Mets closer Edwin Díaz will not return to a major league mound in 2023, reports Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. The two-time All-Star has not suffered a setback and he will continue to throw bullpen sessions, but the team does not want to jeopardize his health by rushing him back for the tail end of what has become a lost season.
When Díaz tore his patellar tendon during the World Baseball Classic, the Mets were preseason favorites for an NL postseason berth. Six months later, they find themselves two losses away from a losing campaign.
Díaz always hoped to come back during the regular season — an ambitious goal, but one within the realm of possibility. He deserves credit for how effectively he has worked toward that objective.
As pitching coach Jeremy Hefner told DiComo, the flamethrowing righty has progressed to a point where he could, theoretically, be back in the majors before the end of the year. Indeed, if the Mets were in a more competitive position, he might have already made his return.
However, Hefner expressed concern about the star closer re-aggravating his leg injury while running to make a defensive play or avoiding a comebacker to the mound. Thus, Díaz will have to wait until next March to pitch another game at Citi Field.
New York may not be playing for much this September, but it still comes as disheartening news that Díaz won’t rejoin the ’pen. Mets relievers rank 13th in the National League with a 4.53 ERA and last with -0.1 FanGraphs WAR. They have had particular trouble since the trade deadline, pitching to a 5.68 ERA and -0.4 fWAR.
In addition to Díaz, Sean Reid-Foley and John Curtiss are on the injured list, while David Robertson was dealt to Miami at the deadline. Meanwhile, four of the eight relievers on the Mets’ active roster have an ERA over five.
This bullpen could certainly use Díaz and his electric arm – for a morale boost, if nothing else — but admittedly, that’s hardly a reason to risk his health. He is on track to return at full strength in 2024.