Closers aren’t always thought of as core members of the team. Until Mariano Rivera with the New York Yankees of the late 1990s, it was a ridiculous notion. Now, they’re essential. The Mets have one of the best with Edwin Diaz in place. Hopefully, he sticks around for many more years.
One year ago, Jeurys Familia was in the final year of his contract. Those looking to find his replacement searched for minor leaguers and other young arms to convert. Robert Gsellman looked like a possibility to me, but thankfully, the Mets went out and added a guy the Seattle Mariners built.
Most baseball fans knew Diaz last year even before he went out and had an all-time great year for closers. As a West Coast pitcher on a team with the longest playoff drought in the league, he didn’t get much fanfare prior. Things are different in 2019. He’s playing in the biggest city in America with one of the toughest jobs in sports.
Bullpens are important in baseball. I don’t need to tell you that. You survived the Armando Benitez years. To have someone like Diaz they can turn to turn for the final three outs gives them an edge not every team has.
Diaz is young, talented, and someone who can only dream will stay with the Mets for the next decade. We didn’t think it was possible to have such an amazing relief pitcher closing out games. One year later, he’s here and he’s ours. Let’s hope nothing changes.
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Are there any other unexpected core members of the Mets you didn’t know about a year ago?