Seattle Mariners: Edwin Diaz and the Cy Young Award
By Ty Gonzalez
Edwin Diaz is having a historic season thus far, sparking fans to campaign for his selection as the 2018 American League Cy Young award winner.
Dominant relievers come and go, often hitting their prime in their late 20s or early 30s. Edwin Diaz is 24-years-old and is already well on his way to breaking the single-season saves record this year.
Every season there is always that one reliever a small group of fans want to include in the Cy Young conversation. In 2016, it was Zach Britton; in 2017, it was Craig Kimbrel.
While both relievers were incredible those years, neither did what Diaz is currently doing. Even in Francisco Rodriguez’s record-setting 2008 season, he wasn’t doing anything like this.
With 42 games remaining, Diaz has already tied the single-season record for most saves in one-run games. On Sunday, he became the fourth closer in MLB history to record four saves in four consecutive days.
Diaz has appeared in 59 games for the Mariners; they’re 56-3 in those games. In the other 60 games he didn’t play in, the Mariners are 13-48.
Not only has Diaz been the best reliever in baseball, he’s arguably been the Mariners’ most valuable player.
With all that said, I still don’t believe Diaz should be the American League’s Cy Young award winner.
When you compare the dominance of a reliever to the dominance of a starter, it isn’t all that close. Once the season concludes, the Chris Sales and Gerrit Coles of the world will have dominated the mound in a similar fashion to Diaz in nearly double – or even triple – the amount of innings.
Diaz needs 17 saves to break the record, so let’s say he makes 20 more appearances in the next 42 games. Even then, Diaz’s workload likely caps out at 79 innings overall.
As amazing as Diaz has been, you simply cannot disparage the consistent success of a starting pitcher. Even having one of the best seasons of any reliever in MLB history may not be enough to overthrow a starter.
I do think Diaz has a legitimate shot of cracking the top three in voting for the Cy Young, though. He’ll for sure win the Rolaids Relief Man Award, for what it’s worth.
I just don’t see a Cy Young in his future, as amazing as it would be. But never say never, I guess.