edwin diaz mets
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets will be starting their quest for a 2023 World Series title on March 30th in Miami against the Marlins at loanDepot park. Unfortunately, that’s the same location the season ended for closer Edwin Diaz. Before it even got started.

He came into Wednesday night’s win-or-go-home game for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, with eyes on eliminating the Dominican Republic. He did just that. Diaz’s entrance even included “Narco” blasting through the speakers in Miami. It was awesome.

For Mets fans, it was a foreshadowing of what was to come. You know — the sight of Diaz easily disposing of his opposition while pitching in a big spot. Or so we thought. Mere seconds after Puerto Rico began celebrating the win, Diaz was on the ground, holding his right leg. It was so bad that he literally had to be carried off the field. And once he got to the dugout, a wheelchair helped him get to the clubhouse.

We’ve been impatiently waiting for an update on Diaz after he went through further testing. Everyone was kind of expecting the worst. After all, while it looks like this happened during the celebration, it’s not like Team Puerto Rico’s guys were tackling each other. This was essentially a non-contact injury, which made thoughts on the severity of it even worse.

And it is everything the Mets, and their fans, feared. Diaz is expected to be out for the season after suffering a patellar injury. He will need surgery and is looking at a 6-8 month recovery timeframe.

The first move of New York’s historically expensive offseason was re-signing Diaz to a five-year, $102 million contract — a record for relief pitchers. They agreed to a deal before he even officially hit the open market. The Mets’ bullpen was essentially bare, and they rebuilt it with Diaz as the foundation.

Now, they’ll have to find a way to fortify the backend of the bullpen without him. I talked about some guys the Mets could think about pursuing earlier on Thursday. But this is a loss that’ll be felt in and around the organization all year. It’ll be tough to replace his dominance, and that’s something that shouldn’t be the focus. All the Mets have to do is win games and close things out in the ninth inning when they have a lead.

There are still several dudes currently in the bullpen that can do that — like David Robertson, Adam Ottavino, and Brooks Raley. It’s just going to be a lot harder now that Edwin Diaz will be on the sideline all year.

Matt Musico can be reached at matt.musico@xlmedia.com and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.