3) Edwin Diaz has gone from villain to New York Mets cult hero in 2022
When the Mets made the trade for Edwin Diaz, it had executives, scouts, media, and fans not only scratching their heads, but arguing about the deal. Diaz was coming off a season in 2018 when he led the League with 57 saves for the Seattle Mariners. That was enticing enough for the Mets to take a major headache – Robinson Cano – off of the Mariners hands and also hand over top prospect Jarred Kelenic.
Diaz introduced himself to New York Mets fans by saving 28 games in 2019. He saved 28 games but blew so many more, giving up 58 hits in 58 innings, 15 of them of the “out of the park” variety…on his way to a 2-7 record and a horrendous 5.59 ERA.
The shortened 2020 season turned out to be more like what was advertised, as Diaz rebounded with a 1.75 ERA and struck out 50 hitters in 25 2/3 innings, while going 2-1 and saving six games. But then he had a pedestrian 2021. Diaz went 5-6 with a 3.45 ERA and 32 saves. He struck out 89 hitters in 62 2/3 innings.
Diaz had become as frustrating to Mets fans as guys like Doug Sisk, Armando Benitez, and, dare I say it, Oliver Perez. There was a sense of doom when those guys would be handed the ball…and it began to feel like that with Edwin Diaz. You expected to hear a bugle with Taps softly played.
Who would have ever expected to hear the blaring sounds of trumpets and fans gleefully clapping their hands and stomping their feet each time Diaz is summoned from the bullpen?
Diaz has won over Mets fans by turning in a, thus far, super human performance. In 49 appearances he has thrown 49 1/3 innings, striking out an astounding 97 batters. He has pitched to a career best 1.46 ERA and a WHIP of 0.892.
Diaz can be a free agent after this season. And he is going to be drawing a lot of interest from teams in search of a closer. Diaz has earned his chance at a big contract with the Mets, just as he has rightfully earned his status this year as the newly anointed Mets cult hero.