When discussing the Mets’ disappointing 2023 season, more than a few will point to Edwin Diaz getting hurt in the World Baseball Classic as a catalyst. Based on how things have gone over the past few months, it’s hard to blame them.
Once we knew the severity of Diaz’s injury and the ensuing rehab, a new dream was born. If he could recover quickly enough, it was electric just thinking about him jogging to the mound at Citi Field in September in the midst of a postseason race.
Making his 2023 debut with New York playing meaningful late-season baseball doesn’t look like it’ll happen. But he might still make it back and pitch before Game 162 is in the books. Here’s what manager Buck Showalter said during his pregame press conference on Wednesday:
Buck Showalter on the progress of Edwin Díaz's rehab:
"He might make it, or might not. But we're not going to push it. I don't think we're there yet. He's not close to being a decision we need to make. But at some point, I'm hoping there's that discussion that gets more serious" pic.twitter.com/65Y8IBRkcY
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 9, 2023
Laura Albanese of Newsday also tweeted this:
"He might make it," Buck Showalter says of Edwin Diaz being available this year. Says rehab going very well and that he's doing pitching-type activities (wouldn't say if it was off a mound). There's still an internal debate on the value of him getting in a game this yr, he said.
— Laura Albanese (@AlbaneseLaura) August 9, 2023
The Mets are all but mathematically eliminated from the postseason. So, many will be in support of shutting Diaz down until 2024. But if he completes his rehab and gets into a position where New York has to make a decision, I’d be in support of him pitching.
And, no — it’s not because I’m thinking about his possible trade value. There is a lot of psychological value for Diaz to get in a game or two.
He’s a professional athlete, so he obviously has a competitive streak. When Diaz went under the knife in March, he was already looking at September as his goal for a return. If Diaz is deemed fully healthy, they should let him pitch. It’d give him concrete evidence that he’s “back to normal”.
Baseball players want to be on the field. Closers want to feel that adrenaline rush of taking the mound in a high-leverage situation. For Diaz specifically, he probably wants to do that while hearing trumpets blare at least once before snow starts falling. It’ll give him a taste of what he’s missed all year, and something that can propel him into what will hopefully be a typical offseason.
Is there a risk in letting him pitch? Well, of course there is — risk exists every time players take the field. In this particular case, I think the benefits far outweigh the risks. As long as he’s deemed fully healthy by appropriately qualified people.