With the MLB Trade Deadline just hours away, the Boston Red Sox should seize their opportunity to counter on the Mets fourth-place season, snagging Edwin Diaz.
With the MLB Trade Deadline approaching the Boston Red Sox remain in desperate need of a bullpen boost and the 50-55 New York Mets may have just what the Sox need in order to regain momentum and spark a crucial late-season push to make up for their lackluster first-half of 2019.
The New York Mets, who sit in fourth place in the National League East division, 11.0 games back of the division-leading Atlanta Braves (62-45), are set to play the seller role in this season’s trade deadline. Perhaps a deal involving one of their right-handed relief pitchers could create a shift in outlook on a Boston bullpen that is currently seen as nothing more than a liability for the Red Sox to contend in spite of.
Edwin Diaz, 25, was the most dominant relief pitcher in all of baseball just a season ago for the Seattle Mariners. In 2018, he was an American All-Star, the American-League Reliever of the Year, and was the American League saves leader with 57 saves. His ERA in 2018 was 1.96 in 73.1 innings pitched.
Unfortunately, this season, like the Mets, hasn’t gone as planned for anyone. The New York Mets acquired Diaz alongside veteran second-baseman Robinson Cano, in one of the biggest blockbuster’s of the 2018 off-season, back in December. In 2019, Diaz has had a down year, sitting with an ERA of 4.95 and 23 saves at the end of July.
Nevertheless, a down year playing beside a mediocre New York Mets roster who’s offensive rankings sit among the good ole “we’re not the best, but we’re not the worst” tier in baseball. The Mets are 15th in batting average (.252), 18th in runs (494), and 15th in home runs (151). So… yeah average. Not the best. Not the worst. Not in contention anytime soon.
As for Boston, there’s no question a bullpen move needs to be in the works in order to make a genuine push towards October. While they’ve continuously played some weekly basis game of tag with the Tampa Bay Rays for an American League Wild Card spot, that doesn’t do justice by their bullpen. Arms that don’t belong such as Heath Hembree, Josh Taylor, Ryan Braiser, and the remaining half dozen minor league names I can’t remember, are incapable of pitching in October.
The October-proven guys like Matt Barnes (3-3, 4.10 ERA) and Brandon Workman (8-1, 2.10 ERA), have had their moments of struggle, but receive a pass in my book. Not because of Workman’s 2013 World Series performance, or Barnes’ 2018 work of New York, Houston, and Los Angeles.
These two get a pass simply due to their “supporting” cast that sits beside them in the outfield benches, getting the call from Alex Cora just drag the team down just a little bit more in the standings every night. Workman especially has had his fair share in taking on a larger than expected workload out of the pen, due to the non-existing trust in any other relief arm on the Red Sox roster.
Last season we saw Diaz’s work in the American League. A pure clinic of excellence from the mound that shouldn’t go un-noted. While he and the Mets have had a down season, Dave Dombrowski and the front-office should counter at the opportunity at hand.
One of the ongoing reasons for Boston’s bottom of the food-chain bullpen is their “financial inability” due to a “lack of financial flexibility”. The same reason that Craig Kimbrel, who initially set out to land a multi-year deal worth $100+ million, settled at three-years for $45 million with the Chicago Cubs.
Diaz is again just 25-years-old, struggling off being the American Leagues indisputably best closer last season, and is making just $607,425 in 2019.
While recent reports have stated that Boston is more interested in acquiring a “lesser-name” bullpen arm, settling for less will only continue to exploit the liability that Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox are in denial of rectifying.
Pull the trigger, Dave!