nathan Redmond’s early strike, Liverpool hit back through goals from Takumi Minamino and Joel Matip.
The Reds are just one point behind leaders Manchester City, with both teams having one game left.
A title race for the ages will go City’s way if they win against Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Klopp insisted at the weekend that he does not expect City to drop points against Villa.
But Liverpool would be crowned champions for the second time in three seasons if they beat Wolves at Anfield and City fail to win.
“Of course it is unlikely because City play at home against Aston Villa, who play only on Thursday. It is possible, not likely but possible. That is enough,” Klopp said.
“It is our last home game of the season, the atmosphere will be outstanding, and we will try to use it.
“Of course it could happen. Football is a tricky game sometimes. The only chance we had tonight was to win. We did our job. We never give up.”
Klopp’s side will be expected to do their part of the equation against Wolves, especially now their refreshed key players can return to the team.
Sadio Mane, Luis Diaz, Andrew Robertson, Thiago Alcantara and Trent Alexander-Arnold were among those left out against Southampton, while Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk were sidelined with injuries suffered at Wembley.
“I never had a group like this. They push each other constantly. In the end, it is absolutely outstanding and tonight is really special,” Klopp said.
“We would have had much more problems today if we’d played the guys who played 120 minutes on Saturday.
“If it hadn’t worked out, it would have been 100 per cent my responsibility. Now it worked out and the boys should be really proud of that.”
– History bid –
City boss Pep Guardiola said he planned to watch the game on television and if he tuned in, it would have made for frustrating viewing as Southampton squandered the lead.
But it was Riyad Mahrez’s missed penalty in the final minutes of City’s 2-2 draw at West Ham on Sunday which had given Liverpool renewed hope of catching the leaders.
And the Reds, hoping to become the first English club to win all four major trophies in one season, will settle their bid for historyin the last two games of their incredible, marathon campaign.
First, Liverpool will try to avoid a repeat of 2019, when they beat Wolves on the last day but were still pipped to the title by City.
Then they head to Paris to face Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 28.
Liverpool were hit on the break when Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side took the lead after 13 minutes.
Redmond sprinted away down the left flank, cutting inside to the edge of the area and unleashed a fierce strike that took a deflection off James Milner as it flashed into the far corner.
With their title hopes in jeopardy, Liverpool showed the desire and character that inspired Klopp to label them “mentality monsters”.
Japan forward Minamino made the most of a rare Premier League start with a brilliant equaliser in the 27th minute.
Joe Gomez fizzed a pass into Jota and his perfectly weighted lay-off reached Minamino, who beat Alex McCarthy at the near post with a ferocious rising drive.
Liverpool’s relentless pressure was rewarded in the 67th minute.
Matip and Kyle Walker-Peters challenged for Tsimikas’s corner and the ball looped in over McCarthy, forcing City to keep the champagne on ice for now.
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