Edwin Diaz, RP ... and the price for elite relievers
Premise 1, 2, 3 ... conclusion: Diaz worth about $70M to the M's


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?



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.



Check out this article in the Wall Street Journal!  LOL!  Is that fun or what



Dr D




Doc, I'm so glad you mentioned the "inverted W" thingy.

I don't know whether it is a true indication of arm stress or an old wives' tale....but I've seen several pictures (see the one above) of Diaz and he's in that "iffy" position.  I've been thinking the M's might try to "tweak" it in the off-season....but I'm cautious when it comes to "tweaking" natural motions.

We often move (athletically) in a particular manner because that is the manner our skeletal and muscular structures like.  Changing that too much often results in stress (IMHO) rather than reducing it.

Dae-Ho Lee will never swing the bat like Griffey.  Nor should he be encouraged to do so.

But I've wondered if the M's will simply try to reduce Diaz's overall accumulated stress by limiting his efforts?

Good stuff there Doc

RockiesJeff's picture

Have missed you all....busy and everywhere but AZ! Finally get there in about a week.

Great article. Diaz is very good but once he went to the BP has been very very very good! Moe, I totally agree with you about mechanics...you need to teach the individual player to maximize as they are not as you wish they might be.

Smart guys you all are! I have been able to only catch some glances of articles but each time they are greatly appreciated!


RockiesJeff's picture

If I was CEO, GM, and Field Manager....I would be on here with all of you asking for advice! I have been in and out so much in the last month I think I would be stuck with the deer in the headlights....honestly, I think I would love to have such a closer as Diaz for the next decade. If there was an absoluletely unimaginable trade, then I would have to be open but all things being equal (and I don't know enough about the details of when the next line of SP's are ready) I would have Diaz there to close.

I know managing isn't a perfect world and pitchers sometimes so set in a routine that you don't want to interrupt them.....but......I have always wondered why the closer is normally reserved for the 9th when, for example, in the 8th it is the meat of the line up....why not put them in then?

I finally get to head down to AZ next week for a few days. Lots of ups and downs for Jeremy starting. Trying to learn some new stuff. His last game was better - against the M's - 2 2/3, 1 single, 0 runs, 2ks, 0bb.....lessons galore in perseverance!



The thing that came to mind when Jerry DiPoto was talking about was how he mentioned trading Mike Montgomery because of how much equity he built this season.

Diaz is another guy like that. If Andrew Miller is worth more than Chapman, how much more is Diaz worth with his contract and remaining service time? I've said it already, but if Diaz brought in a can't miss LF'er, I think I would pull the trigger. Unless he's 100% slotted for the rotation..

Say Edwin Diaz's name comes up in an offer for Wil Myers (with the intention of moving him back to LF). Edwin Diaz + Andrew Moore for Wil Myers, for example. Who blinks first?

RockiesJeff's picture

Very tempting to trade the young stud! BPJ, would you take that one?

I was shocked to see Montgomery get traded. He has had a very solid year. Lefty....and yet hopefully we got a guy who can be what everyone hoped for in Lind.



Or, anyone as good or better than Myers, for Diaz, I don't think I would be able to say no.  A good bullpen guy is valuable, but when we see them pull relief pitching gems off the scrapheap year after year, but can't get a corner outfielder if our lives depended on it, I think I take the stud LF over the RP.

Wil Myers was just a name I pulled out of the air to show the type of player I would be open to trading RP Diaz for. Marcell Ozuna, one of the Pirates young OF, etc...

I think there are probably some young OF's out there that are blocked at the ML level on a contender that could benefit from Diaz in the bullpen (in the same way that Vogelbach was blocked). Boston has some, Cleveland has some.. The guys are out there, I'm just curious if DiPoto will cash in on the equity that Diaz has built as he did Montgomery.

As I said, to fill LF or RF for years to come (possibly both depending on what Diaz's equity actually is), I would have a hard time saying no. Especially if you consider relief pitcher WAR compared to position player. Not that I fully buy into RP WAR, but it's a consideration.. I mean, the drop off from Edwin Diaz in the 8th compared to Blake Parker, for example, isn't season altering on the surface..

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