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The New York Mets expect to contend in 2021, but one key asset could help them acquire more talent.
The Mets have been very, very patient with Edwin Diaz, and they expect him to step in to the everyday closer role come Opening Day. His numbers in spring training have spoken to that expectation — Diaz has allowed just two hits and no runs in five appearances. If he pitches like that, then the Mets don’t have to worry about the scenario I’m going to lay out.
But what happens if things don’t go exactly according to plan?
If we’ve learned anything about Diaz since he was acquired as part of the trade that sent Robinson Cano to New York, it’s that he’s inconsistent. In 2020, Diaz had a huge bounceback season, pitching to a 1.75 ERA and 19 saves. This came after the worst season of his career in 2019 (2-7, 5.59 ERA).
Is there a scenario where the Mets trade Edwin Diaz?
Unfortunately for the Mets, this isn’t a winning scenario. If Diaz pitches poorly, then he’ll be removed from the closer role in Queens. If he does perform well, and the Mets aren’t winning games, then he’ll likely have the most trade return potential. Essentially, there’s very little chance both he and the Mets play well and he gets traded.
So, hopefully for the Mets sake, Diaz is the player they expected him to be when they acquired him before the 2019 season. That, combined with some Mets’ success, means New York will possess one of the best bullpens in the National League — assuming everything works out. A rejuvenated Diaz, Trevor May and Seth Lugo are a solid late-inning trio, if they’re all right.
So, this is a tough question to take. Diaz can be the Mets’ best spring training trade chip, as well as their best hope at a reliable back-end of the bullpen. Both can be true, and the Mets hope they aren’t presented a situation where trading Diaz makes the most sense.