All of the old hands have noticed Diaz' 18+ strikeouts per nine innings, against 2+ walks. It was actually the LATTER figure that got Diaz promoted to setup with snake-tongue speed. Diaz landed in Safeco, threw strike one, and never stopped throwing them. Joaquin Benoit may pull down $8 millions, but with a 5+ walk rate the Mariners simply didn't have a choice.
Well, that's not right. Mike Hargrove might have had a choice, that being entitlement and a build towards next year. Lloyd McClendon might have had a choice, that being to trust in an All-Star more than in a rookie. Take another moment to appreciate the new regime.
Diaz also has 27 strikeouts in his last 11.1 IP over the last calendar month, June 26 to July 25. In his last nine innings exactly he's walked 1 and fanned 23 men, the record in a single game being 20. Yes, relieving is different, but baseball has been around for a while and you're not supposed to be able to strike out 23 of the 27 outs you owe us.
Tomorrow's News Today Dept: you might recall that after Diaz pitched a game in Jackson's bullpen, we said there was no reason the Mariners couldn't Mark Lowe him in three or four weeks if they had such an inkling. But there is one thing we got wrong here. You should mark your calendar, don't you think?
Two weeks ago, I thought it would take Edwin Diaz a year or two to get to where he has been lately. The last couple of weeks:
- His explosive fastball has been usually located where the batter can't reach it, so just forget it at that point
- His slider often has the second plane to it, the drop (which "disappears" the ball)
- The slider is thrown with even more 'elan, more gusto and salesmanship
We don't know what Edwin Diaz will be, but the last few weeks he's been every inch the equal of Betances or Kimbrel.
August Fagerstrom has this interesting jaw drop on Chapman's trade value. It puts into scale the value of Edwin Diaz (at least until he joins the rotation), because truly elite firemen have been fetching prices you'd have thought were reserved for Great White Whales. Obviously there has been some kind of industry discovery about leverage, or some kind of industry "consensus" on clubhouse chemistry since the Royals. Either way, Scott Servais believes that Edwin Diaz is one of the most important men on his club.
Fangraphs says, re the Aroldis Chapman deal,
The cost sure looks hefty. Gleyber Torres is the big piece included in the deal. Torres is a 19-year-old out of Venezuela, a shortstop by trade with the tools to stick. Baseball America recently called him the 27th-overall prospect in the game. He’s a prospect chip likely worth somewhere around $50 million in surplus value. Chapman will throw 20 or 30 innings for the Cubs and hit the open marketwithout draft-pick compensation.
When I speculated on the possibility of a complete Yankees teardown last week, I considered Torres as a potential starting point for an Andrew Miller trade, figuring Chapman’s value as a rental was too limited to command a prospect of Torres’ caliber. Once again, it appears as thought the anticipated market for an elite reliever was undersold. I used the Miller trade between Baltimore and Boston at the 2014 trade deadline as my baseline for a Chapman return. Miller was an impending free-agent left-handed reliever with a 44 FIP- and no off-field baggage. Chapman is currently an impending free-agent left-handed reliever with a 46 FIP- and his history. And, granted, a longer track record supporting his on-field performance.
Miller cost Baltimore Eduardo Rodriguez, BA’s No. 67 overall prospect, and at the time, it seemed like an overpay. We were surprised by that Miller return, and Chapman just cost far more than that.
So it's Steve Cishek closing the rest of the year, unless Diaz is promoted over him (and Dr. D has always believed that single elite RP's are more valuable at a chosen moment in the seventh or eighth inning, to snuff out lit sticks of TNT as needed). If the Mariners trade for bullpen help, it ain't going to be for a "name" guy sexy enough to step in and pitch ahead of a 23-save Cishek. Of course a Nick Vincent level deal is another subject.
Are you okay with Diaz and Cishek -- and possibly close our eyes tight and hope for Furbush like DiPoto tells us to? Maybe with a reload on the Nick Vincent trigger?
BULLPEN OR ROTATION?
You know something. Based on Diaz' slight "inverted W" motion, but based even more on the odd shepherd's crook his hand makes off the backstroke to start forward ... I'm warming a little bit to DiPoto's judgment that Diaz may not hold up in the rotation.
I don't buy the "body type" flooie no matter who says it. Neither do I buy the "two pitches" shtick, though it be signed and notarized with 31 signatures at the bottom of the document, 30 GM's plus the commissioner's hand writ large. Something tells us that neither does G-Moneyball buy the "needs a third pitch" idea that DiPoto is selling.
But that transition from backstroke to throughstroke does make me bite my lip and wonder.
Just planting a bit of a seed. We may have to resign ourselves to a fifteen strikeout closer for $500K. Or not. Would vastly prefer to have a Chris Archer over a Dellin Betances. But we may have to be flexible. We all need to think things over before mailing DiPoto our decision.
EDIT TO ADD
Check out this article in the Wall Street Journal! LOL! Is that fun or what