A pitcher like the Mets 25-year-old closer Edwin Díaz makes things complicated regarding his value. Mostly because during his time in Seattle, he was one of the best closers that the American League had to offer. Especially during his best season in 2018 where he had an impressive ERA of just 1.97 and had collected 57 saves on the season. But this season has painted a slightly different picture.
Díaz was sent to the Mets as apart of the massive deal that took place over the offseason that also brought Robinson Cano to New York.
But now that Díaz is seeing what is statistically the worst season of his career, would it be worth a Red Sox top-level prospect to bring the right-handed closer to Boston?
Let’s take a look at some of the numbers for 2019. Díaz–who again, was one of the league’s best in 2018–has an ERA that sits just below 5.00 at 4.95. In years past, that number sat at 2.79 in 2016 in 49 appearances, 3.27 in 60 appearances in 2017 and again, 1.97 in 73 appearances in 2018.
There’s been a slight pattern regarding the nights where he’s surrendered runs. When it happens, there have been a few times where it’s been in bunches, skewing the ERA a bit. In his 44 appearances on the season, he’s had 10 nights where he’s surrendered a minimum of one run. No matter how many he allows, that’s a number that you don’t want to see. To state the obvious, a closer’s main role is to shut the game down and to not allow a run to cross the plate–duh. But out of those 10 nights, four of them have seen a minimum of three runs score. And three out of those four have seen at least four runs. To reiterate, when he gives up runs, almost half of the time he’s gotten clobbered which includes a game earlier this month where he gave up four earned against Philadelphia in just 0.1 IP. So no matter which way you spin it, Díaz has had himself a rough season, especially for the standards he’s set in the previous three.
The other six appearances show him getting tagged for an earned run each. So while you definitely want to see more success out of the closer spot, his ERA does scream something slightly worse than what he has been. But overall on the season, he’s been shockingly mediocre. By no means is there a defense for the way he’s pitched. But with that, the question becomes, is he worth the Red Sox time and prospects?
Buster Onley stated today that in order for the Red Sox to get this deal done, it’ll most likely take some of their top-level prospects who can both be utilized as third basemen, which is something the Mets could show interest in.
Any Red Sox offer for Edwin Diaz would presumably include minor-league slugger Bobby Dalbec, who is blocked at 3b by the younger Rafael Devers, or 2018 No. 1 pick Triston Casas, in case Mets view him as 3b option. Red Sox confident they will make impact bullpen move.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 29, 2019
Two prospects in Bobby Dalbec and 2018’s first-round pick Triston Casas who are highly touted sluggers but–as Onley states above–are blocked by 22-year-old Rafael Devers at the Major League level.
This isn’t a move that I previously believed should be made due to Díaz’s poor performance at times on the season. With a bullpen that’s had severe trouble, especially at the end of games, why would you bring in a young pitcher who’s also having a down season?
While the Red Sox do need to discover a way to rebuild this baren farm system, dealing away a position player who’s currently blocked by someone who appears to be developing into a year to year all-star in Devers is something that you need to pull the trigger on.
In this case, it makes too much sense. The team’s clear cut, largest necessity has been the closer role. Since the team had elected not to bring a closer in this season to replace future Hall of Famer Craig Kimbrel, it’s been a disaster as they sit with 18 blown saves.
Another factor in this move comes down to the money. A glaring speed bump that the Red Sox have faced is the desire to refrain from spending more as they sit with the league’s highest payroll. Being that Díaz has yet to hit the open market, his total salary this season sat at just $607,425. That would then be prorated making him a dirt-cheap option for the team. Knowing that John Henry is reluctant to spend more, this is the move that makes the most sense.
Contract-wise, following 2019, he still has three years remaining of arbitration eligibility.
If money and prospects weren’t a factor, Kirby Yates or Ken Giles both are players that you should want to see on the roster by the deadline. But with the assumption that there will be organizations with more to offer, expect those price tags to grow slightly in the coming days.
Díaz is someone who can be hit or miss and we’ve watched that since the start of the year. But due to his cheap salary and according to Buster Onley, relatively reasonable asking price for Boston, this move appears to make a lot of sense for both sides. Do you make this move? If you’re the Red Sox and you’re unwilling to make the type of deal to bring in the currently dominant Kirby Yates, then it seems like this is really the only one that you can make.
Would I rather see them bring in someone more reliable? Of course. But in the end, you have to get something done if you’re Dave Dombrowski to bolster this bullpen. And this might be the best move that you can make with the parameters set by ownership and the trade market.