New York Mets reliever Edwin Diaz is a man on a mission.
The Mets acquired Diaz from the Seattle Mariners in December 2018. The Mets also corralled infielder Robinson Cano while sending prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn, relievers Anthony Swarzak and Gerson Bautista and outfielder Jay Bruce to Seattle.
Diaz is coming off a discouraging debut season with the Mets. Recording a 5.59 ERA and 1.38 WHIP while surrendering 15 home runs and blowing seven save opportunities, the right-handed reliever struggled to find his footing.
â€œMy mentality has always been that Iâ€™m a closer, despite even what happened last year,â€ Diaz said through an interpreter following a Friday afternoon workout at Citi Field. â€œThis offseason I went in and trained hard, I worked on different things that gave me the confidence that made me feel that I could be the closer of this team.”
Diaz is a year removed from making the American League All-Star Game roster and winning the Mariano Rivera AL Reliever of the Year Award with the Mariners. That season, 2018, he recorded a 1.96 ERA and 0.79 WHIP while totaling 124 strikeouts and converting 57-of-61 save opportunities.
Diaz is out to prove that he’s worthy of being the Mets closer this season.
â€œNow, going into this second spring training, Iâ€™m going to try to prove during these next two to three weeks that I can be the closer of this team.â€
New York’s bullpen struggled to finish games last season. They were 28th in MLB in BABIP (.312), 26th in ERA (4.99), 22nd in home runs per nine innings (1.47) and 19th in FIP (4.71) and walks per nine innings (3.93) while being 28th in innings pitched (519.2).
The Mets finished last season 86-76, good for third place in the National League East.