Last July, according to sources, the Mets contacted the Cincinnati Reds in an effort to trade for reliever Alexis Diaz. New York deemed the price high enough to call into question whether Diaz was available.
For two reasons, the Mets should call the Reds again: One, they have a bullpen to rebuild, and two, their top free agent target is nearly as engaged in Alexis Diaz’s career as he is in his own.
That target, of course, is Edwin Diaz. Alexis is his younger brother -- and according to people who know the Diaz family well, Edwin was extremely engaged in Alexis’ rookie season last year. One friend jokingly referred to Edwin as a “Little League parent” to Alexis and joked that Edwin would join Mets pitching coach Jeremy Hefner on mound visits.
The price for Alexis would be high, befitting a reliever with high-end stuff and five years of team control. After making the Reds somewhat unexpectedly this season, Diaz posted a 1.84 ERA, with 10 saves, in 54 games.
His peripherals are also strong: Per Baseball Savant, Diaz is in the upper echelon in categories such as fastball spin, whiff percentage and expected slugging percentage. Like Edwin, Alexis features a four-seam fastball and slider, though his velocity is a few ticks lower and his command is an occasional work-in-progress.
Diaz-to-Diaz would be a fun late-inning tandem for the Mets, and for the proud older brother who is set to become the highest-paid closer in the history of the game.
The Mets are prioritizing Diaz and Brandon Nimmo above all other internal free agents, and expect to maintain open and consistent communication with Diaz once free agency begins the morning after the conclusion of the World Series.
As they do so, they would be wise to at least check in on the ultimate deal sweetener, a beloved younger brother.