Well the offseason is starting with a bang. Or a trumpet, at least.
It was expected that closer Edwin Diaz would be among the New York Mets’ highest priority re-signings this offseason from their large free agent class. It was not necessarily expected that he would be signing this quickly or this massively, though:
Diaz, 28, was absolutely otherworldly this past season, pairing a 1.31 ERA with a 0.90 FIP over 62.0 innings. His strikeout rate was a comical 50.2%, and the walk rate was just 7.7%. He was about as good as a reliever can be, and the Mets are therefore giving him the best contract we’ve ever seen for a reliever.
The question is whether the Diaz signing is a market-mover for other top relievers, or if he’s just such a unique one-off – with a uniquely spend-aggressive team – that his contract will stand alone for a decade.
As for the Mets, we’re going to find out very quickly just how deep owner Steve Cohen’s pockets go. In order to merely keep the band together, the Mets’ payroll was going to have to balloon to something like $350 million from last season’s already-sky-high $300 million.
Free agency officially started today, but players cannot sign with new teams until Thursday. So if you want to lock down an internal free agent like Diaz, you’ve got these five days to do it. Clearly, the Mets were ready to make it happen immediately, and didn’t even give Diaz a chance to see what might be out there in the market for him. Probably the right call for him: once the Mets made him a Qualifying Offer, he would’ve been attached to draft pick compensation, which theoretically could’ve dinged his price tag by $10+ million in the eyes of some teams. So, again in theory, his best deal might’ve been available with the Mets anyway.