Edwin Diaz
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

No Mets fan wants to discuss it, of course, But star closer Edwin Diaz is a free agent this winter and will command a significant contract.

Diaz has a 1.52 ERA and 29 saves in 53 games and is in the midst of his best season since 2018. He’ll also be the youngest closer on the market by a wide margin. Assuming he keeps up his pace and the Mets have a deep playoff run, Diaz could easily command north of $100 million.

This is where things get complicated for owner Steve Cohen. The Mets have some popular players hitting free agency with Diaz this winter, namely Brandon Nimmo. Two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom also plans on opting out of his $137.5 million deal and trying for a raise on the market.

All signs likely point to Edwin Diaz leaving the Mets, but where? Few teams are willing to pay that much money for a closer, even the rival Yankees. Remember, at the end of this season, they’ll have paid Aroldis Chapman $93 million since 2017. How has that worked out?

Mind you, there’s no way the Yankees will sign Diaz. Clay Holmes was an All-Star this year and is making barely over $1 million. He’ll still be a bargain, even with a raise in arbitration. The Bombers also have cheap in-house options like Scott Effross, Jonathan Loaisiga and Wandy Peralta, among others.


But what if general manager Brian Cashman gets a new contract and decides to do more than just due diligence on Diaz? He’s young, has a lively arm, and can handle New York. He’s almost too tempting to not consider.

If Diaz took his trumpet entrance across the Triborough Bridge, what would happen?

The pitch. Let’s set the stage for this hypothetical signing. The Yankees love their analytics, almost to a fault. In this case, the front office’s stats team informs Cashman that the in-house options are too risky. The veteran GM needs to break from tradition, spend big free agency on a closer, and Diaz is the guy.

The pitch to Diaz’s agents is almost too perfect. Sure, the Mets have a good thing going on, but the window is closing fast. The Yankees, famous for prospect hoarding, do anything they can to keep their own window open. And if Diaz wants to stay a Met, why are they balking at his price? Come to the Bronx, bring Timmy Trumpet along for the ride, and have the most epic Yankee Stadium entrance since Mariano Rivera.

Diaz’s reps give Cohen and the Mets 24 hours to match or up the offer. Cohen misses the call because of extended deGrom negotiations, and Diaz becomes a Yankee. Cohen, naturally, goes on Twitter to complain about negotiations that never were.

The reaction. The Post’s Jon Heyman breaks the news of Diaz signing (because of course he does), and #MetsTwitter explodes. Diaz is the most traitorous of traitors. How dare he join the other side?

Yankees fans, on the other hand, have a field day. Any fan who plays the trumpet gets on TikTok, throws on some Yankees gear, and plays “Narco” to thousands of likes. On his podcast, WFAN legend Mike Francesa laments how the Mets have cost themselves again.

Meanwhile, in the Bronx, Diaz has a press conference along with a newly-extended Aaron Judge and takes some veiled shots at the Mets. Why prioritize the oft-injured ace over the reliable closer who helped carry the team all year? The YES camera crew takes to the empty, wintery field, and “Narco” blasts from the speakers as Diaz trots in from the bullpen.

The results. Opening Day 2023 goes exactly as expected. Timmy Trumpet is flown in and kept on retainer for the entire opening series against the Giants. At least twice, he plays Diaz in from the bullpen as the rowdy Bronx crowd roars in support.

The Mets are no worse for the wear without Diaz, but this one still hurts. The not-so-friendly rivalry is more intense than usual because the Yankees fans have once again gotten overly obnoxious. The Timmy Trumpet phenomenon lives on because, to add insult to injury, Diaz is having another All-Star season. #YankeesTwitter and TikTok are a brass orchestra, and millions strong.

Cut to both legs of the Subway Series, and the scenes around Yankee Stadium and Citi Field are bedlam. It’s practically the cinematic cult classic “The Warriors” outside each ballpark. Four or five Mets fans stand outside Stan’s and twirl bats menacingly for a few minutes. In Queens, hours before the first pitch, a small Yankees contingent surrounds Tom Seaver’s statue and shouts, “Mets fans, come out to play!” via a megaphone.

Of course, Diaz is booed louder at Citi Field than Johnny Damon on his return to Fenway Park. The rivalry becomes so much with all the nonstop trumpeting and overplaying of “Narco,” that most Mets fans leave the Bronx entirely for other boroughs. Those who remain in the Boogie Down head far north to Co-Op City, away from the noise and close to the Westchester County border.

Alright, so that’s a little farfetched, but even so. If the Yankees signed Edwin Diaz in free agency, the Subway Series would never be the same again. And if Jacob deGrom puts on the pinstripes? Well, let’s just say one Billy Joel song in particular might come true, and I don’t mean “New York State of Mind.”

Snap back to reality. All this to say, the Yankees aren’t signing Diaz. Assuming Cashman is still the Yankees’ GM this offseason, he won’t break the bank for a closer. It’s still far more certain Diaz re-signs with the Mets.

But think of the Subway Series and how insane it is now. The 2000 World Series aside, it used to just be about the two teams playing each other for pride. The better team won and the winning fans trash-talked accordingly.

Now, let’s say the Mets make a deep playoff run and Diaz plays a big role in it, and he signs with the Yankees anyway. Even if the reaction isn’t as extreme as we’ve just described, it still changes the rivalry forever. The Yankees would have literally bought something the Mets made a fun trend in the first place and that’s wholly unprecedented. Remember, the Yankees signed Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry off the scrap heap long after the Mets had moved on.

Don’t worry, Mets fans. The Yankees won’t be a factor here at all. But if they turned out to be? Well, we will see.

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Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.