Since the start of the season, we have heard a lot about Edwin Diaz. The late game specialist for the Mets is at the top of his game and possibly the best reliever in the Majors right now.
That said, that’s not the only reason his name comes up often. Indeed, there is also the fact that his entries into the field in the ninth inning are quite spectacular. While the song Narco by Timmy Trumpet is played on the speakers of Citi Field, Diaz comes on the sound of the trumpets and it gives a pretty nice scene.
Yesterday, in addition, Timmy Trumpet was just there to play the song.
Clearly, then, Diaz’s entry to the field is quite popular and it attracts fans at Citi Field, but it also catches the eye of those who aren’t necessarily ball fans.
Same thing for the entry of Félix Bautista in Baltimore, moreover, although the genre is a bit different.
What’s clear, though, is that teams are trying to show off those starters, and by necessity, that’s making the top relievers appeal to fans more than ever. Such an entry does (really) not have the same impact for a bad reliever as for an elite reliever.
And all that gives value to these first-rate relievers, who alone attract people to the stands. After all, while Diaz and Bautista’s entrances are pretty impressive on TV, I daresay it’s even more so when you’re in the stands.
This is precisely a subject that was broached by Jeff Passan at the Pat McAfee Show earlier today, when he says teams are starting to do a better job of marketing to sell those big relievers.
And inevitably, that has repercussions for the teams in question, which attract more people to the stadium. This means that relievers no longer only have a sporting value: they also have a significant financial value, now.
Passan continued his remarks by recalling that Diaz will become a free agent at the end of the campaign, and considering the popularity of his entry into the field (as well as his performances, of course), he would not be surprised if the closer of the Mets becomes the first Major League reliever to sign a $100 million pact.
Currently, the biggest contract ever signed by a reliever is that of Aroldis Chapman, who signed a five-year pact for $86 million in 2017 with the Yankees.
Sportingly, Diaz is probably the most likely reliever to receive a $100 million pact. After all, he has a few dominant seasons under his belt (including this year), he’s only 28 (he’ll be 29 at the start of the next campaign) and there’s no sign he’s about to to slow down.
That said, we know: the value of bullpen often fluctuates from year to year. After all, let’s remember that in 2019, Diaz was terrible with the Mets and the team looked terrible for trading Jarred Kelenic for his services.
However, this is where the value marketing de Diaz comes in. If he keeps a good level and his entry to the field remains popular, giving him a $100 million pact is a much lower risk given that he will continue to bring fans to the stadium.
I expect him to stay with the Mets, but I can’t wait to see what his next contract looks like. Steve Cohen has the money and he’s ready to spend it, but will he dare give him $100 million?
The answer in a few months.