Mets reliever Edwin Diaz, who enlisted the help of Hall-of-Famer Pedro Martinez this offseason, spoke Monday about the tips he has put to use, his (hopefully) improved slider, and more at spring training in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
"It wasn't anything that I changed significantly," Diaz said about the tips Martinez gave him. "It was mostly the minor adjustments that I felt I needed to make. And I actually put those to work this offseason. I feel very good going into this season."
One of the things Martinez helped Diaz with was his mechanics, which Diaz struggled to harness for much of the 2019 season while also being unable to get comfortable throwing his slider.
"We haven't had any problems with it," Diaz said about how his slider has been so far in spring training.
"I feel good. I feel happy about it, with all the work that we've done this offseason with the slider," Diaz explained. "I feel really good. I haven't faced any live hitting yet. But in some of the bullpens, I feel really good about it going into the season."
With the addition of Dellin Betances, whom Diaz called "one of the best bullpen pitchers in the history of the game," the return of Seth Lugo and a potentially rejuvenated Jeurys Familia, Diaz might not enter the season as the team's closer.
Manager Luis Rojas, while speaking generally about most of his roster, said during the Mets' Fan Fest in late-January that he wasn't yet ready to proclaim Diaz his closer.
"We have such a great bullpen, I mean a lot of guys with history of closing games," Rojas said. "A lot of them. I think that's only good. So we're going to look at it real close. We're not going to define roles yet, and we're going to go through the process of spring training and how our bullpen looks throwing the ball and facing opponents."
When it comes to potential uncertainty regarding his role, Diaz doesn't seem to mind.
"I'm open to helping the team win," he said. "So if Luis tells me I have to come in (any) certain inning, I'm open to doing that."