The New York Mets and closer Edwin Díaz have agreed to a five-year extension worth $102 million, CBS Sports HQ's Jim Bowden confirmed. The contract includes an opt-out clause after the third year as well as an option for a sixth year that could make it worth $122 million, per Newsday. Díaz's contract becomes the richest ever given to a relief pitcher, topping the five-year deal worth $86 million deal the New York Yankees gave to Aroldis Chapman in 2016.
Díaz, 28 years old, is fresh off a season that saw him appear 61 times and post a 1.31 ERA (297 ERA+) and a 6.56 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He made his second career All-Star Game appearance, and he figures to receive downballot Cy Young Award consideration this fall, also for the second time.
Díaz was ranked by CBS Sports as the 14th-best free agent on the market on Sunday morning. Here's what we wrote:
Only two pitchers in baseball's recorded history have thrown at least 20 innings in a season and struck out a higher share of batters than Díaz's 50.2 percent mark. Is it any wonder why his Baseball Savant page resembles an orchard, what with all the red bulbs hanging around? Díaz pairs a devastating slider with an upper-90s heater, an unfair combination on paper that becomes lethal in three dimensions thanks to the flatness and the depth of his release point (he gets down the mound and generates more than seven feet of extension from the rubber).
Here are three other things to know about Díaz and his new deal.
1. Why Díaz deserves richest deal
What, the numbers above don't convince you? Díaz has an unbeatable combination of track record and stuff. His 176 ERA+ is the highest mark among the 25 pitchers with at least 150 appearances during the Pandemic Era, speaking to both his quality and his durability. Meanwhile, that ERA+ ranked third among pitchers with at least 30 saves, behind only Emmanuel Clase and Jordan Romano. Díaz also benefitted from good timing -- maybe he fetches less if he wasn't coming off such a great season -- and the good fortune of playing for a team with the wealthiest owner in the sport -- one who, as he continues to demonstrate, isn't afraid to pony up as needed.
And if all that doesn't convince you of why a team would give Díaz $102 million, please consider his entrance:
Sound 'em. 🎺🎺🎺— SNY (@SNYtv) September 1, 2022
(ft. @TimmyTrumpet) pic.twitter.com/kVXRH7u0my
2. How Mets nailed down contract so quickly
It's worth remembering that free agency does not officially start until five days after the World Series (in this case Thursday, Nov. 10). In the interim period, players are allowed to negotiate only with their previous team. The Mets, then, had a leg-up on everyone else in retaining Díaz's services -- provided, of course, they made him an offer he found to his liking. Clearly they did, and so the Mets were able to take the top reliever off the market before anyone else had a chance to make a bid.
3. What comes next for the Mets
Díaz was one of several key Mets hitting the open market this winter, including ace Jacob deGrom, center fielder Brandon Nimmo, and right-hander Chris Bassitt, who declined his part of a mutual option on Sunday morning. Owner Steve Cohen will have to continue to write big checks if he wants to retain all his stars this offseason, let alone add to his collection in the pursuit of the Mets' first World Series championship since 1986.