3 Mets players who had great performances in their free agent season

Pete Alonso is not the first time we crossed our fingers heading into free agency.
New York Mets v Florida Marlins
New York Mets v Florida Marlins / Ronald C. Modra/GettyImages
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3. Edwin Diaz 2022

The Mets have seen the best and worst in back-end relief pitchers throughout their history. Dating back to Jesse Orosco, the franchise has had success-altering closers that make or break their seasons. John Franco engrained himself to Mets fans in the 1990s but was not always trustworthy. Armondo Benitez was dominant in 2000 until the World Series where even he could not stop the dynasty New York Yankees. Jeurys Familia replicated this performance except against the Kansas City Royals in 2015. Even the 2007 and 2008 collapses in September were highlighted by Billy Wagner missing time.

Of all the closers in Mets history, none were more befuddling than Edwin Diaz. Acquired in December of 2018 along with second baseman Robinson Cano, Diaz was coming off an elite season with the Seattle Mariners. He pitched to a 1.96 ERA with 124 strikeouts in just 73.1 innings and a league-leading 57 saves. However, the 25-year-old closer never replicated this performance through his first 3 seasons in New York. His 5.59 ERA in 2019 cost the team a postseason berth, while he was very mediocre in 2020 and 2021. Heading into his free agent year of 2022, fans expected no different.

Diaz was determined to brush aside the 'can't handle New York' label and earn himself the contract he envisioned in 2018. The 28-year-old pitched to a 1.31 ERA in 62 innings with 118 strikeouts. He recorded 32 saves in 35 opportunities, a low number since Buck Showalter would utilize Diaz in the 7th and 8th innings at times. Luckily for fans who wanted the star closer back, Steve Cohen is now in charge of team finances. Diaz was rewarded for his efforts and epic turnaround with a 5-year contract worth a relief pitcher's record-breaking $102 million.