Diekman, 37, joins the Mets after splitting 2023 between the White Sox and Rays. He posted an awful 7.94 ERA in 13 games with Chicago, but improved to a stellar 2.18 in Tampa Bay. That ended his season at a solid 3.34 mark, and Diekman proved a solid soft contact specialist with a barrel rate in the 88th percentile.
He joins a boosted Mets bullpen that not only has closer Edwin Diaz coming back, but also just brought back Adam Ottavino on a one-year, $4.5 million deal. Sinkerballer Jorge Lopez is Queens-bound as well.
He’s an old arm by now, but Diekman brings the value only a veteran journeyman can. He knows how the league works and is familiar with almost every team. Diekman debuted with the rival Philadelphia Phillies in 2012 and became a decent lefty specialist before being shipped to the Rangers as part of the Cole Hamels trade.
The Mets mark Diekman’s ninth team. Along with the aforementioned teams, he has pitched for the Diamondbacks, Oakland A’s, Red Sox, and Kansas City Royals. The 2024 campaign will mark his 13th year in the majors.
At this point, it’s unclear how new manager Carlos Mendoza will use Jake Diekman. He usually thrives in innings 6-8 and is most certainly not a closer. Diekman’s ninth-inning ERA sits at a bloated 4.55 for his career.
It would make the most sense for the Mets to slot Diekman into his usual role. A reliable bullpen arm who can be ready to go when the matchups call for it. He’ll fit in perfectly next to fellow southpaw Brooks Raley.
Nobody wants to hear it, but the Mets are almost certainly rebuilding this year. However, adding a piece like Jake Diekman means they’ll at least be moderately competitive.