The Edwin Diaz Enigma Has Reached The Critical Mass Stage

Edwin Diaz - Frustrated and Ineffective as a Met (Photo: SNY)
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Edwin Diaz can only fix himself. Last year’s saves leader is a mess. And there’s only so many times Mickey Callaway can run him out there…

Edwin Diaz, the Mets unofficially named closer, is a member of a rare breed of pitchers in major league baseball. Here today and gone tomorrow, Diaz is dangerously close to joining former All-Star closers, Trevor Rosenthal, Greg Holland, and Cody Allen, all of whom have recently been given their walking papers.

In his last six appearances, Diaz has surrendered four home runs. The latest of which came on Sunday at a point in the game against the Nationals when the Mets were within two runs of sweeping the series.

Unfairly perhaps, Edwin Diaz will always be lumped in with Robinson Cano, both of whom came to the Mets with colossal fanfare during the offseason. Cano has already been pronounced DOA and is probably out for the season with an injury. Diaz is well on his way to joining Cano.

Oddly, Edwin Diaz is ninth in the major leagues with 24 saves. He can still pitch. But the one thing the Mets and Mickey Callaway cannot afford is a feeling of uncertainty when bringing Diaz into a game. Especially, given the Mets current drive to make the playoffs.

Diaz’s self-analysis of his situation is not very comforting either…

“I try to have a positive attitude every single time, I’m just trying to get out of this rough stretch that I’m in right now,” Diaz said through a translator. “If I’m frustrated all the time, it’s just going to get worse. Every single time I’m on the mound, I just try to get better. In order for me to have better outings, I need to execute my pitches.”Peter Botte, New York Post
Seth Lugo, Mets prime reliever (Photo: amazingavenue.com)
Seth Lugo, Mets prime reliever (Photo: amazingavenue.com)

“Trying to have a positive attitude” doesn’t always work, though. You can “try” to open a door or wash the dishes. But you can’t always convince your brain to control your body to “execute pitches.” A pitcher either has the right mechanics, or he doesn’t. Right now, Diaz’s mechanics are lined up for only one thing – balls that are thrown over the heart of the plate.

Efficiently and very quietly, Mickey Callaway is moving Seth Lugo into an expanded role that includes closing games. Lugo effectively pitched the eighth and ninth innings against the Nationals on Saturday. It’s not likely the snub passed by Diaz.

Rotten Goods When Diaz Arrived

My contention has always been that the Mariners sold Brodie Van Wagenen a bill of rotten goods at a time when the new GM was anxious to make his mark in New York. Further, both Robinson Cano and Diaz have damaged products when they arrived here.

In the case of Diaz, consider this. Diaz is a converted starting pitcher, appearing in only ten games as a relief pitcher before he made his debut with Seattle in 2016 at the age of 22. Over the next four seasons, including his time with the Mets (39 games so far), Edwin Diaz has seen action in 237 games, an average of sixty games per season over four years. That’s quite the workload for a kid.

A Possible Solution The Mets Can Try

Therefore, it could be a case of Diaz just being plain tired. Together with the evident mental frustrations, he is dealing with as seen in his comments above, the kid (and I keep using that word because that’s what he is) needs a blow.

Mickey Callaway, New York Mets Manager (Photo: Associated Press)
Mickey Callaway, New York Mets Manager (Photo: Associated Press)

For the Mets, rather than add another problem child to Mickey Callaway’s plate (see Callaway’s weaning of Jeurys Familia), the team would do well to place Diaz on the 10-day IL.

Call it a “dead arm.” Who can argue with that? Or, use baseball’s newest buzz words to describe an injury – call it a “core injury” – whatever that is.

Give Diaz a couple of mental health days and then put him to work with Phil Regan in the bullpen. Stretch him out a bit too. There could be something in the way Diaz is warming up that Regan doesn’t see from his post in the dugout. Whatever. Just get Diaz away from the grind for a few days and see what happens.

The Mets need Edwin Diaz. Seth Lugo has been great, but he is out of his element as a closer. For now, though, Diaz has no place pitching in games where everyone is crucial to the Mets bid for a playoff spot.

Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball
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The Edwin Diaz Enigma Has Reached The Critical Mass Stage
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The Edwin Diaz Enigma Has Reached The Critical Mass Stage
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Edwin Diaz can only fix himself. Last year's saves leader is a mess. And there's only so many times Mickey Callaway can run him out there...
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Reflections On Baseball
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.

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