Mets fans and talking heads need to stop trying to trade Edwin Diaz

·4 min read
Edwin Diaz screams after save against Yankees September 2021 TREATED ART
Edwin Diaz screams after save against Yankees September 2021 TREATED ART

Understandably lost in the shuffle a bit against the Yankees as Francisco Lindor crushed three home runs and got into it with the team over its alleged whistling and sign-stealing (leading to a benches clearing incident) was Edwin Diaz locking down one of the most high-pressure saves of his Mets career.

Entering a 7-6 game in the top of the ninth, Diaz struck out Rougned Odor. He then allowed a single to DJ LeMahieu before walking Anthony Rizzo in what appeared at the time to be a pitch-around, and what Diaz confirmed after the game was a pitch-around.

According to Diaz, he preferred to face Brett Gardner (whom he overmatched and got swinging on a slider) and Giancarlo Stanton (whom he got to pop out on a fastball up and in to end the game).

The result was Diaz exalting near the mound after one of the Mets' most emotional regular season wins in recent memory.

Diaz then tossed a perfect inning his next time out, this past Tuesday against the St. Louis Cardinals.

And while the save against the Yankees does not prove anything one way or the other about Diaz, it should serve as a reminder that he is a damn good closer and has been one since last season.

In 2020 and 2021 combined, here are the numbers Diaz has put up:

  • 3.13 ERA (2.44 FIP)

  • 1.17 WHIP

  • 14.3 K/9

  • 0.5 HR/9

For all those who want to point to Diaz's blown save totals over the last two seasons as evidence of him not being a good closer, I'll counter with...

1. The blown save stat is flawed and a poor way to measure a pitcher's effectiveness

And

2. If you're going to get into a blown saves debate over Diaz as it pertains to the 2020 and 2021 seasons, you should be prepared to hear that a number of them were games where Diaz entered an existing mess. There are of course others where the failure is 100 percent his, but that does not set him apart in a bad way from other elite closers

One example? The otherworldly Josh Hader blew five saves in 2018 and seven saves in 2019 during the most dominant stretch of his career.

When it comes to Diaz, there is a large swath of Mets fans who feed off when he fails, with them spamming Twitter with calls to trade him.

Part of that has to do with PTSD from Diaz's rough 2019, and part of it has to do with the fact that Diaz was acquired in the trade for Jarred Kelenic, who (ahem) has been one of the worst hitters in baseball this season.

Then there are some talking heads who race to try to remove Diaz from the closer's role and/or push the Mets to trade him every time he has a shaky outing.

Aug 31, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets pitcher Edwin Diaz (39) delivers against the Miami Marlins during the seventh inning at Citi Field.
Aug 31, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets pitcher Edwin Diaz (39) delivers against the Miami Marlins during the seventh inning at Citi Field.

What's so ridiculous about the Diaz situation is that when he goes on absolutely dominant stretches where he is nearly unhittable, like the one he was on a few weeks ago, there are usually crickets from most fans and talking heads.

In 15 games spanning 16 innings from July 23 to Sept. 15, Diaz was scored upon in exactly one appearance. During that stretch, he allowed six hits, walked three, and struck out 23. There was silence.

Right after that stretch, he blew back-to-back saves against the Washington Nationals. One came on a homer to Juan Soto and a bloop hit in a game the Mets won, and the other was a truly poor performance.

While there were crickets during Diaz's absolutely dominant stretch, there were calls for his job and the end of his Mets tenure after two blown saves that immediately followed it, one of which was fluky.

Look, it is fair for fans to be incensed when saves are blown. Fandom is emotional. And it is understandable that when it comes to talking heads, rage and negativity often engages more than rational thought.

But with Edwin Diaz the last two seasons, the Mets have gotten what they traded for: a mostly dominant and reliable closer with the stuff to match.

And for those who continue to claim that Diaz can't handle the New York market, there has simply been no sign of that over the last two seasons.

The Mets will likely have a lot of work to do this offseason, but when it comes to the closer, they already have a really good one -- whether some people admit it or not.