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Well, it has not been a good week for the New York Mets.
First, the team learned that they’d be without major free agent acquisition Jose Quintana for several months after a scary diagnosis on a rib injury.
READ: METS STARTER JOSE QUINTANA HAS A TUMOR ON HIS RIB
That was bad enough. But it got much, much worse Wednesday night.
Star closer Edwin Diaz closed out the Puerto Rico team’s upset tournament favorites Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
But the excitement immediately turned to panic, as Diaz collapsed on the mound in the middle of the celebrations. After grabbing his knee, Diaz then had to be taken off the field in a wheelchair.
Mets fans held their breath overnight, hoping the injury was less severe than it originally appeared.
Well, general manager Billy Eppler announced today that the injury amounted to the worst case scenario.
Diaz has a torn patellar tendon, which will require surgery. The recovery from that procedure is generally up to eight months, meaning the Mets could be without their star closer the entire season.
Mets Lose Closer, WBC Loses Players?
Obviously the most important aspect of this incident is Diaz’s health.
But losing him for the season is a massive blow to the Mets and their hopes for the 2023 season.
Diaz had one of the greatest relief seasons in Major League Baseball history in 2022.
Per Fangraphs, he had a 3 WAR season with a 1.31 ERA. Somehow his underlying stats were even better, as he had a 0.90 FIP.
Even more impressively, he struck out more than half the hitters he faced over the season. Literally one out of every two hitters went down on strikes against him in 2022.
He also struck out more than 17 hitters per nine innings, one of the highest numbers ever for a relief pitcher.
The Mets justifiably rewarded him with a 5-year, $102 million contract. And now he’s out for the season after being hurt in the World Baseball Classic.
Diaz’s injury has led to increased debate over whether or not teams should even allow players to participate in the WBC.
READ: FROM TIMMY TRUMPETS TO TAPS: WHY DID THE METS ALLOW EDWIN DIAZ TO PLAY IN THE WBC?
And with this setback and Freddie Freeman’s hamstring injury, it may be something more teams strongly consider in the coming years.
Several players spent time on the disabled list after the 2017 tournament, whether as a result of new injuries or aggravating older ones.
With the massive investment teams are making in players like Diaz, it may lead to a significantly diminished tournament in 2026.
While understandable, it’d be an unfortunate consequence of the injury.
This year’s event has been outstanding, with huge upsets, fantastic crowd energy, and stars like Shohei Ohtani performing in front of their home crowds.
Mets fans may have enjoyed the tournament before Wednesday, but if their bullpen struggles in 2023 they’re going to be wondering all season what might have been.