The Mets started the offseason with a bang, inking closer Edwin Diaz to a record-breaking five-year, $102MM deal. The deal includes a $12MM signing bonus, a full no-trade clause and a team option for a 6th year, which could bring the total value of the deal to $122MM. Diaz will have the ability to opt out of his contract after the third season, when he will be nearly 32 years old. One of the top free agents off the board before free agency opens Thursday afternoon.
Diaz, 28, has been lights out for the Mets in 2022, throwing 62 innings of 1.30 ERA ball. He struck out over half of the batters he faced while walking just 7.7% of batters. He gave up just 3 home runs all year and converted 32 of 35 saves. His fastball/slider combo has always been a nightmare for opposing batters, but in 2022 he relied heavily on his slider, which went to him 58.1% of the time in his mid-30s on normal usage, and the results were impressive. He led the majors in reliever ERA, strikeout rate and fWAR. The strike was very dominant and even. Craig Kimberly2012 effort in relief qualified for third best strikeout in MLB history. Only Arldis ChapmanHis 52.5% mark in 2014 is better, but that compares to an 11.9% walk rate, which is higher than Diaz’s rate this season.
Given Diaz’s historic breakout season, it’s no surprise that he commanded a record deal in relief. It breaks Chapman’s previous mark of five years, signed with the Yankees in 2016, and also gives Diaz the highest average annual value for a reliever, comfortably beating the $20.4MM mark. Liam HendrixPrevious mark of $18MM.
Although Diaz has established himself as the best reliever in baseball this season, the deal represents a fair amount of risk, especially given that Diaz’s career has generally been something of a roller-coaster. After being drafted by the Mariners in the third round of the 2012 draft, Diaz has emerged as a powerhouse arm out of Seattle’s bullpen. He averaged a 2.64 ERA over three seasons in Seattle, including an impressive 2018 season in which he had 57 saves, posted a 1.96 ERA and finished eighth in AL Cy Young voting. That prompted the Mets to buy him that offseason, sending their top prospect Jared Kellenic And take it in bulk Robinson CanoHe has a tough contract to get him. That off-season was also presented by Blockbuster Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarczak, Justin Dunn And Gerson Baptist.
The deal seemed shocking at first, as Diaz was held to a 5.59 ERA in his first season in Queens. He has maintained his strong offensive velocity, but has struggled mightily with his long ball, averaging 2.3 home runs per 9 innings. He could have been a non-competitive candidate that summer, but the Mets stuck with him, and their decision was immediately planted. Diaz bounced back in 2020 in a pandemic-shortened season, curing his long ball woes and posting the best strikeout rate of his career. He experienced a slight decline in 2021, posting a 3.45 ERA, although his performance in advanced indicators like FIP was largely consistent with last season (2.48 in ’21 vs. 2.18 in ’20).
Diaz has become a legitimate superstar of the sport in Queens. His performance speaks for itself, but his entrance to the trumpet at Citi Field captivated all sports and sparked several other theatrical entrances that resembled the atmosphere Diaz’s entrance created. While no reliever is guaranteed, Diaz is the best in the game at what he does, and Mets owner Steve Cohen has shown he’s willing to cash in on signing, or in this case re-signing, the game’s top talent.
It’s the first step in a busy offseason for the Mets. Both their rotation and bullpen will respond significantly. Diaz is set to join. Tommy Hunter, Adam Piccolo, Joel Rodriguez, Trevor May, Seth Lugo And Trevor Williams When relievers go to free agency, while Michael Givens He has a joint option for next year, which means they have to completely rebuild their bullpen. Diaz is a key part of that, but the Mets will still be active in the relief market this summer. Through the cycle of things, Chris Bassitt He has already declined the draft pick and will be a free agent. Jacob said. He is expected to confirm that he will opt for free agency in the coming days. Tyjun Walker With a $7.5MM player option with a $3MM buyout Carlos Carrasco He has a $14MM club option with a $3MM buyout, so the team could be looking for several starters as well. That’s not even getting into the offensive side of the ball, the Mets lose outfielders Brandon Nimmo And Tyler Naquin..
It’s shaping up to be another busy offseason, and could see the Mets’ payroll soar to greater heights. Cohen doesn’t seem too concerned with the payroll, though It has RosterResource. Although that figure doesn’t think deGrom will opt out, the Mets’ payroll is currently $251MM for 2023. Still, the team has spent $282MM on player payroll in 2022, and is sure to spend that or more in 2023 if they’re serious about competing in the tough NL East.
Bob Nightingale of the United States today He first reported that Diaz and the Mets were close to a deal. Jeff Passan of ESPN First, the agreement added an execution and option, opt-out, and no-trade clause. Tim Healy of Newsday It had financial details for an option year and an opt-out period. Athletic Ken Rosenthal It had signing bonus details.