New York Mets must show a willingness to be flexible with Edwin Diaz
By James Dececchi
The New York Mets gave up a treasure trove of assets in the offseason to acquire one of the best relief pitchers in baseball, Edwin Diaz. Manager Mickey Callaway has shown no indication he is willing to use him in non-save situations. This must change.
Following the New York Mets victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night, manager Mickey Callaway raised plenty of eyebrows when he confirmed he was not going to use closer Edwin Diaz in non-save situations, specifically tie games when the Mets are on the road or for more than three out saves. Callaway described this line of thinking as an “organizational philosophy” which is simply an outdated way of thinking.
Diaz is one of the most electric and high-end bullpen arms the Mets have possibly ever had in franchise history. While one can understand the organization wanting to protect the treasured, flame throwing twenty-five-year-old, the team will be severely limiting themselves if they do not adjust their plan over the course of the season and continue to only save Diaz for standard three-out save situations.
Monday night was a prime example. Callaway was prepared to go to right-hander Drew Gagnon, recently called up from Triple-A Syracuse and owner of a grand total of 12 MLB innings pitched in his career, to face Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, and J.T. Realmuto. While the move ultimately worked in the Mets favor, Gagnon versus the heart of the Phillies order was asking for trouble and could very well have ended in disaster.
Ultimately, nobody is clamoring for Callaway to use Diaz as the Brewers do Josh Hader. However, Callaway himself did say he was prepared to use his relief pitchers in unconventional ways just as recent as last year. What exactly has changed?
Thankfully, there is plenty of time for Callaway to reverse course and be flexible with these self-imposed usage rules on Diaz.
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If the Mets and Callaway want to get where they want to go this season, they are going to have to start being more open-minded. The last three outs in the ninth inning are not always the most important. The game is always on the line.