Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Mets Bring Back Diaz, Locking In Their Top Free Agent


Edwin Diaz pitching against the Dodgers on August 21st. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets wasted no time locking up their top free agent as the offseason, as they signed their closer, Edwin Diaz, to a five-year contract.  

There were reports of this signing on Sunday, just one day after the World Series ended, and they made it official on Wednesday afternoon. The value of the deal is $102 million, so Diaz is making just over $20 million per season, and there is a player opt-out clause after the 2025 season and a club option for the 2028 campaign.

This was the right course of action for the Mets, as the value of the deal is not exorbitant and they avoided a bidding war with big money clubs like the Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Los Angeles Dodgers, three teams in search of a closer.

Diaz, 28 years old, had a charmed 2022 season, as he staked his claim as the best closer in baseball, as he had 32 saves with an ERA (earned run average) of 1.31 (9 runs in 62.0 innings pitched), with 118 strikeouts in 62 appearances.

Most notably, his entry into games became an event as he came in to the sounds of Timmy Trumpet's song, "Narco." It became such a sensation that Timmy came in from Australia and played the song live at Citi Field when he entered a Mets-Dodgers game on August 31.

Diaz was an All-Star and earned National League Reliever of the Month honors for three straight months, from June to August 2022.

Mets General Manager Billy Eppler said of Diaz, "Edwin has every attribute we look for in a closer. He's a tremendous competitor, has a burning desire to be the best and possesses the stuff to compete with any hitter in the league. We are thrilled he'll be anchoring our bullpen moving forward."

Diaz joined the Mets ahead of the 2019, as he was brought over from the Seattle Mariners in a December 2018 trade. In four seasons with the Mets, he has appeared in 216 games, and he is 12-15 with 96 saves and a 3.20 ERA (74 ER in 208.1 IP). His 96 saves ranks sixth on the Mets all-time saves leaderboard and he is seventh in Mets history with 356 strikeouts as a reliever. He has the highest strikeout rate (41.6 percent) in team history, and ranks in the top five among Mets relievers in FIP (2.54, second), opponent average (.201, second), WHIP (1.10, fourth), and fWAR (5.9, fifth). 

In 404 career games with Seattle and the Mets, he has 205 saves with a 2.93 ERA (130 ER in 399.1 IP).

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