WASHINGTON — Know this about new Mets closer Edwin Diaz: He saves the baseballs from every save he earns. He just sent back to Seattle for the 57 he piled up last year.
Thursday, he proudly showed off the baseball in his blue glove after locking down his first Mets save with a strikeout of Matt Adams in the 2-0 Opening Day win over the Nationals at Nationals Park.
This wasn’t just any save — it was a save for Jacob deGrom, so that gave it a little more meaning.
While Diaz collects baseballs from his saves, Brodie Van Wagenen collected as much talent as he could this offseason, which is why he made the blockbuster trade for Robinson Cano, who homered and singled in a run Thursday, and Diaz.
That’s why the Mets general manager went right to Diaz in the clubhouse afterward and gave him a congratulatory fist bump.
That trade was not going to be made unless Diaz came East, too. That trade was much more than the Cano Trade.
“So many people talked about the ‘Cano Trade,’ ’’ Van Wagenen told The Post in a corner of the visitors’ clubhouse. “When we started out in the offseason, we felt our biggest priority was to go get the back of the bullpen secured. When we saw that Robbie was going to be available in a trade, we kept trying to figure out a way to get Diaz, too. The Mariners did not want to include him in the deal and we just kept grinding, kept grinding, and we made that trade. We felt like we got our offensive leader, our three-hole hitter in Cano, and then we got our shutdown ninth-inning guy in Diaz.
“It was nice to see it all come together on Day 1.’’
Said Diaz: “I was glad to get the save for [deGrom]. I think we got a great bullpen this year and I came in and slammed the door. Two Cy Young winners, it was fun.’’
After getting two liners to right for outs, he got that strikeout of Adams.
“Nasty stuff,’’ manager Mickey Callaway said. “His spring training probably didn’t go the way he wanted it to, but we knew once you turn on the lights, once it matters the stuff is going to be there. He threw a 92-mph slider down in the dirt and then throws a heater up and away for strike three to the last batter, that’s nasty stuff.’’
How confident is Diaz? When he saw Cano make a slick double play to end the third inning, Diaz knew the game was in hand.
“When I saw that play I told the guys, we win today, that was an amazing play,” he said.
“I was surprised I was traded, but because I was traded with Cano I was happy to be here with him. He teaches me a lot of things.’’