Mets reliever Edwin Diaz showing short shelf life of closers

mets reliever edwin diaz showing short shelf life of closers

New York Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz.

Former major league closer Dave Righetti once said that "closers have a short shelf life because it takes an awful lot out of you."

That statement has proven to be accurate over the years. For every great closer such as Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman, pitchers who were able to maintain greatness over most of their careers, there are dozens of relievers who burned out. The likes of Bobby Thigpen, Mitch Williams and Brian Wilson had short bursts of success before flaming out. Even Hall of Famers were not immune to the wear of closing - Goose Gossage and Hoyt Wilhelm ended their careers as middle relievers.

Mets closer Edwin Diaz appeared destined to join the likes of Rivera and Hoffman. He had spent his first seven years as a closer, battling the ups and downs of the position. As with any player, Diaz had his struggles, especially in his first season in New York when he posted a 5.59 ERA in 2019. Yet Diaz had still established himself as one of the best closers in the game even with that difficult season, posting a 3.04 ERA and a 1.069 WHIP over his 417.1 innings, notching 210 saves while striking out 684 batters. At 30 years old, Diaz appeared to be building a Hall of Fame resume. He certainly had a Hall of Fame entrance.

Righetti's axiom struck Diaz this year as it has so many other closers in the past. He has struggled to regain his form after missing the entire 2023 season due to a torn patella tendon in his right knee, an injury suffered while celebrating Puerto Rico's upset victory over the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. Diaz has a 5.50 ERA and a 1.222 WHiP over his 18 innings entering Sunday, notching five saves in eight chances.

Those struggles have led the Mets to make a move. Jon Heyman from the New York Post reported that Diaz has been moved out of the closer role while he regains his confidence. Adam Ottavino will lead a committee to handle the ninth inning until that day comes. If that day comes.

Even the great closers suffer setbacks. That has been the case with Diaz thus far in 2024. The question now is whether he will return to form or if his shelf life has already ended.

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