Callaway 'excited' with Cano, Diaz joining Mets
NEW YORK -- Mets manager Mickey Callaway was so thrilled about the club's acquisition of infielder Robinson Cano and closer Edwin Diaz that he wanted to clap as the two entered their introductory press conference on Tuesday at Citi Field.
But the room was quiet, and Callaway held his applause until after the official introductions. He didn't hide his enthusiasm much longer.
• Cano, Diaz introduced at Citi Field
"With Cano in the middle of our lineup, we are going to score more runs for our great starting pitching staff," Callaway said after the press conference. "Having a guy like Edwin Diaz anchor our bullpen -- he will close out those close games that we had trouble doing last year.
"Spearheaded by our great rotation, they are going to keep us in the game. We need a guy in our bullpen to shut those other teams down when the game is close. We couldn't be more excited than we are right now, and it sounds like there is going to be more to come."
Callaway now has baseball's best closer in Diaz, who had a Major League leading 57 saves with a 1.96 ERA en route to winning the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award. This past season, Mets relievers were inconsistent, saving 41 games in 58 opportunities with a 4.96 ERA. That should improve with Diaz entering the game in the ninth inning, but Callaway sees more than just a closer.
"He has a passion for pitching. He is an animal on the mound. He goes out there. He attacks, and that's what we want," Callaway said. "Very good stuff. The slider is a wipeout pitch. He has the electric fastball, but it's the passion for the game that shines through for me. Having faced him in Cleveland, our hitters came back to the dugout and said, 'We have no chance.' He is really good and he is going to help our bullpen tremendously."
In Cano, Callaway has a second baseman who is a .304 career hitter with eight All-Star appearances and five Silver Slugger Awards.
Callaway, along with members of the Mets' front office, had dinner with Cano and Diaz on Monday night. According to Callaway, he realized during the dinner the depth of Cano's baseball knowledge. Cano might be 36 years old, but Callaway doesn't think he is past his prime. In fact, Callaway called him the best second baseman he ever saw.
• Cano, Diaz joined Mets for a fancy dinner
"He knows that game," Callaway said. "He understands what other pitchers are doing to him. He remembers every at-bat he has ever had. It tough to come up with a good game plan. He is willing to take the base hit the other way. He is willing to take a walk. He is willing to wait a pitcher out and understands what their strength and weaknesses are and is willing to put one in the seats. That is something we are looking for with the Mets."