In 2012, Diaz graduated from Caguas Military Academy High School in Puerto Rico.
In 2012, Diaz signed with the Mariners (see Transactions below).
Edwin's cousin, Jose Melendez, pitched in the big leagues for parts of five seasons in the 1990s for Seattle, San Diego and Boston.
In 2013, Baseball America rated Diaz as the 19th-best prospect in the Mariners' organization. They moved him up to #5 in the spring of 2014. And he was at #6 in the winter before 2015 spring camps opened. Then, in the spring of 2016, they moved Edwin to second-best prospect in the Mariners organization.
His idol is Pedro Martinez, which is why whenever it is available, Diaz wears No. 45.
In 2013, Diaz led the Appalachian League in ERA, strikeouts (79) and strikeout ratio (4.4 K's to one BB), as well as WHIP (0.91).
In 2015, Diaz was named to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game for the Mariners.
In 2015, Diaz was named the Mariners Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
June 4, 2016 (MLB debut): It didn't take long for rookie reliever Edwin Diaz, the Mariners' No. 2 prospect, to make a positive impression on his manager. One inning, to be exact. Called up from Double-A Jackson, Diaz made his big league debut with a perfect seventh inning, a bright spot in the Mariners' 3-1 loss to the Indians.
"Obviously he was excited to be here," manager Scott Servais said. "I think our people in player development, on the Minor League side, I need to tip my hat to them. Awesome job getting that young kid ready to pitch in the big leagues."
Diaz said he tried to convince himself it was just another relief situation.
"When I was warming up, I was thinking it was the same thing here as Double-A," Diaz said. "I need to make pitches and get outs. I was more nervous in the bullpen than on the mound. I tried to keep it simple. After the first pitch, I said, 'Let's go,' and got my first inning."
According to MLB Statcast, Diaz hit 101.2 mph on a pitch to Rajai Davis, the third batter he faced.
"That's the reports," Servais said. "He's got a really lively fastball. Controlling it through the course of his career, he's not walked many guys. He throws the ball over the plate. Nice to see the slider, too. His willingness to go to it, not afraid and located it pretty well." (Jim Hoehn - MLB.com)
In 2017, Diaz represented Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.
Seven days after Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, wreaking destruction and wiping out power to the entire island, Edwin finally spoke to his parents for the first time. And the relief in Edwin's voice was evident as he played out the same scenario so many families are dealing with in trying to communicate in the wake of the Category 5 storm.
"It's the first time I heard from them," said Diaz, who had been told by a cousin five days before that the family was at least OK. "They had to drive 25 minutes and get somebody's phone to call me. But they called and I'm happy. They told me everybody is good. I'm so glad to hear that. I've just been waiting for them to call. I'm more relaxed now. I'm just waiting for the season to be over and then I'll go home with them."
Being so far from home is hard enough, but when that home is suddenly blacked out by a powerful storm and the only news you get is the difficult drama playing out on television news channels, it's hard to imagine the emotions Diaz and his countrymates are feeling.
"Everybody is worried about everything," he said. "We all worry about our families, but we are also worried about the entire country of Puerto Rico. They support us all and this is the time for us to support them. We're trying to do everything we can to get supplies to Puerto Rico. We're trying to do a lot of things that are impossible, but let's see what we can do."
Diaz is working with veteran Yadier Molina, another Puerto Rican native who has a foundation already in place, to raise money and send food and supplies. These concerns don't just hit close to home. They have literally hit the homes of these players and their family and friends. Diaz's grandmother's house was damaged, but he said his parents have a generator and enough water and food for now, at least.
"I want to go home as soon as the season is over and check on things myself," Diaz said. "I want to check my wife's family, too. We haven't heard anything from them yet. She wants to go there, and I want to support her to see her family, too. It's tough. It's really tough." (Johns - mlb.com - 9/25/17)
In 2018, Diaz was one of the most dominant pitchers in the game, earning the Mariano Rivera AL Reliever of the Year Award for his efforts. Back in his hometown of Naguabo, Puerto Rico, "El Sugar" is a big deal ... so much so that there's a big mural up paying tribute to Diaz. (A Gurro - MLB.com - Nov 26, 2018)
For nearly a year, Edwin was nervous, frightful, afraid of what might happen to his mother. And never more so than the day in April 2019 when Beatriz Laboy Mendez went to the doctor for a checkup. Diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 2018, she had been fighting the disease since that time. Finally, Diaz called her after the doctor’s appointment and listened as she relayed the news he most wanted to hear.
Diaz’s mom was cancer-free. “I was really happy,” Diaz said. “My family feels proud about that.”
Growing up in Puerto Rico, Diaz said, his mom meant everything to him and his brothers. To honor her on Mother’s Day 2019, he was using a custom-made pink glove featuring her name, as well as that of his grandmother Iris, his sister Miriam and his wife Nashaly Mercado. On one side of the glove, the stitched name “Beatriz” holds a place of honor.
“She means everything because she worked hard,” Diaz said. “She did a lot of things for me and my family. She did everything for us.” (DiComo - mlb.com - 5/12/19)
Nickname: Diaz’s high school friends thought he looked like the main character from the baseball movie “Sugar,” and the nickname stuck. He’s used it throughout his Major League career.
2019 Season: Enough with the narrative, says Edwin Díaz.
“Just because I’ve had one bad season, doesn’t mean I’m a bad pitcher,” Díaz said through an interpreter in late September, “especially when I’ve had three great seasons in Seattle. The fourth one went bad, but you just have to continue working so you can get back to that level.”
It’s not an exaggeration to say Díaz's ability to re-attain those heights could mean the difference between the Mets making and missing the playoffs in 2020. The Mets will have to decide how to deploy him in 2020. The team’s unquestioned closer heading into last season, Díaz ended the season in a timeshare with Seth Lugo, who could see ninth-inning opportunities again next year. But in the Mets’ perfect world, Díaz will give them no choice, reverting to elite form in 2020.
“I do think that Edwin personally took a lot of heat for his performances,” Van Wagenen said. “I know I did as well. But Edwin still saved 26 games for us this year. It’s far from where we hoped he could be and it’s far from where we believe he will be.”
What Went Right in 2019?
When things went well for Díaz, he still looked every bit the unhittable pitcher he was in 2018. Healthy all season, Díaz finished 11th in the Majors with 99 strikeouts and produced one of the league’s best whiff rates. That’s what made Díaz's season so perplexing: at times, he was unhittable.
What Went Wrong in 2019?
Díaz’s bugaboo was the home run ball, which bit him in four of his seven blown saves. No full-time MLB reliever posted a higher home run rate than Díaz’s 2.3 per 9 innings, while only four lost more games than him and only six blew more saves. In any context, that would be an issue. In the New York fishbowl, it was even more impactful considering the heavy prospect price the Mets paid to acquire Díaz and Robinson Canó, who experienced plenty of issues of his own after the trade.
Best Moment in 2019
Díaz’s most memorable save came on Opening Day, when he buzzed through the Nationals in order on 14 pitches. He continued to enjoy a series of strong outings from there, waking up on the morning of April 29 with eight saves in eight chances and a 0.84 ERA. In retrospect, that was the high point of his season. From then on, Díaz blew 7 of his 25 save opportunities, allowing 14 homers in 47 innings while producing a 6.65 ERA. (A DiComo - MLB.com - Nov 5, 2019)
Nov 7, 2019: Díaz, 25, joined others who have touted Carlos Beltrán's leadership abilities. Díaz downplays Beltrán's lack of experience, citing the new skipper's bilingualism as a strength.
“I think he’s going to be a tremendous manager because he speaks both languages and everyone respects him,” Díaz said.
Díaz says he wants to pick Beltran’s brain about succeeding in New York, a city the incoming manager knows well, having suited up for both the Mets and the Yankees as a player.
“I want to have that conversation, to ask him how he handled New York in the time he was there [as a player] and now as a manager,” said Díaz. “He can give me some advice on how to handle the city better.”
A rebound from Díaz will be critical to New York’s aspirations. The righthander was arguably the best closer in baseball when the Mets acquired him, along with Robinson Canó, in a trade with Seattle. But a year after posting a 1.96 ERA and leading the American League with 57 saves, Díaz had a nightmarish first season in Queens.
In 66 games in 2019, Díaz had a 5.59 ERA, converted just 26 saves in 33 opportunities and allowed 15 home runs. He nonetheless struck out 99 of the 254 batters he faced, finishing with an elite 39 percent strikeout rate.
In a conference call at the beginning of October to discuss the firing of Mickey Callaway, Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen volunteered that Díaz and starter Noah Syndergaard will remain with the team for the 2020 season. According to Díaz, Van Wagenen was reiterating the message he delivered to the closer during the season.
“When the Trade Deadline in July passed, he told me I was a fundamental part of this team,” Díaz said.
As a result of his struggles, Díaz wound up sharing closer duties with Lugo. But the flamethrower is preparing this winter with the goal of proving to the Mets that he is capable of handling the ninth inning. His main focus, he says, is regaining command of the slider that made him so lethal in Seattle.
To that end, Díaz has started his offseason routine earlier than usual. After the 2018 season, he didn’t start working out until mid-November. But this year, he said he’s been back in the gym since Oct. 16 and has already started getting his arm loose.
“I’d rather start earlier and prepare myself physically and mentally, so that by the first day of Spring Training I’m ready to battle hard and win the closer job again,” Díaz said. (N Alonso - MLB>com - Nov 7, 2019)
January 2020: When a catastrophic earthquake struck his native Puerto Rico early on the morning of Jan. 7, Edwin felt nothing as he slept in his home in Maunabo, a small town near the island’s southeastern coast. He awoke to phone calls from his parents and siblings, who filled him in on the tragedy unfolding elsewhere on the island.
Soon after, Díaz decided to do something about it, gathering his family members together to hatch a plan. He and his wife shopped for supplies and recruited a small army to make the two-hour drive west to Peñuelas. It was Díaz’s parents, his siblings, his niece and nephew, and lots of friends . . . about 40 people in total.
There, Díaz saw the extent of destruction that a series of earthquakes and aftershocks have wreaked in Puerto Rico since late December. Some houses were destroyed, others badly damaged. People nursed injuries. Many prominent Puerto Ricans, including former Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado, milled about, helping in whatever ways they could.
“When we first got there, it was really impactful,” Díaz said. “It’s good to be able to use your resources and be able to help other people, because it’s definitely a sad time. It feels good to see people put a smile on their face when they see you.”
The earthquakes marked the latest natural disaster in Puerto Rico, which is still recovering in many ways from the destruction of Hurricane Maria in Sept. 2017. Díaz, who was on the Mariners when that storm struck, rushed home after the season to take part in relief efforts.
While the recent quakes may have affected fewer Puerto Ricans than Maria did, they have still caused significant damage, uprooting families and turning lives upside-down. Even in relatively unaffected areas, much of the island lost power after the Jan. 7 quake, which was followed by a rapid series of aftershocks. The entire episode lasted weeks; even today, the island remains on alert. For those in the hardest-hit areas, recovery efforts won’t end anytime soon.
When Díaz arrived in Peñuelas, a local politician assigned him to the Caracoles barrio (neighborhood) where his crew wore orange-and-blue “Team Sugar” t-shirts as they handed out supplies, including water, paper towels, toiletries and first-aid kits.
“I don’t feel a responsibility to help—it’s something that comes from the heart,” Díaz said. “I know that if we were in the same situation, other people from other towns nearby would be helping us out. And luckily for us, we have the resources to be able to gather ourselves, and we are able to go help other people out. We are all Puerto Ricans, so at the end of the day, if we can help each other out, that’s what’s best.” (A DiComo - MLB.com - Jan 19, 2020)
Aug. 4, 2021: Edwin was in a Miami restaurant having lunch with his parents when, suddenly, he received a call from his wife at noon. He took it, then looked at the rest of the table.
“I’ve got to go to New York,” Diaz told his family. “My baby’s coming.”
Diaz called the Mets to alert them, then took a flight to New York. He landed at around 8:30 p.m. and arrived at the hospital about 15 minutes before his wife, Nashaly, gave birth to the couple’s second son, Sebastián.
“It was pretty emotional,” Diaz recalled in an interview on the field at Citizens Bank Park.
The moment was extra special to Diaz because he wasn’t there when his first son, Gahel, was born. Gahel, now 5 years old, was due around July 15 but arrived early, on July 10, 2016. (Justin Toscano -MLB Writer)
April 10-12, 2022: Diaz was on the bereavement list.
July 4, 2022: When the Mets take the field at Great American Ball Park, Edwin and Alexis Díaz won’t be the only members of their family present. The two brothers will be there, of course, along with their mother, father, sister, nieces and others.
It’s a family reunion for a specific occasion. Although Alexis Díaz is wrapping up an injured-list stint and won’t participate in the games between the Mets and Reds, he will still be able to spend time with Edwin Díaz, his older brother. Edwin plans to hang out at Alexis’ apartment while in Cincinnati, where the two will enjoy each other’s company for the first time since March.
“We FaceTime each other every night, after every outing that we do,” Alexis said. “If not, if he can’t find me, he’ll text me and say, ‘Dang, I was nasty.’ Then I’d go check the highlights and I’m like, ‘Yeah, you were definitely nasty.’”
Edwin may be having his nastiest season to date, leading qualified Major Leaguers by a wide margin with 17.54 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s 18-for-21 in save opportunities with a 1.95 ERA.
Of course, the elder Díaz has been doing this sort of thing for a long time. Alexis, who is three years younger, endured a more complicated road to the Majors, including undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2016. He pitched at Double-A Chattanooga last season but skipped a level, making Cincinnati’s big league bullpen out of Spring Training.
Six weeks later, Alexis and Edwin Díaz became the third set of siblings—and the first in nearly a quarter-century—to record saves on the same day.
“I’m really proud, because he’s worked really hard,” Edwin said of Alexis. “He had some injuries when he was in the Minor Leagues, but he made it, and he’s doing really, really good right now. I’m really happy for him.”
In recent weeks, a bout of right biceps tendinitis has kept Alexis on the IL, where he’s been since June 19. He will not be active for the three-game series against the Mets, and although Alexis is nearing a return, the closest Edwin will get to see him in action will be during a live batting-practice session.
The injury interrupted what had been a strong rookie season for Alexis, who owns a 2.40 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 27 appearances while using a two-pitch mix of four-seam fastballs and sliders. It’s the same strategy that Edwin has used to great effect in New York, which is hardly a coincidence. The two talk often about pitching, both during the regular season and after Alexis’ games for Santurce in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Alexis offers plenty of advice to Edwin as well, despite his older brother’s more accomplished track record.
“We are really, really tight,” Edwin said. “We do everything together.”
The last time Alexis watched his older brother pitch in person was 2018, when Edwin was with the Mariners.
“After my Minor League season was over, I would fly into Seattle and stay two weeks with him,” Alexis said. “I felt that same adrenaline as he did on the field whenever I saw him pitch. I felt that energy coming through him to me. It was a magical time when he was pitching out there with Seattle. I’ve seen it so much that I can understand where I get that energy, too.”
For the 25-year-old Alexis, stepping onto the same Major League field as Edwin will be extra special, even if he won’t be on the active roster. The Reds will travel to Citi Field for another three-game series Aug. 8-10, giving the brothers an opportunity to become the first Puerto Rican-born siblings to oppose each other in a Major League game—and to grab whatever bragging rights they can.
“It’s something that I’ve thought about forever,” Alexis said. “We’ve talked about it with my brother since the beginning that we would face each other.”
Added Edwin: “I’m really happy for him, and looking forward to seeing him stay in the big leagues like me.” (A DiComo & M Sheldon - MLB.com - July 4, 2022)
Pirates closer David Bednar reacted as if he had not quite heard Braves bullpen coach Drew French correctly.
“Bednar, you’re in the game,” French said after the top of the eighth inning during the 2022 All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium. Bednar, a first-time All-Star at 27, pointed to himself in the National League bullpen, touching his chest, as if to say, “Me?”
It wasn’t that Bednar was unprepared; he had been ready to pitch the entire game. But after warming up in the fourth, only to sit back down, he thought his moment had passed. It might have, if not for Edwin Díaz.
The Mets closer did not necessarily know every detail of Bednar’s story.
Díaz, however, knew this much: He had pitched in an All-Star Game, in 2018 as a member of the Mariners, and Bednar had not. He kept pestering French, telling him Bednar could take his inning. Manager Brian Snitker’s original plan was for Díaz, one of the game’s most dominant relievers, to pitch the ninth if the NL led or the score was tied.
The game moved into the later innings. The NL continued to trail, 3-2. Díaz, knowing Bednar would relish the experience of pitching on the All-Star stage, again told French, “I don’t have any problem if you want to pitch him.” He had expressed a similar sentiment to French and Braves pitching coach Rick Kranitz before the game, saying he was more than happy to give up his inning or split it with another pitcher to give someone else a chance.
Snitker, managing an All-Star Game for the first time, was struck by the unselfishness of Díaz and other veteran All-Stars. Albert Pujols was among those who told him: “I’ve done this before. Let the guys who haven’t been here play.” Snitker, mind you, was not about to deprive Pujols of an at-bat in his final All-Star Game. But the manager, after returning to Atlanta, said the willingness of veteran All-Stars to sacrifice playing time for first-timers, “was a really cool part of this whole thing.”
French joked that the Braves wanted Díaz to pitch, seeing as how he plays for the division rival Mets. But the entire NL bullpen, it seemed, had a soft spot for Bednar.
“Edwin was the ringleader of it. He really spearheaded the effort,” French said. “But once this was kind of going down, everyone started to get involved emotionally, wanting him to get out there, get him in the game.”
“I was still holding out hope,” Bednar said. “They were all kind of nudging me, ‘Go tell him you want to throw. Go tell him you want to throw,’” Bednar said. “I was saying, ‘Obviously, I want to throw, but it’s not really my place to make a stand, pound the table, force my way in there.’”
“Look, Edwin really wants Bednar to have his inning. It’s his first All-Star Game. (No one knows) if he’s ever going to be back,” Braves bullpen catcher Jose Yépez told French.
As he took the mound, he was not especially nervous. Just excited.
“I wanted to go out, just attack, let it rip, try and showcase my stuff, represent the Pirates and the city of Pittsburgh the best I could,” Bednar said.
"It put the cherry on top of this whole experience,” French said. “These guys don’t know each other from Adam, for the most part. You see each other compete. You have mutual respect. But the way they emotionally connected for one or two days, that was something that I was really taken aback by.”
Bednar, for his part, will never forget Díaz’s gesture.
“It speaks volumes of who he is as a person and teammate,” Bednar said. “He didn’t have to do that.”
(Rosenthal-TheAthletic.com-July 21, 2022)
Blasterjaxx, the Dutch electro house group which — along with collaborator Timmy Trumpet — released the single “Narco” in the fall of 2017. The following spring, the song became the entrance music for Díaz, who was in his third season with the Mariners. Four years later, the song is a full-blown phenomenon, a pulsating, trumpet-blasting anthem that has carried Díaz to his best season in New York — and the Mets to the top of the National League East.
Mets manager Buck Showalter has delayed a late-game bathroom break so as not to miss Díaz and the trumpets. The Mets’ local broadcast on SNY went viral while creating a cinematic entrance video. One Mets official mused that the song not only changed everything for Díaz but also for the entire Mets franchise.
Díaz burst onto the scene for the Mariners in 2016, recording a 2.79 ERA and 18 saves as a 22-year-old. As his star rose and he ascended to the closer role, one thing was clear: He needed a fitting entrance song, the hallmark of any elite reliever. The Mariners first tried to leverage Díaz’s nickname (“Sugar”) and opted for Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” but Díaz didn’t love the sound.
One day at spring training in 2018, Greg Greene, the Mariner's VP of marketing, pulled Díaz aside and played him three songs on his phone. The last one … was “Narco.”
“When I heard it, it felt like a bullfight,” Greene said. And Díaz loved the sound.
“The trumpets,” he said. “It’s unique, something different than everybody.”
Díaz kept the song for all of 2018, posting a 1.97 ERA and making his first All-Star Game. But it would be his last in Seattle. Before the 2019 season, he was traded to the Mets. Díaz struggled in his first season in New York, logging a 5.59 ERA in 66 appearances, and perhaps it was a coincidence that he’d stopped warming up to “Narco.” But when the 2020 season rolled around, his wife Nashaly had an idea.
“You should use the trumpet again,” Díaz recalled his wife saying. “You pitched really good with them. I think you can do better again in New York with the trumpet.”
He has reimagined himself in 2022, transforming into a dominant force on a Mets team that could win 100 games. He has a 1.39 ERA in 45 appearances. He is striking out 18.1 batters per nine innings. Since June, he has allowed one earned run in 24 2/3 innings while recording 53 strikeouts against two walks. The Mets still have not lost when leading a game after eight innings.
“He’s been able to kind of reinvent himself and really just maximize what he can do,” Pete Alonso told reporters. “It’s just really special.” (Dodd/Sammon-TheAthletic.com-August 11, 2022)
Sept 6, 2022: Mets closer Edwin Díaz has committed to representing Puerto Rico at next March's World Baseball Classic.
This will be the closer's second time on the team, having saved two games while striking out nine in 5 1/3 innings during Puerto Rico's second-place finish at the 2017 tournament.
Nov 11, 2022: How Díaz's record deal with Mets came together:
On Nov 6, the Mets made their record-setting five-year, $102 million deal with Edwin Díaz official, checking one significant item off their offseason to-do list. But why now? How did the Mets manage to come to terms on such a large contract so quickly? And what does it mean for the rest of their plans?
Let’s dig into the idea behind the Díaz contract: How were the Mets able to lock up Díaz before free agency even began?
While it’s unusual for a free agent to forgo the opportunity to talk to the other 29 teams, Díaz’s situation was unique.
Before the end of the season, the Mets made it clear to Díaz and his agent, Joel Wolfe, that they hoped to re-sign him. Díaz, in turn, told team officials that he wanted to return to New York. Given that the Mets have at least a half-dozen bullpen holes to fill this offseason, it was important for them to fill the biggest one as quickly as possible. In other words, there wasn’t much reason for either side to shop around. So long as the Mets offered a fair-market deal, which they did with the largest contract for a reliever in baseball history, the situation was ideal for a quick resolution.
“He wanted to get something done,” Mets general manager Billy Eppler said. “He wanted to stay here. He was very upfront about that from the get-go, so we just felt it was a really good match.” Is it actually a good contract? There’s no denying that the history of long-term contracts for relievers isn’t great. This is a volatile position, as Díaz himself demonstrated in going from one of the league’s worst closers in 2019 to one of its best in 2022. Outside of Mariano Rivera, few one-inning closers in history have strung together a half-decade or more of elite performances.
Díaz, however, has multiple things working in his favor. One is the fact that he’s only 28 years old and will be 33 after receiving all the guaranteed money in his deal. Plenty of relievers have been solid performers long past that age. Díaz’s underlying metrics suggest that even if he takes a sizable step backward over the course of his deal, he should still be plenty valuable.
The best comp out there might be Aroldis Chapman, who immediately regressed after signing a five-year deal with the Yankees following his standout 2016 season . . .not ideal. But Chapman, like Díaz, was coming from such a lofty place that even in his diminished state, he managed to save 124 games with a 2.82 ERA and a 155 league-adjusted ERA+ over those five seasons. It’s reasonable to think even a noticeable step backward from Díaz could look similar.
“We were comfortable with the player,” Eppler said. “We were comfortable with where he was in his career, where he was in his trajectory and aging curves and all of those variables that help govern those decisions.”
Don’t forget also that baseball is a business; Díaz played into that in a significant way with his entrance music and all the jersey sales, foam trumpets and marketing dollars that spawned. In more ways than one, the Mets are likely to receive a sizable return on investment here.
Say the Mets open the year with Díaz. That would require them to bring on three or four additional relievers from outside the organization, which feels about right.
“There’s more work to do and a number of pitchers we’re willing to bring in,” Eppler said. “But getting someone to anchor the back end of the bullpen, and somebody that’s reliable -- our manager trusts him, our fans trust him, our owner trusts him, I trust him -- I think everybody feels good when he comes running into the game. So I think that was a big component of it.” (A Dicomo - MLB.com - Nov 11, 2022)