NY Mets: State of love and trust with closer Edwin Diaz is being tested
By Tim Boyle
Opinions on Edwin Diaz seem to come from two very different camps. One side of the lake has New York Mets fans who appreciate his dominance. Meanwhile, there are those who pack their bags every summer, head off to Camp Hate-A-Diaz and enjoy when he fails.
This year has been a little more topsy-turvy than the past two years. In 2019, Diaz struggled early on in the year. Rebounding nicely in the shortened 2020 season, he seemed to carry over a lot of the success into the early part of 2021.
Unfortunately, Diaz hasn’t pitched well of late. He has blown three straight saves. His ERA ballooned from 2.86 up to 4.30 in a very short period. The state of love and trust between him and Mets fans isn’t what it was only a few weeks ago.
Can we trust Edwin Diaz to close big games for the Mets?
If there’s one thing nobody knows about Diaz it’s whether or not he’s a big game closer. It’s not something on his resume because of a career-long absence from the postseason. This isn’t all his fault—although some like to say he is the man most responsible for the team missing the playoffs in 2019.
The Mets are more in contention than ever during these Diaz years. Games in August and September are going to matter a whole lot. Having a reliable closer is essential for any ball club.
Diaz could be counted on until recently. He made it all the way until July 17 without giving a home run. And when he finally did, he pointed to the sky assuming it would stay on the PNC Park field and not land in the seats.
The Mets do face some troubling decisions with him. Do they look at his recent struggles as more pain to come or is this simply the blip on the radar all relievers go through at some point during the year?
Late July is always a strange time for a player to hit a wall. The Mets have a few days to decide what’s best for them in the ninth inning. Everything the coaching staff and front office has said seems to indicate they are happy with Diaz closing. Then again, like a player about to reach free agency in a month who insists he would love to come back to his current team, is there anything else they could possibly say?
What the Mets can do if they have doubts in Edwin Diaz
A trade is the big action the Mets can take if they have doubts about Diaz moving forward as the closer. Bringing in a top name closer is one way to correct this. But they do have other choices.
What about bringing in a non-closer who can close? Definitely cheaper on the trade market, this can allow them some flexibility and at least allow time for Diaz to figure things out. Doing this is my top choice. There’s no need to have a closer competition this late in the season. Bring in an arm that you would need regardless and then figure things out when they get out of control.
The Mets could always promote from within as well. Trevor May stands out as the best potential closer option in the bullpen. Not nearly as experienced as Diaz, he might just end up as the best option by default.
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Three bad outings in a row for any pitcher shouldn’t define his season. Sadly, it often can. It’s impossible for him to have a year that matches anywhere close to his best seasons. In the grand scheme of things, this doesn’t really matter. What matters is how the organization feels about him. While some fans take to social media to express their distaste, management has kept the faith.