Sure, Robinson Cano is the more high-profile name in the blockbuster Mets-Mariners trade. But Edwin Diaz, the 24-year-old All-Star closer, is the real star the Mets received.
Diaz led the league with 57 saves last season and recorded 124 strikeouts, a 1.96 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP in 73.1 innings with Seattle.
And last year wasn't a fluke. He has a career 2.64 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 109 saves in three seasons while striking out 14.2 batters per nine innings since debuting in 2016.
Diaz bolsters a Mets bullpen that had the third-worst ERA as a group in the majors last season. Better yet, he's under team control for the next four years.
Though only 24, Diaz will likely earn the MLB minimum in 2019. He becomes arbitration eligible in 2020 and won't be eligible to become a free agent until 2023.
The Mets paid a steep price to acquire Diaz and Cano; they gave up outfielder Jay Bruce, reliever Anthony Swarzak and three prospects in RHP Justin Dunn, RHP Gerson Bautista and outfielder Jarred Kelenic, a 19-year-old first-round pick who according to one scout has "superstar" potential.
But Dunn and Bautista are both 23. Bautista had a 12.46 ERA in five MLB relief appearances last year and went 4-1 with a 5.14 ERA in 37 games with Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas. Dunn, meanwhile, hasn't pitched above the Double-A level.
Diaz, whom the Mariners drafted as an 18-year-old in 2012, quickly rose up the Mariners' farm system, first as a starter before transitioning into a bullpen role in 2016.
When he first came up to The Show, he had a 2.79 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 51.2 innings. In 2017, he had 34 saves, a 3.27 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP with 89 strikeouts in 66 innings.
Then came last year. He converted 57 of 61 save opportunities and showed the ability to pitch on consecutive days, which he did 26 times. In those games, he held batters to a .174/.216/.217 batting line.
Though Safeco Field is considered a pitchers park, Diaz's road ERA (1.36) was better than it was at home (2.45). It may help that Citi Field's park factor (0.731), a statistic that determines if the park favors the hitter or pitcher, is even lower than Safeco Field's (0.846).
Diaz's arsenal features a four-seam fastball that averages 97.3 mph and a slider that averages 88.1 mph and can reach 90 mph, according to FanGraphs. He also showed the ability to throw a change-up or sinker, but threw those a combined three times last season, according to Baseball Savant.
The Mets haven't had a consistent closer since Jeurys Familia set the franchise single-season saves record with 51 in 2016. He missed most of the 2017 season with a blood clot in his shoulder and was traded midway through last season to the Oakland A's.
But New York hopes it found its new closer of the future in Diaz.
And for all he's achieved so far, he has more room to grow.