The New York Mets are well-equipped to handle another poor year from closer Edwin Diaz with plenty of options to replace him in the ninth inning.
There won’t be nearly as much patience for Edwin Diaz this year as there was in 2019. His first year with the New York Mets went about as poorly as anyone could have imagined. He didn’t look anything like the star closer he was one year earlier with the Seattle Mariners.
Frankly, he didn’t even look like a big league pitcher for a large portion of the year.
The Mets stuck with him largely because of how few options they had behind him. Seth Lugo was manning the middle innings often two or more at a time while the rest of the relievers struggled to show with their best stuff.
This year, the bullpen is set up a little differently. The big change is the presence of Dellin Betances, a clear closer candidate if Diaz cannot get the job done.
Betances has been best as a setup man but isn’t a half-bad option to close. Out of all of the relief pitchers available this past winter, he was arguably the number one guy most Mets fans wanted to see the team bring over to Citi Field.
Beyond him, the Mets could always experiment with Lugo in the role or possibly even allow Justin Wilson to close out games in certain situations. Versus a string of lefties, I would trust him to get the job done.
There’s also that one familiar name—no pun intended—many of us saw close for the Mets for many years. Jeurys Familia is under contract with the team through 2021 and looking to rebound from what was the worst season of his career.
Imagine a 2020 season where Familia returns to glory and actually become the elite reliever he’s being paid to pitch like. The Mets bullpen is suddenly less promising and more awesome.
None of those relievers should get too many save opportunities until Diaz actually blows his chance. Blown saves will happen but it’s a matter of preventing them from becoming too frequent. Although the Mets may not want to mess with his confidence, a second rough year from him in the closer’s spot is a little too much.
This season isn’t one to mess around. In 60 games, every loss matters that much more.
The Mets are well-equipped to handle a lot this year. They already had to make use of their six starting pitchers with Noah Syndergaard out for the year. In the bullpen, they may end up having to turn elsewhere if Diaz has a repeat of 2019.
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Luckily, the team is more than prepared with some closer options.