Major League Baseball’s early stages of free agency ushered in a massive New York Mets re-sign Edwin Diaz to a five-year, $102 million contract,
As Jeff Passon reported on Sunday evening, the contract is the first nine-figure contract ever, and it’s also the first time that a close will earn more than $20 million per season, so it’s a huge commitment that the Mets are making. but one that he clearly felt was important.
It’s easy to see why he felt the need to take big steps to shut down Diaz. Last season, at age 28, Diaz made 32 saves in 61 appearances. He played a total of 62 innings, hitting 118 strikeouts with a 1.31 ERA and 0.839 WHIP. It was exactly the type of season the Mets dreamed of when they traded prized prospect Jared Kellenick for Diaz ahead of the 2019 season.
Keeping Diaz was particularly important, as New York could suffer losses from their bullpen this off-season.
New York’s bullpen finished 10th in the ERA in the Majors, but his three other top relievers in the innings (Adam Ottavino, Seth Lugo and Trevor Williams) became free agents on Sunday. That doesn’t mean they’re definitely going elsewhere, but it does mean that Diaz was the first few holes the Mets needed to fill in their bullpen.
Although MLB free agency does not officially begin until November 10, New York was able to re-sign Diaz due to a period of exclusive rights negotiation. As of 9 a.m. on Sundays, all eligible players become free agents, and the first five days of the off-season are a special negotiating period in which players negotiate deals with their previous team.
This means that New York free agency cannot be used at this early stage. Bringing Diaz back is a big win and a great way to start the off-season, but Mets fans will be constantly refreshing their feeds over the next few days for any news about Jacob DeGrom and Chris Bassit, whose Expected to be opt-out. their contract.
Brandon Nimmo is also a free agent and could be re-signed before November 10, so the Mets are just getting started.