According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, not everyone sounds too thrilled about Edwin Diaz participating in this year’s World Baseball Classic. The New York Mets closer will be representing Puerto Rico in the tournament, but it’s not his presence the Mets are worried about. It’s how he’ll be used.
The Mets’ concerns are valid. Risking any sort of injury for Diaz would be devastating for their championship chances. We may have already received a hint that the Mets would plan to not use Diaz much, if at all, on back-to-back days during the regular season. The presence of David Robertson certainly suggests they may have an alternative closer ready to keep Diaz from getting overworked.
The Mets are championship-focused and the WBC is getting in the way
There was a time when Brandon Nimmo was going to represent Team Italy in this year’s WBC. Priorities changed. Instead, he’s keeping as fresh as possible for the regular season. It’s something we should applaud him for. Nimmo’s injury history has been a preseason concern for many fans. Now on a new contract and coming off of a year where he did stay on the field, it’s important for Nimmo to continue doing so.
Diaz pitching on back-to-back games in the WBC is an understandable concern the same way players will turn down participation in the Home Run Derby or even the All-Star game altogether. The major difference is the WBC is less of an exhibition. These games count in their own way.
We’re not even a week into Spring Training games and major injuries are popping up. Tyler Glasnow, Joe Musgrove, and Gavin Lux are three key players who will miss time with the last one on that list out for the entire 2023 campaign. This isn’t the end of it either. At least one serious MVP or Cy Young contender is going down before Opening Day.
Team Puerto Rico only has four games scheduled thus far. Between games three and four, there is an off-day. So unless Diaz pitches in games one and two, it won’t be until the latter part of the tournament when Diaz ends up taking the mound on consecutive days.
When it happens, we can all collectively breathe in and hold the air tight until the inning is over.