And now the Mets are at least willing to listen to trade offers for the 2018 MLB saves leader, a source confirmed to Yahoo Sports. However, a deal is viewed as unlikely since the Mets would want a notable haul, including at least one elite prospect in return.
“I don’t really have a reaction to it," Diaz said through interpreter Alan Suriel on Wednesday afternoon. "My job is to go on the mound every day whenever they call me to do my job. I’m happy to be here. It’s out of my control.”
The Mets landed Diaz – and Robinson Cano – in a deal with the Seattle Mariners this offseason that sent Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak and three prospects, the headliner, outfielder Jarred Kelenic, being elite in his own right.
At the time of the December trade, a mighty splash for rookie general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, the Mets were willing to relinquish a top prospect to land an established closer in Diaz, who is under team control through the 2023 season.
But the deal has largely been a flop thus far, and the Mets have plenty of reason to listen on an offer that might provide them a mulligan.
New York (46-54) is 13 games back of the NL East division lead and entered Wednesday tied for the second-worst record in the National League.
Van Wagenen brought in Diaz and Cano to help make the Mets contenders, but both have contributed to the team's shortcomings. Even though there has been a distinct improvement in the second half, neither have lived up to expectations with Diaz posting a 4.81 ERA, and Cano already showing his age defensively.
While the Mets are not actively shopping Diaz, listening to offers is advisable with a third consecutive losing season on the horizon. Young talent like Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil provide the Mets with pieces to contend, but they also recognize their current reality.
Diaz, despite a down year, is still extremely valuable, especially in what’s largely been a down year for relievers. The closer is making $607,425 this year, and enters arbitration for the first time this offseason. He’ll cost less than most elite relievers for the next couple years, but the prospect price tag is far greater than that of a rental.
The Mets are well within reason to ask for a large haul for Diaz, even if no team may come close to meeting it.
Having already been traded, Diaz admitted he sometimes checks for his name in rumors but was unsurprised and unbothered by his name being mentioned.
“It has a more calming effect,” Diaz said. “I got to keep doing my job. I’m happy here, would be happy to keep pitching here. If something happens, it happens, but I don’t worry about that.”
Prying Diaz away would take a deal not unlike the one that got him to New York in the first place.
That trade, which also included right-hander Justin Dunn, left the team’s farm system relatively thin. Kelenic, the Mets’ 2018 first-rounder at No. 6 overall, also has superstar potential and Dunn projects to be an impact player for Seattle in the near future.
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