MLB Free Agency: Mets, Edwin Díaz agree to five-year, $102 million deal to start offseason, according to report

The New York Mets and closer Edwin Díaz have agreed to a five-year extension worth $102 million, according to ESPN. The contract includes an opt-out clause after the third year and an option for a sixth year that could be worth $122 million. per newsday. Díaz’s contract becomes the richest ever awarded to a backup pitcher, surpassing the $86 million five-year contract the New York Yankees gave Aroldis Chapman in 2016.

The 28-year-old Díaz has had a season that included 61 appearances and a 1.31 ERA (297 ERA+) and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 6.56. He made his second career All-Star Game appearance and expects to receive his second Downballot Cy Young Award this fall as well.

Díaz was ranked the 14th best free agent in the market by CBS Sports as of Sunday morning. Here’s what we wrote:

Only two pitchers in recorded baseball history have pitched at least 20 innings in a season and hit a higher proportion of batters than Díaz’s 50.2 percent mark. Is it any wonder why his baseball savant side resembles an orchard, what with all those red lightbulbs hanging around? Díaz pairs a devastating slider with a ’90s heater, an unfair combination on paper that becomes deadly in three dimensions thanks to the flatness and the depth of his trigger point (he descends the hill and generates more than two meters of extension from the rubber ).

Here are three more things you should know about Díaz and his new deal.

1. Why Díaz deserves the richest deal

What, the numbers above don’t convince you? Díaz has an unbeatable combination of track record and all. His 176 ERA+ is the highest among the 25 pitchers with at least 150 appearances during the pandemic era, which speaks to both its quality and durability. Meanwhile, this ERA+ ranked third among pitchers with at least 30 saves, behind only Emmanuel Clase and Jordan Romano. Díaz also benefited from good timing – perhaps he’ll fetch less if he doesn’t have such a great season – and the good fortune of playing for a team with the richest owner in the sport – one who continues to demonstrate, doesn’t shy away to jump up if necessary.

And if all of this doesn’t convince you why a team would give Díaz $102 million, please consider his performance:

2. How Mets signed a deal so quickly

It’s worth remembering that free agency doesn’t officially begin until five days after the World Series (in this case, Thursday, November 10). Meanwhile, players are only allowed to negotiate with their previous team. So the Mets had a leg up on everyone else when it came to keeping Díaz’s services—assuming, of course, they made him an offer he liked. Apparently they did, and so the Mets were able to take the top utility car off the market before anyone else had a chance to bid.

3. What’s next for the Mets

Díaz was one of several key Mets to hit the open market this winter, including ace Jacob deGrom, midfielder Brandon Nimmo and right-hander Chris Bassitt, who turned down his end of a mutual option Sunday morning. Owner Steve Cohen will have to keep writing big checks if he’s going to keep all of his stars this offseason, let alone add to his collection in the pursuit of the Mets’ first World Series championship since 1986.


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