New York Mets fans were hit with unfortunate news when it was announced that All-Star closer Edwin Díaz will likely miss the entire 2023 MLB season due to a knee injury. GM Billy Eppler announced that Edwin Díaz suffered a torn patellar tendon in his right knee and will undergo surgery with Dr. David Altchek. The freak injury occurred during the World Baseball Classic (WBC) celebration on Wednesday night after Puerto Rico’s win over the Dominican Republic, where Díaz suffered a full-thickness tear of the patellar tendon in his right knee. Díaz is set to have surgery on Thursday, and the general recovery time is eight months.
When asked about holding players out of the WBC, GM Billy Eppler explained that there are specific injury conditions under which teams can block players from participating, and they took that option with Starling Marte, who had undergone offseason abdominal surgery. However, the Mets’ starting infield consisting of Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Francisco Lindor, and Eduardo Escobar, along with setup man Adam Ottavino, are still playing in the WBC. Ottavino is a strong candidate to replace Díaz in the closer’s role.
It remains unclear exactly how Díaz injured his knee, but video footage of the incident shows him jumping up and down with his teammates during the celebration when his knee gave out. Although Díaz and his teammates were not celebrating excessively, his injury highlights the risks associated with players participating in the WBC.
Unfortunately, Díaz is not the first player to suffer a major injury during the WBC. In 2013, New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira tore a tendon in his wrist while taking batting practice with Team USA, ultimately requiring season-ending surgery. In 2017, Drew Smyly hurt his elbow while playing for Team USA and underwent Tommy John surgery.
The Mets signed Díaz to a historic five-year deal worth $102 million last offseason, making it the largest reliever contract in history in terms of both total guarantee and average annual value. Díaz is coming off an outstanding season, where he posted a 1.31 ERA (297 ERA+) and a 6.56 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 62 innings, with 32 saves over 61 appearances.
This injury is a significant blow to the Mets, as they lose one of the best closers in the game for an entire season. It also raises questions about the risk associated with players participating in events like the WBC, especially when they have recently signed lucrative contracts. However, the decision ultimately rests with the players, and as long as they meet the specific injury criteria, teams have limited power to block them from participating.
The Mets will need to rely on Ottavino and potentially other relievers to step up and fill the void left by Díaz. While it will be a challenging task, the Mets have a talented roster and will look to overcome this setback and compete for a playoff spot in the upcoming season.
Despite their impressive record of 101-62 last season, the Mets suffered a disappointing loss to the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card Series. With that in mind the Mets re-signing Diaz, keeping their lineup stacked and ready for another World Series run.
Diaz was born on March 22, 1994, in Naguabo, Puerto Rico. He was signed by the Seattle Mariners as an international free agent in December 2012. He spent a few years in the Mariners’ minor league system, gradually improving his performance and catching the attention of the team’s coaches and scouts.
In 2016, Díaz was called up to the major leagues for the first time. He made his debut on June 6, 2016, pitching a scoreless inning of relief against the Cleveland Indians. Despite some ups and downs in his first season, Díaz showed flashes of his potential and finished the year with a 2-1 record, a 2.79 ERA, and 18 saves in 51 appearances.
Díaz’s breakout season came in 2018, when he emerged as one of the best closers in baseball. He finished the year with a 1-4 record, a 1.96 ERA, 57 saves, and 124 strikeouts in just 73.1 innings pitched. He was named an All-Star for the first time and finished fifth in the American League Cy Young Award voting.
After the 2018 season, Díaz was traded to the New York Mets as part of a blockbuster deal that also included All-Star second baseman Robinson Canó. Díaz had some struggles in his first season with the Mets but rebounded in 2020, recording six saves and a 1.75 ERA in 26 appearances. Overall, Edwin Díaz has established himself as one of the most dominant relievers in baseball and has been a member of the Mets bullpen.
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