A celebration for Puerto Rico after a 5-2 World Baseball Classic win over the Dominican Republic turned into a nightmare for Edwin Díaz and the New York Mets, which will affect their entire season.
In efforts to build a World Series contending team, the Mets re-signed Díaz to a record-setting five-year, $102 million dollar contract which was a large part of their high-spending offseason. However, in the midst of Puerto Rico celebrating a win in the WBC, a freak accident occurred where Díaz crumbled to the ground with an apparent knee injury. His teammates formed a circle around him with their heads down or crying. The concern for Díaz escalated quickly as he was wheeled off the field and was unable to put any pressure on his right leg.
The next morning, tests revealed that Díaz had suffered a complete patellar tendon tear which would sideline him for an estimated eight months — the entire MLB season. Díaz underwent surgery to repair the tear on Thursday and is now on the road to a long recovery.
At the time of the incident, Díaz was surrounded by his brother Alexis Díaz of the Cincinnati Reds, his Mets teammate Fransico Lindor and other players from around the league playing for Puerto Rico.
“I never knew I loved Edwin so much until I couldn’t stop crying,” said Puerto Rico shortstop Lindor. “That’s when I realized I love Edwin a lot. It’s one of those moments that you wish you could go back and do it in slow motion. That way no one goes through that. It broke my heart. It did not feel good.”
“As excited as we were about the game and all that, it’s one of our brothers,” said Puerto Rico center fielder Enrique Hernández of the Boston Red Sox.
So how will the loss of Díaz affect the Mets bullpen this season?
Díaz is coming off the best year of his career and is considered one of, if not the most dominant closer in the league right now. His walk-up song “Narco” by Timmy Trumpet electrified MLB last season and became a statement entrance for the Mets. Unfortunately, fans won’t get to hear the sound of the trumpets at Citi Field this season, but there is still so much excitement surrounding this New York squad.
In the wake of Díaz’s injury, the Mets’ current bullpen includes RHP David Robertson, RHP Adam Ottavino, LHP Brooks Raley, RHP John Curtiss, RHP Tommy Hunter, RHP Stephen Nogosek, RHP Drew Smith and RHP Elieser Hernandez. Out of all these pitchers, there could be a guy that breaks out for the Mets in a similar way to what Díaz did last season. Díaz was not always a trusted and lockdown closer for the Mets, as his first few years were rocky. So, there could always be a pitcher within New York’s current roster that could help fill the holes more than they expect.
All in all, the Mets can either stick with what they have, given that Opening Day is just 10 days away, or try to make some moves through free agency and the trade market.
A free agent to keep an eye out for is former-Yankee Zack Britton. Britton and Mets manager Buck Showalter are already connected from both their times with the Baltimore Orioles. He missed most of the 2022 season recovering from Tommy John surgery but he returned late in the season. In his appearance, he walked six of nine batters he faced and then suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. Although the Mets do not need any more injuries added to their roster, signing Britton could fill some gaps of Díaz if he stays healthy.
On the other hand, a trade partner the Mets could potentially seek out is Edwin Díaz’s younger brother, Alexis Díaz of the Cincinnati Reds. Although it is difficult to make trades during spring training as no team wants to give up their depth and extra arms, the Mets have to look at all their options. Alexis Díaz is 26 years old and had a 3.1 WAR in 2022 with the Reds. He’s also under team control for five more years which could be worthwhile for New York. Though, Cincinnati’s asking price could be too high for the Mets at the moment as they are trying to build their farm system and not trade prospects away.
The loss of Díaz is a huge blow for the Mets, but they definitely have the capacity to overcome it. The owner of the Mets, Steve Cohen, has shown no fear in spending money and bringing some of the best players in the league to New York. Mets General Manager Billy Eppler should definitely be working on the phones for the next two weeks but the big question is if he will make any moves before the season officially commences on March 30 against the Miami Marlins.
In a long season of baseball, injuries are inevitable and Díaz’s fluke incident will not keep the Mets out of the World Series race. Cohen and Eppler made for a hugely productive offseason for New York, signing players like RHP Justin Verlander, RHP Kodai Senga and more. The Mets front office has dominated the last couple of offseasons and trade deadlines and it doesn’t look like anything is stopping them from continuing that way of building the team. A healthy Díaz definitely put the Mets above other teams as the best closer in the game, but New York still has one of the most talented rosters in the league with some key parts including first basemen Pete Alonso and RHP Max Scherzer. In conclusion, there is still optimism for the 2023 New York Mets.
“Are we going to miss Edwin? 100% we are,” Lindor said. “He’s a huge part of our team. I think he’s the best closer in the game. But we’re all professionals. We’ve all got a job to do, and we’ve got to go out there and take care of business.”
Right now I think that is fair. Until someone shows up and can prove that they can replace Edwin Diaz, Buck Showalter has to wait. Someone is going to have to show up and really prove themselves. Until then, no one can replace Edwin Diaz.
Right now I think that is fair. Until someone shows up and can prove that they can replace Edwin Diaz, Buck Showalter has to wait. Someone is going to have to show up and really prove themselves. Until then, no one can replace Edwin Diaz. Feel free to come subscribe and take a look at my blog. Here is the link to my blog: https://sophiakd4.wordpress.com