PORT ST. LUCIE — Even playing for a team with a penchant for trading players, Edwin Diaz figured he would continue with the Mariners in 2019.
“I was expecting to be with them because they told me they would not trade me,” Diaz said Wednesday. “I was surprised when they called me and told me I got traded to the Mets.”
The 24-year-old Diaz was the central component of the deal that also brought Robinson Cano to the Mets — with Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, Justin Dunn, Jarred Kelenic and Gerson Bautista shipped to the Mariners.
And it’s Diaz’s arrival that gives the Mets a 1-2 combo at the bullpen’s back end that might rival any in baseball. Jeurys Familia will serve in the setup role, after returning to the Mets on a three-year contract worth $30 million.
Diaz led the major leagues with 57 saves last season and pitched to a 1.96 ERA, allowing just 41 hits in 73¹/₃ innings.
Plus, Diaz will bring energy to the job.
“He is going to pump his fist when he gets a save,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “He’s a high-energy guy, you saw the smile when you were talking to him. He’s a terrific kid and he’s a young kid. He’s going to soak up things from Familia. He’s going to lean on Robinson about New York and what to expect, and he’s going to go out there and he’s going to throw the ball very hard and have a nasty slider, and it’s going to be fun to watch.”
Callaway, who anticipates utilizing Diaz in roughly 10 games this Grapefruit League season, said he is excited to watch Diaz pitch again. As Cleveland’s pitching coach before last season, Callaway received a decent look at Diaz’s stuff.
“It’s electric,” Callaway said. “He has the ability to miss bats. He has the ability to do the things that it takes to close games and he’s had a lot of success doing that.”