Major League Baseball’s trade deadline is less than 48 hours away which means the proverbial “Hot Stove” has never been any hotter than it is right now. Teams and executives are having persistent conversations regarding potential deals and players that could be on the move in the next few days.
One particular player who has commanded much attention around this year’s trade deadline is the New York Mets’ young closer, Edwin Diaz. He was traded to the Mets from the Seattle Mariners last offseason along with Robinson Cano as part of a big, and somewhat shocking, seven-player deal.
Diaz, 25, has struggled mightily in his 2019 campaign with the Mets, posting a 1-6 record with a bloated 4.95 ERA in 44 games. This season has been a stark contrast to his 2018 season, during which he notched 57 saves with Seattle while finishing the year with a whopping 124 strikeouts and posting a 1.96 ERA in 73 games.
Diaz has always had the talent and the makeup of a true shutdown closer since entering the league back in 2016. Now, the combination of his poor 2019 season along with the determination of the Mets to restock and reload at the trade deadline has made him available for a trade, and the Boston Red Sox appear to be a leading candidate to acquire him.
The Red Sox are coming off an impressive weekend at Fenway Park in which they took three out of four games against the division-leading New York Yankees. Boston’s offense sparked to life this past weekend and showed that when the team plays to its highest potential it can be a serious threat to any opponent in the postseason. However, the strong weekend against their division rivals does not change the fact that the Red Sox are a flawed team that needs to make a deal of some kind to help them compete as the race to the playoffs draws near.
This is where a potential trade for Edwin Diaz comes in, as ESPN’s Buster Olney speculated late last night.
There is confidence in Red Sox organization that they can make an impactful deal before the deadline. Speculation: Edwin Diaz makes a lot of sense for Boston, not only for what he could add this year, but his minimal salary for this year fits in ownership parameters.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 28, 2019
Olney then followed up that speculation earlier on Monday with some further details on what the Mets might be seeking in return for Diaz in a trade with Boston.
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
Should that truly be the case then it would greatly behoove the Red Sox to pursue a trade for Edwin Diaz, and there are three strong reasons as to why.
1.) Diaz is a smart “buy low” investment
As highlighted earlier, Diaz is having an extremely poor season with the Mets up to this point in 2019. However, his paltry numbers this season serve as nothing more than an outlier compared to his numbers throughout the rest of his career. The Mets are an abject disaster this season, and it is fair to speculate that the chaotic and toxic environment that has been created in the team’s clubhouse has negatively affected Diaz and his ability to perform at a high level. A change of scenery could be exactly what a talented pitcher like Diaz needs to regain his form. A trade to Boston not only provides a change of scenery but it sends Diaz over to a winning organization with strong coaching and strong team leadership and camaraderie. With Diaz being just 25 years old it is highly probable that a new team and a better environment will bring out the true potential that he possesses.
2.) Diaz has three more years of team control
Not only is Diaz is a smart investment, but he is also an inexpensive investment for the Boston Red Sox. He is only making $607,425 for the 2019 season and is slated for arbitration through the 2022 season. Thus, Boston would not be obligated to sign Diaz to a big-money contract for another three years. He is not a rental by any means due to his contract situation, which makes him even more appealing to a Red Sox team that is currently without a true closer. Diaz can step directly into the closer role for not only the remainder of the 2019 season but for the next several years until he finally hits free agency.
3.) The Red Sox can afford the asking price
If what Buster Olney reported is true, and it likely is, then the asking price is not too high for the Red Sox by any means. Bobby Dalbec appears to be the key piece that the Mets want in return for Diaz, and the Red Sox should not balk at the chance to make the deal if that is the case. Dalbec, 24, is a third baseman in the Red Sox Double-A affiliate in Portland. He is known for having a lot of power and has shown that so far, hitting 72 home runs in four minor league seasons with Boston. However, the Red Sox already have a franchise third baseman in Rafael Devers which makes is highly unlikely that Dalbec ever finds a spot on the big league roster with the Red Sox. Giving up a top prospect is a hard pill to swallow for the Red Sox given how weak their farm system has become, but Diaz’s young age and years of team control make him worth the sacrifice.
Whether or not this rumored deal comes to fruition remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that it would benefit both organizations in the long run. The Red Sox could obtain a talented young pitcher at a low price tag with years of team control attached to him. Meanwhile, the Mets can bolster their farm system and potentially fill the whole they will eventually have at the third base position. Plus, the Mets dealing Diaz to Boston indirectly hurts the cross-town rival New York Yankees which is always an added bonus.
Edwin Diaz being dealt to the Boston Red Sox could drastically affect the American League Wild Card race, and we will find out in less than 72 hours whether or not it happens.