When New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen pulled off the blockbuster trade for closer Edwin Diaz and All-Star infielder Robinson Cano back in December of 2018, it seemed to set the team up for immediate success.
Diaz was the headliner in the deal, having posted a 1.96 ERA and 0.79 WHIP while saving a MLB-high 57 games for the Mariners the previous season. Still only 23 years old at the time, Diaz seemed to have a bright future in the Big Apple.
Following Sunday’s outing against the Yankees, the time has certainly come for New York to cut ties with Diaz and move on from this unmitigated disaster.
Edwin Diaz blows another save against rival Yankees
Up 7-5 in the first game of their doubleheader against New York at Yankee Stadium, the Mets trotted out Diaz for a save opportunity. After registering two outs, it looked like Diaz would be out of the woods. That’s until he gave up a game-tying two-run blast to Aaron Hicks.
Serving up a 98 mile-per-hour pitch on a three-two-count against a Major League Baseball hitter in that part of the strike zone is not a recipe for success.
The Yankees would go on to win this game in the bottom of the eighth via walk-off single from Gio Urshela to take the first game of the twin bill. This represented Diaz’s 10th blown save since joining the Mets. He has 28 saves during that span. Talk about some absolutely brutal stuff.
Following the game, Mets manager Luis Rojas offered full-throated support of his closer.
“We still trust him. We still love his stuff,” Rojas said. “And that’s when he’s going to get the ball, when there’s tight situations.”
Because, that has worked out so well.
During a truncated 60-game season, every play means that much more. Each blown save is like 2.5 during a regular 162-game season. By virtue of the loss (and another Diaz blown save), the Mets moved to 15-18 on the season and are right there with a half dozen other teams looking to earn one of the final two playoff spots in the National League. Again, one blown save can have wide-range ramifications on the Mets’ playoffs hopes.
Time for the Mets to move on from Edwin Diaz?
Earning a base salary of $5.1 million this season ($1.89 million adjusted to 60-game season), Diaz is arbitration eligible through the 2023 campaign. It’s not like the Mets have to move on from Diaz while taking salary back in return. That’s a huge deal given the nature of the team’s ownership situation right now.
It would simply be based on baseball at this point. Van Wagenen might not want to admit his mistake. Under normal circumstances saving face makes sense. That’s until we realize the embattled general manager is already likely out of a job if New York does not earn a playoff spot this season.
In reality, Diaz’s continued presence on the bump in high-stress situations could impact the general manager’s ability to stay with the Mets franchise beyond this fall.
At this point, moving Diaz for a low-level reliever or a minor leaguer seems to be the Mets’ best out heading into Monday’s trade deadline. Jeurys Familia, Seth Lugo and Dellin Betances all have experience closing games. Why continue to throw a lesser version of those three out there? It makes absolutely no sense.
The time is now for Van Wagenen and the Mets’ brass to admit their mistake and move on from Diaz. It really is that simple.