Remember back in the day, a few weeks ago, when it briefly seemed like the Boston Red Sox would make their first splash of a splash-filled offseason by poaching all-world closer Edwin Diaz from the Mets? Nope! Steve Cohen is a quadrillionaire. Next!
Diaz re-upped with the Mets before Chaim Bloom could even blink, so even though he lost the midseason MVP debate to Yankees slugger Aaron Judge (thanks, SNY!), he still clearly lapped the field in the bullpen and was rewarded with significant coin.
Nobody can weather a forthcoming financial storm like Steve Cohen’s Mets. And far be it from us to pooh pooh locking up a star like Diaz. But … has there ever been a high-dollar reliever deal that’s just … fully worked?
What about record-setting reliever deals? Considering Aroldis Chapman held the old record, clearly those don’t always go down smooth.
On Thursday, Diaz took the first step towards someday ending his Mets career with an incorrectly-applied tattoo, officially registering his new contract and all its beautiful deferrals, confirming the lump sum value as over $2 million more than Chapman’s five-year, $86 million deal with the Yankees. Best of luck, Mets! Speaking from experience, don’t buy the jersey.
Edwin Diaz just passed Yankees record contract for Aroldis Chapman. Should be flawless.
Make no mistake: Diaz was absolutely essential to the Mets’ pursuit of the NL East in 2022, a pursuit they ultimately fumbled at the one-yard line. He was as good as a reliever can possibly be, which made him an admirable target for an extension, and also made him someone who was extremely unlikely to reach that peak again.
Imagine telling a Mets fan after 2021 that Diaz was about to receive $100 million? That year, he posted a fringe-average 3.45 ERA. What about after 2019? That year, Diaz was Public Enemy No. 1, posting an almost absurdly unlucky 5.59 ERA, with a laughable 15 homers and 22 walks allowed in 58 innings. 15 homers!
The point here isn’t that Diaz is inept, or even underwhelming. The point is that relievers are historically fungible. Three-year deals for sure things at $12 million AAV have often gone awry (Zack Britton?). Five-year, record-setting deals for volatile closers who’ve yet to experience any sort of catastrophic injury concern?
Again, if anyone can absorb the risk, it’s Cohen. But the chance of things going sideways is nearly 100%.
In the way, Diaz’s Chapman-esque deal isn’t even really a risk? It’s more of an assumed failure, with the only question being when the failure arrives. Again, enjoy! Been there. Shuddered through that.