The New York Mets will spend the 2023 MLB season without their star closer. Edwin Díaz reportedly tore the patellar tendon in his right knee while celebrating Puerto Rico's World Baseball Classic win Wednesday, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN.
Díaz will undergo surgery to repair the injury, which is expected to keep him out the entire year.
New York Mets closer Edwin Díaz tore the patellar tendon in his right knee during the celebration after Puerto Rico’s WBC victory against the Dominican Republic. He will need surgery and is expected to miss the season.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 16, 2023
Díaz was injured after closing out Puerto Rico's win over the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. The victory sent Puerto Rico to the quarterfinals.
After the win, members of team Puerto Rico gathered on the field and jumped up and down. Díaz apparently hurt himself during the scrum, though the incident was not captured by cameras at the event. When the broadcast went back to a scrum, a few players were crouched around Díaz, who was on the ground holding his right knee.
Díaz exited the field in a wheelchair. His brother and teammate, Alexis Díaz, was seen crying as Edwin left the scene.
Díaz injury causes debate over World Baseball Classic
The circumstances surrounding the injury have prompted questions about whether it's worth it for Major League Baseball players to take part in the World Baseball Classic. Díaz, who signed a five-year, $102 million deal with the Mets in November, will not be able to play for the team in 2023 after getting injured while playing for another club.
Will more MLB players drop out of the event due to fears of injury? Will teams prevent their players from taking part in future World Baseball Classics? Will the event fold all together?
Omar López, manager of team Venezuela, doesn't believe any of that will come to pass. He pointed out how important it is for many players to represent their countries on such a big stage.
Omar López, Venezuela’s manager, on Edwin Díaz’s injury & what it means for the World Baseball Classic: “This tournament has to continue & be part of our life. We have to take the risk … Players want to represent their country.” More of what he said: pic.twitter.com/ewF0X1pN1e
— James Wagner (@ByJamesWagner) March 16, 2023
López also noted that players can get injured at any time. MLB has its fair share of unusual injuries. Sammy Sosa once hurt his back sneezing, Clint Barmes hurt himself carrying deer meat up the stairs, and Erick Aybar once missed a game after getting a chicken bone stuck in his throat.
Strange and unlikely injuries come with being a professional athlete. What's more, MLB players get injured during exhibition spring training games every year, with Gavin Lux a prominent example this year.
Mets will need bullpen help without Díaz
Díaz's injury leaves the Mets without their primary closer for 2023. Díaz was arguably the best reliever in baseball last season, posting a 1.31 ERA and 32 saves in 62 innings. He was named to the All-Star team for the second time in his career and received down-ballot MVP votes.
Currently, the Mets have Adam Ottavino and David Robertson to fill in for Díaz. Both Ottavino and Robertson turned in excellent seasons in 2022 and have experience closing games. The Mets could seek another option in the pen now that Díaz is out, but either way, the team is still expected to be one of the best in the National League.