The Mets have numerous top trade chips on the market right now, including marquee offseason acquisition Edwin Diaz. The talented young closer remains highly valuable despite his 4.95 ERA, though it’s likewise true that there’s little chance the Mets would be able to recoup what they gave up to get him over the winter. Beyond the fact that Diaz is now just months away from arbitration, the Mets simply paid a hefty fee for Diaz at the outset. In addition to parting with rising prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn, the club took on $64MM in new salary (after netting out the cash and salaries exchanged).
While that’s a particularly painful price in retrospect, the New York organization must now think primarily about what it wants its roster and payroll to look like moving forward. The latest on Diaz and the rest of the closer market:
- Despite Diaz’s struggles in the earned-run department, there’s “significant” demand for his services, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (subscription link). At present, the Dodgers, Rays, Braves, and Padres are teams with active interest. Several of those teams have been linked clearly to Diaz of late.
- While Rosenthal had also listed the Red Sox, who were connected yesterday to Diaz by ESPN.com’s Buster Olney, it seems that possibility has already fizzed. That match “remains unlikely,” Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reports on Twitter. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand adds Raisel Iglesias of the Reds and Shane Greene of the Tigers as other top relievers unlikely to end up in Boston. (Twitter link.) The Braves, on the other hand, do indeed still seem to be in pursuit of Diaz. Per MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, via Twitter, the Mets have continued to examine the Atlanta farm. From the Braves’ side, it seems Diaz is the top target, with starters Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler of ongoing but lesser interest.
- If there’s a clear alternative to Diaz, it’s ace Pirates reliever Felipe Vazquez. The high-octane lefty has hit another gear in 2019, with 14.1 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9 to go with his shiny 1.87 ERA on the season. We’ve seen him connected recently to the Dodgers, but there’s no indication the sides have momentum. Indeed, Rosenthal adds (in the above-linked column) that the Bucs are putting such a high price on Vazquez that he “essentially is not available.” That may be a bargaining ploy to see if a rival comes forward with a monster offer, but it’s certainly understandable that the Pirates aren’t just putting Vazquez up for auction. Rosenthal cites anonymous front office opinion that the Pittsburgh roster doesn’t have enough to compete in the near-term to justify keeping an asset such as Vazquez. That may well be the case, but it doesn’t mean the club should sell him short — particularly after seeing what the M’s were able to pry from the Mets for Diaz last winter.