NEW YORK — A celebration in the World Baseball Classic turned into a nightmare for the New York Mets and their fans last night when their $102M closer, Edwin Diaz, suffered a knee injury immediately following Puerto Rico’s quarterfinals victory over the Dominican Republic.
Diaz fell to the ground in obvious pain, clutching his knee. He was helped up by his teammates then placed into a wheelchair and wheeled off the field. The Mets announced the injury on their Twitter account late Wednesday night and said that Diaz would be undergoing tests on Thursday and they will update when appropriate.
This injury couldn’t come at a worse time for Diaz and the Mets who agreed to that $102M deal during the offseason and planned to have him be their closer for the next five years.
Host Ryan Finkelstein of the Locked On Mets podcast discussed Diaz’s injury on the latest episode of his show and didn’t mince words when he voiced his frustration about how and when Diaz’s injury occurred.
“The closer on the Mets, that just got a $100 million contract blew out his knee celebrating getting past the pool play in the World Baseball Classic," Finkelstein said. “He didn’t even bring Puerto Rico their first tournament title before blowing out his knee celebrating?”
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Finkelstein said that while they don’t know the extent of the injury yet, it was clear it was significant and that Diaz could possibly be out for a long time. Maybe even the whole season if he tore his ACL. There’s a lot of speculation about the injury right now but when you see a guy go down, in pain, holding onto his knee and not able to put any weight on it, it doesn’t bode well for him or his team.
Doctors looked at Diaz on Wednesday night at loanDepot Park and Andy Martino of SNY reported Diaz was getting x-rays but a diagnosis had not been made. it was clear the injury was serious because Diaz was crying on the field as were his brother and Team Puerto Rico teammate Alexis and his Mets’ teammate Francisco Lindor.
Ironically, the Mets had imposed some rules for Puerto Rico’s usage of Diaz in order for him to be in the World Baseball Classic. The most important being that he was not to be used on back-to-back days. They were trying to limit the chances of their star closer getting injured but how he got injured was a complete fluke.
It also conjures up memories of Kendrys Morales who celebrated a walk-off grand slam in 2010 and broke his ankle jumping onto home plate in celebration. Morales’ career was never the same after that injury.
Finkelstein said about Diaz’s injury and where it happened, “This is as bad as it can get. The only thing that would have been worse is if Lindor got hurt.”
Mets’s fans frustration about the WBC in light of Diaz’s plight is understandable. The timing of the tournament makes it so any injury could jeopardize a player’s MLB season and that is exactly what happened with Diaz.
As for the Mets, they have some options who can step in to close in Diaz’s place in case he is out for the entire season, or at least for a large chunk of it, like Adam Ottavino and David Robertson who both have experience as closers—Ottavino saved 21 games for the Red Sox back in 2021 and Robertson saved 20 last season while splitting time between the Cubs and Phillies.
Still, the Diaz loss is a big one for the Mets. 2023 was the season they were going for it. Owner Steve Cohen opened up his wallet and put together a team that was going to try to bring back the World Series championship to Queens for the first time since 1986.