Edwin DiazThe New York Mets clearly have had a disappointing 2023 season, playing well below their high expectations. One of the biggest factors to that, has been the injury to their closer Edwin Diaz, which happened during the World Baseball Classic back in March right before the regular season started. It clearly has affected the bullpen, which has struggled all season without their dominant closer.

Diaz suffered a complete tear of the right patellar tendon of his knee, while celebrating Team Puerto Rico’s win over Dominican Republic. This kind of injury keeps players out for about 6 to 12 months, and that was expected to be the case for Diaz. In other words, he was expected to miss the entire 2023 season.

Diaz has done very well in his road to recovery, doing better than expected. He has started throwing off a mound towards the end of August. If all goes well, Diaz has a chance to even pitch in a game before the regular season ends.

The question now is this. Should the Mets allow Diaz to pitch in 2023 with a month left in the season and the Mets not likely to be in the playoffs? Diaz’ goal is to pitch this season, but would it be worth it for a few meaningless games?

Mets fans are definitely excited to see Diaz back on the mound whenever that is. Him running slowly on the field to the walkup song of “Narco” with the trumpet sounds blasting, already pumps up the crowd at Citi Field even before Diaz throws his first pitch of a game. And then on the mound, watching him strike out opposing hitters with ease, to pick up the save in the ninth inning, was what was missing a lot this year without No. 39.

There’s been mixed reactions to the possible return of Diaz this season. Some fans want to see him back this year. Others are hesitant and wouldn’t mind waiting for his return next year.

Here’s the thing. The Mets and Diaz would be better off in the long run, if the team does not rush him back this season especially if Diaz is not 110% ready to go.

Yeah, I know with not much excitement left for this year; Diaz’s return would definitely bring some much-needed thrill back at Citi Field even for a few outings. Fans would flock to Citi in September just in anticipation of Diaz possibly pitching for an inning. They would definitely relish hearing “Narco” for the first time in a year, when Diaz trots to the mound. And if he strikes out the side in the ninth inning, it will give fans hope that he’s back and that there will be more optimism for the bullpen in 2024.

However, with just one month left in the 2023 season, there’s really not much point in the Mets bringing back their best reliever, especially since they’re still far off in the National League Wild Card race. Diaz would be pitching in meaningless games this year.

Because Diaz suffered an injury that was expected to keep him out for the remainder of this season, there is concern and risk of him re-injuring himself while throwing. Even though his injury didn’t occur while pitching, but celebrating afterwards, the Mets still should be careful with rushing him back through a meaningless stretch.

If Diaz indeed doesn’t pitch again until 2024, yeah there would be fans who are concerned with him perhaps being rusty at the start of Spring Training and the regular season. But I do believe that it would be better for Diaz to start his comeback trail afresh at the start of a season, rather than towards the end of a season. Him warming up slowly in Port St Lucie and pitching in non-pressurized Spring Trainings, will help not only get himself physically ready but also mentally. And Diaz would be fully there pitching wise, if he pitches consistently during a season, rather than one or two games at the end of a season and then not pitching again for the next five months during the offseason.

Ten years ago, back in 2014, Matt Harvey was recovering from Tommy John surgery during that season. He was trying to come back that year and pitch a few games at the end of that season. The Mets wisely held back on it and brought him back at the start of the 2015 season. Harvey had a solid year in 2015, helped the Mets reach the World Series and won NL Comeback Player of the Year.

Starters and relievers tend to recover from injuries a little differently. But they’re both pitchers, so you want to still be careful rushing them out to even throw an inning or two.

If the Mets were to reach the playoffs or still play for a playoff spot, then it’s understandable to bring Diaz back on the mound if he’s 100% good to go. But with the Mets still 7.5 games back of the third Wild Card spot with a little less than a month to go, it makes it easier for the Mets to just shut Diaz down and bring him back next year for a full season.

Either way, Mets fans are definitely excited to see Diaz back on the mound with his dominant power pitching and famous walk-up music, whenever that’ll be. It would be better for Diaz and the Mets if it happens at the start of the 2024 season.

4 comments on “The Mets should not bring Edwin Diaz back this season

  • ChrisF

    I absolutely 100% agree with you.

    It’s reckless to send him out there for no reason. Harvey is an excellent outcome to remember.

  • T.J.

    I think it boils down to a determination of his health. It’s really hard to comment one way or the other, it’s something medical professionals and Diaz need to determine. He certainly shouldn’t be rushed, and he certainly shouldn’t be played simply to give the fans a moment. However, if the determination by all available tools is that he his healed and healthy, then why shouldn’t he pitch? Lindor, Alonso, Senga, etc are all risking their careers going all out in so called meaningless games. Additionally, he is already throwing 95 off a mound. Sure it’s not a game, but that carries setback risk as well. Personally I would err on the side of caution, and I’d certainly require him starting in Brooklyn, but if all goes well and he feels great with a couple of weeks left I couldn’t get too upset if he had a couple of outings.

    • ChrisF

      As someone dealing with a knee issue right now my perspective is this. Once Diaz is in the game he will play it full throttle. At that point at game speed things about caution are gone. What I fear is the comebacker that pegs his knee. How about a sudden twist of th eleg landing wrong after a pitch? Here’s a guarantee, running to 1B to get a throw from Pete and either colliding with the runner or slipping off the bag.

      Diaz will play it 110%.

      An injury at this point playing him and getting injured would be seen as totally catastrophically bad judgement and malfeasance.

      He needs to forget this for 23. The team needs to forget this for 23. And he needs to keep strengthening all winter so this is 150% tail lights come pitches and catchers in Feb.

  • Nym6986

    I agree – no point in rushing him. Nothing to prove. We are going nowhere this season. Turn the page.

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