Mets Should Be Fine Without Edwin Díaz
The biggest fear you could possibly have with the World Baseball Classic happened when Edwin Díaz suffered a potentially season ending injury celebrating Puerto Rico defeating the Dominican Republic to advance to the quarterfinals. No one, but no one wanted to see that happen.
Yes, you would like to think the injury was avoidable. Then again, spring injuries aren’t avoidable at all. Just go ask Brandon Nimmo and Bryce Montes de Oca, each of whom have suffered injuries this spring. We may see Nimmo on Opening Day, but Montes de Oca may take longer.
With Díaz, the question is how do you replace the irreplaceable. Last season, Díaz was finally the pitcher the Mets thought they were getting, and the Mets rewarded him for it by making him the highest paid reliever in the game. That’s what you do for the best closer in the game. You pay him and keep him.
Of course, this was a question the New York Yankees had back in 2012 when Mariano Rivera went down with an injury flagging down fly balls in Kansas City during batting practice. How were the Yankees going to possible replace Rivera.
The answer is you don’t. In reality, it is just the next man up. That man was Rafael Soriano. He was nowhere near as good as Rivera, and yet, he was still good enough to get the job done. In fact, he would finish in the top 20 in MVP voting.
That season, the Yankees won 95 games. That was not only enough to win the AL East, but it was also the best record in all of the American League. The Yankees would go to the ALCS before getting swept by a Detroit Tigers team with a dominant starting pitching staff led by Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.
That’s just it. The dominant starting pitching is always more important than the closer. Also, it helps having another reliever with closing experience who can step in and do the job. Fortunately, the Mets have that with David Robertson. The Mets also have other talented relievers like Drew Smith who could potentially step in to do the job.
Overall, closing Díaz is horrible. The Mets can’t replace him much like the Yankees couldn’t replace Rivera, the best to ever do it. That said, as we saw with the Yankees, you can lose your great closer and still be great. You just need the rest of the roster to do the things you expected them to do to get leads to the closer. From there, the Mets need 1-2 more players to step up.
In the end, the Mets were dealt a significant blow, but in the end, they should be fine. And if they aren’t, they have the assets to go get someone at the trade deadline or sooner.