Edwin Díaz electrified Mets fans and the baseball world this season with one of the most dominant seasons for a closer in the past decade. Between striking out seemingly every better he faced and epic walkouts to “Narco,” Díaz put on a show in New York. Now, his epic year for the Mets will net him a significant reward: getting paid very nicely this offseason. While we wrote earlier this week how locking up Diaz long-term should be the Mets’ top priority this winter, the best laid plans often go awry. If it’s not the Mets, here are five other teams that Díaz could bring his pitching talents to.
Phillies. Despite making the postseason and winning the NL pennant, the Phillies have done so without a dominant closer. They had four pitchers record at least five saves this season, with Corey Knebel recording the most at just 12 all year. No matter how this postseason run ends, the Phillies have proved they’re legit. Adding a lockdown closer in Díaz – from a division rival – would put them in contender status for several years to come. And potentially help them chase a second straight championship.
Yankees: Could Díaz be wooed to the Bronx by a hefty paycheck? With the Yankees’ recent embarrassing elimination at the hands of the Astros, general manager Brian Cashman and company will be more eager to spend money than ever before. Clay Holmes was very solid for the Yanks this year, but again, this team will spare no expense when it comes to building a championship contender for 2023. 13 years without a pennant, let alone a World Series, is too long for this organization. They’re going to bring in top, top talent, and a revamped bullpen will be at their top of the Yankees list. Díaz fits the script for what they’re looking for.
Mariners. Former Met Paul Sewald was the Mariners’ closer most of this season, and he was more than effective. But the Mariners have missing a true shutdown 9th inning guy since Díaz last pitched in Seattle in 2018. Not to mention, Sewald allowed runs in postseason games versus both Toronto and Houston, including getting in a jam in Game 1 of the ALDS that eventually saw Seattle falter. With a bitter taste following their first playoff appearance in 21 years, the Mariners will be looking to go all-in. Bringing back Díaz would be the full-circle signing that could catapult this team to the top of the AL West.
Orioles. After trading away their All-Star closer to Minnesota at the trade deadline, the Orioles finished out the season with a rookie as their ninth-inning guy. An 83-79 finish was a massive step forward for these O’s, and heading into 2023, the Orioles are one of the most exciting teams in the entire sport. Their pitching staff is still very much a work in progress, but this budding core will need to sign a star or two if they want to even think about contention. Bringing on Díaz to this young group in Baltimore could shake things up in a tough AL East and put Díaz into a winning situation where he’ll have an immediate impact out of the bullpen.
Red Sox. Boston, despite its struggles this season, never stays down for long. They dealt with injuries to their rotation and no true closer to lock it down late in games. With one of the stronger potential lineups in the league, the Sox should be back to winning ways in 2023. If they want to truly make a splash this offseason, they might consider bringing in Diaz, who’s already proved he can handle the pressure of pitching in a pressure-filled market. The Red Sox have a recent history of memorable closers, from Keith Foulke to Jonathan Papelbon to Koji Uehara. With Díaz pitching at Fenway, the ballpark would have one of the best music duos of any stadium in sports: “Sweet Caroline” in the seventh inning, soon thereafter followed by “Narco” in the ninth.