Edwin Díaz Injury Update: Mets more likely to miss 2023 MLB season after injuring knee during WBC celebrations

The New York Mets will likely be without All-Star closer Edwin Díaz for the entire 2023 season. GM Billy Eppler announced Thursday that Diaz sustained a patellar tendon injury in his right knee during Puerto Rico’s celebrations following a win against the Dominican Republic in Wednesday night’s World Baseball Classic game. Díaz will have surgery on Thursday and the recovery time is generally eight months.

It’s hard to say how Díaz injured his knee, but here’s a look at the incident in question:

Díaz, who scored the final outs in the upset win, and his teammates didn’t celebrate excessively and he wasn’t caught at the bottom of a dog poo or anything. It appears that Díaz was simply jumping up and down with his teammates when his knee gave out.

Díaz, who turned 29 on March 22, signed a five-year deal worth $102 million last season. It’s the largest relief deal in history, both in terms of total warranty and average annual value. Díaz has had a historic season in which he has a 1.31 ERA (297 ERA+) and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 6.56 in 62 innings. He also finished with 32 saves over the course of 61 appearances.

While Díaz is irreplaceable in the ninth inning, the Mets have an experienced late-inning relief team that includes former All-Star closer David Robertson, right-hander Adam Ottavino and left-hander Brooks Raley. However, the Mets recently lost right-handers Sam Coonrod (lat tight) and Bryce Montes de Oca (elbow stress reaction) to injuries, so their bullpen depth took a big hit this week.

Zack Britton, who spent all those years in Baltimore with Mets manager Buck Showalter, remains available as a free agent and has been speculated as a suitable fit for New York for weeks. Veterans Ken Giles, Corey Knebel and Mike Minor are also not signed. Trading pitching is difficult in March, although a rebuilding club could be willing to part with a high-priced deal before opening day.

Major League Baseball players participating in the WBC must have insurance so the Mets will be compensated while Díaz is sidelined. The inability to obtain insurance has at times forced players to withdraw from the tournament. For example, Los Angeles Dodgers leftist Clayton Kershaw was reportedly one such case earlier this spring.

Indeed, The Ringer’s Ben Lindbergh compiled the numbers following the 2017 WBC and concluded: “The evidence of an injury effect is not strong enough to justify discouraging players from participating, especially given a well-stocked tournament so much.” It’s fun for fans – and potentially beneficial for baseball in the long term, which in turn enriches teams.

The Mets went 101-62 last season but lost to the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card Series. Owner Steve Cohen approved a free agency spending spree — a spending spree that included the re-signing of Díaz — that took the team’s payroll to well over $350 million. The team’s competitive tax balance sheet will be in excess of $100 million.

Given the team’s payroll, The pressure on the Mets to win the 2023 World Series is intense. Díaz’s injury is unfortunate and a major blow to the Mets. but the WBC remains a worthwhile endeavor.

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