With the Cincinnati Reds going absolutely nowhere this past summer and trading away just about anyone who was under contract for two years or less, the New York Mets made a call to the Reds front office to try and acquire reliever Alexis Diaz. Andy Martino of SNY.com reported that the Mets deemed the price high enough that they weren’t sure if Diaz was actually available.

With the New York Mets looking to bring back Edwin Diaz, who will be a free agent once the World Series is over, Martino suggests that New York makes a call to Cincinnati again to try and acquire Alexis Diaz. His reasoning is that having Alexis in New York would make it far easier to bring back Edwin. Of course the side benefit there is that the younger of the two brothers is a very good reliever in his own right.

After having never pitched in Triple-A, Alexis Diaz made the Reds roster out of spring training. It seems that the organization knew what they were doing because Diaz began the year well, and outside of a 4-week injured list stint that saw him miss the latter half of June and the first week of July, he never looked back. His ERA in the first half of the season was 2.16 in 32 games. In the second half it dropped to 1.48 in 27 games pitched. Overall he pitched in 59 games and threw 63.2 innings with a 1.84 ERA and picked up 10 saves. Baseball-Reference’s version of WAR had Diaz tied with Luis Castillo as the team’s most valuable player with 3.1 WAR (Nick Lodolo was next at 2.7).

Diaz was one of the best players on the Reds in 2022 no matter how you want to look at it. In a bullpen that had more question marks than a 2,000 page murder mystery, Diaz was one of the few quality pitchers that came out and was able to shut things down when he was asked to. Trading him would likely be a big loss for a bullpen that currently doesn’t seem to have many answers.

While the ERA was outstanding for Alexis Diaz in 2022, there are some reasons to think it’s going to be tough for him to come close to repeating moving forward. First is the fact that he walked a lot of guys. Diaz had 33 walks in 63.2 innings. The other thing is that his BABIP was .180 during the season. While pitchers do have some ability to control their BABIP, no one has been remotely close to the .180 mark. The outliers have tended to be in the .260-.280 range.

That’s not to say that Alexis Diaz isn’t going to be good moving forward if he can’t reduce the walks and if his BABIP finds itself in a far more “normal” range. It’s just that he shouldn’t be expected to have an ERA below 2.00 if he doesn’t find other ways to improve moving forward (lowering his walks, raising his strikeouts, generating more ground balls while maintaining his strikeout rate – as a few examples).

With five full seasons of team control remaining, including one more season of league minimum salary before entering arbitration (Diaz will be a Super 2 eligible player given he made the opening day roster and was never sent down) where he will get raises for the final four years of his pre-free agency years based upon his performance, the trade value for Diaz should be high. He’s got some elite things on his scouting report and a season under his belt with an elite-level ERA.

What that profile is actually worth in today’s trade market is a bit of an unknown. I’m having trouble thinking of a comparable player being traded in recent years to look back at. Cincinnati should be in no hurry to move Diaz. Even with the likely regression coming, he still projects very well and should be their best reliever. And he’s got plenty of years before he’ll be A), a free agent, and in what seems to be important to the front office B), paid well. If the Mets would like to acquire Diaz they should be expected to pay up.

27 Responses

  1. west larry

    I wouldn’t trade him to the mets for anyone other than Francisco Alvarez, a cather who is rated as the top prospect in baseball, according to MLB,com. The Mets wouldn’t do that trade. and imo. he shouldn’t be traded for anyone else,

  2. Rednat

    philosophically, what obligation do the reds have to make these type of trades? we were not competitive last year. we won’t be competitive any time soon. Is it fair to our top players to not at least entertain trades to teams that are actually trying to compete. I mainly think about Tyler Stephenson. the league would be better off if he was able to showcase his talents on a better more recognizable team. yes , it would hurt the reds but we are going to stink anyway.

    • Harry Stoner

      ‘Philosophically’ speaking, I would think that would be a nihilistic approach to running a ballclub.

    • 2020ball

      When does your team get better if youre constantly trading your young stars?

  3. Old-school

    The Mets have the #1 prospect in baseball in 20 yo catcher Francisco Alvarez(untouchable) and the #18 prospect in left handed hitting Brett Baty who destroyed AA last year. Reds need lefty hitting and Baty is a good one who is athletic enough to play LF as well as 3b. Maybe you trade Baty for Diaz plus the best Mets young pitcher in the minors. Blade Tidwell was the Mets 2nd round pick and throws upper 90’s and profiles well as a future starter. Maybe the Reds throw in Lucas Sims as a risk reward mLB arm.

    • Old-school

      Thats for the Mets and Diaz older brother to answer.
      Mets watching the Phillies in the World Series

    • Colorado Red

      Yes they can be that good.
      Plus, you can always ask.

  4. David

    I dunno.

    Don’t the Mets have a shortstop that they could trade for Diaz?

    The Reds need a shortstop. 🙂

    Okay, that’s sarcasm. Please don’t take it seriously.

  5. Mark Moore

    You had to figure there were calls. Not surprised the Metros wanted him to join his brother. That would be a solid 1-2 punch. Glad it didn’t happen, but everybody has to be available if the price is right. Of course, that means I’m the GM and I set the price … right? 😀

  6. Jim Delaney

    I would be willing to trade Diaz for Alvarez but I prefer the Reds sign Edwin Diaz. Reds need a proven backend reliever. Diaz is a free agent, he really helps the team. Reds have a manager who has no idea how to manage a bullpen. You would have Alexis for 8th and Edwin for 9th to lock down games. You make this move and you make it a lot easier to pull plug on David Bell to show his shortcomings. The back of the bullpen will be solved. Of course this will never happen, Krall will sign some guys in early February who didn’t get signed by teams looking to compete in 2023.. Reds have already decided to mail in the 2023 season .

    • greenmtred

      The Reds had a bullpen last year and the year before that no manager could have managed.

  7. Oldtimer

    The Reds traded a young Claude Osteen in 1961 and a young Mike Cuellar in 1963 but lived to regret both trades. Nothing decent in return.

    They repeated those mistakes by trading Steve Mingori in 1970 and Milt Wilcox in 1971 to CLE for nothing decent in return.

    Ditto trading Joaquin Andújar in 1975 for nothing decent in return.

    • Stock

      These examples are not even close to the same situation. Osteen stunk in his time with the Reds. They got nothing but cash and a PTBNL for him. Three years later the Senators traded him for cash and a PTBNL (Dick Nen).

      Cueller is even a worse example. He pitched for the Reds in 1959. Then he disappeared for 5 years. Released by Cleveland, Released by the Cardinals and then back to Cleveland and then back to St. Louis. Finally in 1964 he made it back to the majors.

      Mingori was a prospect. Never pitched in the majors for Cincinnati. Milt Wilcox was eventually traded by the Cubs to Detroit for cash so it is not like his first 8 years were worth keeping.

      Diaz on the other hand is the best RP on the Reds and would command a promising though not guaranteed return.

      • Oldtimer

        Osteen was a bonus baby. Signed as a teenager in 1957. Traded at age 20. Bonus babies had to be kept on the MLB roster when they should have been in minor leagues. Dumb trade for RP Sisler (coach’s brother) who pitched 1 more year in MLB.

        Cuellar did NOT disappear for 5 years. He pitched in the Reds minor leagues then. Dumb trade for absolutely nothing.

        Mingori was a quality reliever in MLB for 10 years. Dumb trade for INF Ward.

        Wilcox pitched 17 years in MLB and was SP on 1984 Tigers WS champions. Dumb trade for OF Uhlaender.

        Please take a different tone in reply. I’m biting my tongue in deference to Doug but your attitude could be better.

    • Stock

      Sorry if my tone came across wrong. That was not my intention. But the fact is that Diaz has proven he has value in the majors and none of the players you mentioned did.

      Cueller was traded by Cincinnati to Cleveland for nothing. However, as you point out he bounced around in the minors the next five years between Detroit, Cleveland and St. Louis. Then St. Louis traded him to Houston for nothing. He looked good for Houston but they traded him to Baltimore for nothing. Baltimore worked with him and he won the Cy Young in his first season in Baltimore.

      Similar story for the other players.

      My point was that the prospects these players were getting should be less because they had not proven themselves in the majors where Diaz has. Therefore, comparing the returns on these players to the return the Reds would get with Diaz is unfair.

  8. Stock

    What about Diaz for Alex Ramirez and Ronny Mauricio?

    If you want to go crazy, Diaz, Stephenson and India for Ramirez, Mauricio, Baty and Alvarez.

  9. Harry Stoner

    The cited article reads strangely.
    Author wrote that the Mets called the Reds about Diaz and that the price they heard was too high.
    “Made them wonder if Diaz was available.”
    That’s kind of weird, considering they initiated the conversation.

    Of course a GM will say they’ll listen to any trade talk.
    Why would the Mets assume Diaz was ‘available’?
    Or is that New Yorkese for ‘cheap’?

  10. MadMike

    Edwin Diaz was probably in the same state of career as Alexis Diaz is now when he was attached to Robinson Cano and traded to the Mets. So perhaps the closest comp is to trade Alexis Diaz and Moustakas for salary relief and some prospects.

    • MadMike

      I should also add that earlier this year on a national baseball podcast, I’m pretty sure I heard that the Mets were trying to make deals where they picked up a bad contract; Heyward and Moustakas were suggested as the kinds that they were trying to go after. I wouldn’t be surprised if Martino was the original source for that too.

      Put it together, it sounds likely that the Mets made a 1 minute phone call to the Reds to see what the weather was like, how the kids are doing school, and then offered to pick up Moustakas’s contract if they got some sweetener like Alexis Diaz to go with it. Since GM’s are talking to each other all the time about everyone, I wouldn’t put a whole lotta stock in this.

    • Nick in NKY

      Bellinger was a shoulder surgery victim if I recall. It seems like we’re seeing more and more where a hitter needs at least a year or even two to recover their pre-surgery level of performance. If I were the Reds, I’d be very interested in looking at a deal on Bellinger if he can be part of a contract swap. If he doesn’t start to hit again, he’s basically what the Reds have now in the outfield. And if he does, well…

  11. SultanofSwaff

    Alexis’ brother is about to secure $100million or more in free agency. Their numbers are nearly identical and both produced nearly identical WAR—3.2. To entertain a trade, you have to know you’re getting back a slam dunk player who would replicate that production. Some team would have to come calling with their best prospect and I just don’t see that happening.
    For me, Diaz is a foundational piece to the Reds rebuild. Just look at the dominant bullpens in the playoffs. Without one, you don’t have a chance. Without Diaz, we have no chance at a dominant bullpen. So while I get the idea of trading relievers, in this case he’s nearly untouchable.

    • MBS

      I don’t know if E. Diaz will get a 100M, that’s a rich contract. The largest closer contract is Iglesias (4Y * 14.5M) for 58M, but the largest annual is Hendrix (3Y * 18M) for 54M.

      This is the one space where the Reds would be able to compete with anyone in the market. We got his brother here, maybe that and the new biggest contract to a closer would get (5Y * 18M) for 90M

      We’d have 3 stud young starters, plus the Diaz brothers locking down the back end of games. With some of the young position prospects coming up, we’d still need to add a few key offensive FA’s to add to the mix to have a good team. But it’s doable.

  12. TR#1

    How bout Diaz and Tyler Stephenson for Ramirez? Fits more in line with out rebound timeline.

    • Grand Salami

      It does fit. But seems like an overpay, even for the number one prospect in baseball. May need a competent pitching prospect in the trade. I wouldn’t be mad.

  13. Redhaze

    If the Reds want to be smart they would sign Edwin Diaz this off-season and make him the Reds closer. However that would mean firing the manager because he does not believe in a true closer role.
    The Reds need two outfield bats that they do not have to break the bank with (Adam Duvall and Joey Gallo). Then have six stud arms in the bullpen. The bullpen is the key if the philosophy is for the starters to only pitch five innings. Look how dominate Houston’s bullpen is.

  14. William

    I am watching the Houston Astros finish off of Philles in the sixth game of the World Series. The Reds need to follow the path of the Astros. They must build a great pitching staff. They will not win a World Series anytime this next decade without one. The hitting and defense will need to be good enough, but the pitching must be great. GM has his work cut out for him. Hope he realizes that they are not going to win a World Series without a great pitching staff. It needs to be the number one goal of the rebuild. GM has a good eye for talent. He has a trio of young starters and a closer, but the Reds need to add great pitchers to those four. How do they do it? Good question…. GM, it is why you make the big bucks. Figure it out.