This isn’t just one of the largest contracts in franchise history, folks. It’s the first time a reliever has earned a deal worth more than $100 million. Diaz’s annual average value of $20.4 million is also a new record for arm-barn pitchers.
Tim Healey of Newsday provided more details on this huge agreement. While this is a five-year pact, there’s a team option for a sixth year. If exercised, the total value would be $122 million. Diaz does have an opt-out after his third season, but he won’t be leaving Flushing unless he signs off on it. The star closer also secured a no-trade clause.
While not many of us were expecting to see Steve Cohen, Billy Eppler, and Co. toss around $100 million on the first official day of the offseason, this wasn’t shocking. In fact, this quick agreement was something both Diaz and the Mets wanted.
In the aftermath of New York getting eliminated from the postseason, Edwin Diaz plainly said he hoped the Mets would approach him quickly in negotiations:
I think we got to wait until the season’s over. I hope the team comes to me quick to talk. I hope we get the best offer. We’ll take the best offer for me and my family…I hope I can come back here. If not, I understand it’s a business. We’ll go the best way with my family.
The best-for-his-family part became clearer as the calendar kept creeping toward November. Diaz and his representation were eyeing Aroldis Chapman’s record deal of five years and $86 million. The right-hander also saw this as an opportunity to forge a new path for relievers that come after him.
His wish of getting something done quickly and getting the best deal for his family were both granted on Sunday.
As for the Mets, we know they’ve got tons of free-agent decisions to make. From the beginning, though, Diaz was reportedly at the top of New York’s wishlist. While one report tabbed him and Brandon Nimmo as the Mets’ top priorities to start the winter, another said New York didn’t even want its closer to hit the open market at all.
To make that a reality, Eppler knew what had to happen. The Mets needed to offer a record deal that Diaz couldn’t possibly refuse. The combination of that and simply wanting to return and play for the Mets was too much to pass up.
Awarding that much money to a reliever can be risky with how volatile bullpen production can be. However, Diaz established himself as baseball’s best closer in 2022. And since a rough debut with the Mets in 2019, he’s been New York’s most consistent and best reliever.
And when looking at the Mets’ pitching staff before free agency started, it was quite bare. Max Scherzer was the only established veteran guaranteed to come back, and there was no anchor in the bullpen.
Well, now that Mets have that in Edwin Diaz. It took a record-breaking amount of money, but this was a crucial to-do list item they quickly crossed off. Doing so enables the front office to focus on other roster needs, which includes building a relief corps around Mr. Narco himself.
This is quite easily a win-win situation for all parties involved. And for the Mets, it’s just the beginning of what’s sure to be a winter full of big contracts.