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The loss of Edwin Díaz transcends the baseball diamond for the Mets
Why the loss of the superstar closer is more of an emotional blow than anything else
What’s Up with the Mets? 🌴
On Thursday afternoon, Mets GM Billy Eppler announced Edwin Diaz suffered a full thickness tear of the patellar tendon in his right knee and was set to have surgery later in the day (Story)
The Mets lost to Washington 3-0 on Thursday night in West Palm Beach (Box)
Kodai Senga started and went three innings allowing just one run on three hits
David Robertson - the heir apparent to the closer role with Díaz lost for the year - threw a scoreless 4th inning
Mark Vientos had another hit in his push to make the team out of camp, raising his spring training batting average to .273
Injury Updates 🏥
Edwin Diaz underwent successful surgery to repair the patellar tendon in his right knee on Thursday night (Press Release)
Today’s Game 🦩
Game 1️⃣9️⃣ of 3️⃣0️⃣
Match-up: Mets vs. Marlins
Where: Clover Park, Port St. Lucie, FL
Starters: RHP Carlos Carrasco vs. RHP Eury Perez
When: 6:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Losing Edwin Díaz sucks, but could actually affect the Mets more emotionally than on the field… ✍🏻
In perhaps the understatement of the century, the Mets are going to miss Edwin Díaz immensely. We all know how amazing he was for the Mets in 2022. The 1.31 ERA, the 0.84 WHIP, the .160 batting average against, and especially the 118 strikeouts in 62 innings all look like misprints.
Watching Díaz last season was like playing MLB the Show on rookie mode all year long.
Like most Mets fans, I still feel like this should all be a bad dream. But as the dust sort of starts to settle, It’s important to point out that while this completely sucks, the Mets can still very much survive this.
First, an MLB season is 162 games. As incredible as Díaz was last season, he participated in only 61 of them. That’s 101 games he did not pitch in, and the Mets record in those contests was 52-49. Now I realize that means that in the games he did enter the club went 49-12. But almost all of those were games New York had the lead in and could script the way they wanted the ending to go.
Perhaps I’m trying to grasp at straws here, but the fact the team managed to play better than .500 baseball without Díaz is impressive to me. And the rest of their bullpen right now is arguably better than it was a year ago.
The Mets signed David Robertson this winter intending to use the veteran in their primary eighth inning reliever, but the righty brings with him 157 career saves and a lifetime 2.89 ERA, plus experience pitching in the New York cauldron. He might not be Díaz, but he’s still more than capable of successfully handing the ninth inning in 2023, even if it’s on an interim basis.
The question the Mets have to answer now is relief depth. After Adam Ottavino, Drew Smith, and Brooks Raley New York was already sifting through a deep spring training competition to sort out the rest of the relief corps. Now with everyone having to move up a slot, names like Stephen Nogosek, John Curtiss, Tommy Hunter, Jeff Brigham, and Stephen Ridings will take on more important responsibilities.
Of course, the Mets could still sign a veteran free-agent like Zack Britton whom they’ve been linked to on and off all winter (they almost have to at this point, right?). They could also get creative and use someone like Joey Lucchesi in a prominent relief role.
One thing that is more obvious than ever is the Mets will not have the same luxury they had last summer when they stood pat at the trade deadline. New York should already identify a wish list of relievers from clubs that aren’t expected to compete, and begin brainstorming what they would be willing to surrender to make a trade.
In conclusion, this Díaz disaster is without question a worst case scenario for the Mets bullpen. It will be a challenge to overcome, but this team has shown us they’re capable of conquering adversity. But as good as Díaz is, and for as much as he means to this team both on the field and off of it, from a pure wins and losses perspective the Mets are still good enough to compete for the NL East title.
After all, the Braves won a championship in 2021 without Ronald Acuña, Jr., remember?
What makes this more difficult than anything else is the gut punch it is to the team’s morale, the fan’s excitement, and the front office’s midseason flexibility.
The loss of Díaz unquestionably transcends the diamond for the team. He’s evolved into this depended upon spiritual presence for the club, but also a part of the club’s brand and identity which simply cannot be present in 2023 due to the freakiest of freak injuries after a baseball game unaffiliated with his primary team (it’s still almost impossible to wrap my head around that one, by the way!).
But nothing worth accomplishing ever came easy.
Next man up for the Mets bullpen.
Around the League 🚩
Fresh off a nice showing for Italy in the WBC, RHP Matt Harvey is hoping to latch on with a big-league team (NY Post)
Diamondbacks reliever Mark Melancon will begin the season on the injured list with a shoulder issue (MLB.com)
San Francisco brought back former fan favorite RHP Sergio Romo on a minor league deal. He’s expected to pitch in an exhibition game and then retire (NBC)