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Mets closer Edwin Diaz subject of trade talks, report says

Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz reacts during the

Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz reacts during the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on Friday, July 5, 2019. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

As the number of teams in the postseason picture has climbed, so has the trade market for pitchers. The Mets just may try to cash in by dealing closer Edwin Diaz.

Diaz led baseball in saves with 57 last season for Seattle, and the Mets acquired him during the offseason with Robinson Cano in a blockbuster deal. Having established themselves as "sellers" before the July 31 trade deadline, the Mets would be willing to trade the 25-year-old righthander, according to ESPN.

Asked if this comes as a surprise, Diaz said through an interpreter: “No, it wouldn’t surprise me. I know I am just here to do my job. I know this is a business and they’ve traded a bunch of players in the league in its history.”

Diaz has not performed to expectations, and was 1-6 with a 4.81 ERA and 22 saves in 26 opportunities going into Wednesday night’s game against the Padres at Citi Field. He has pitched better lately, however. Since bottoming out by allowing four runs in one-third of an inning in a July 5 loss, Diaz hasn’t allowed a run in six straight appearances and is 4-for-4 on save opportunities.

“When he was throwing the ball over the plate, it was gravitating toward the middle of the zone,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “I don’t care who you are, how nasty your stuff is. This is the major leagues and everybody throws 97 now, and if you throw it over the heart of the plate, it’s going to get hit.

“He’s done a better job driving the ball down and away with his fastball, showing it up and in, getting to those two spots with his fastball and then mixing in his slider below the zone.”

That the Mets would put Diaz on the market when he has three more years of arbitration eligibility before he can become a free agent is unusual. However, it’s possible the club believes that dealing him could bring back multiple assets it can use in the near future.

Asked if being the subject of trade rumors could be distracting or affect his on-field performance, Diaz said: "Nothing breaks my focus when it comes to that. When I am on the mound, I am only focused on pitching. There’s nothing that can distract me from that situation.”

Diaz said he had been the subject of trade rumors when he was a minor leaguer in the Mariners' organization. He said that having been traded over the winter, he’s in a better frame of mind to cope with it.

“It actually does have a little bit more of a calming effect for me,” he said. “When I was in the minors back in Seattle, I would always come up in rumors that they were going to trade me. But now I am calm with ‘Whatever happens, happens.’ ”

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