I would need more than a year of seeing how all participants performed before I could decide that this trade was ‘disastrous’.
Even though they didn’t make the playoffs this year, 86-76 and 3rd place in the NL East is still a big improvement from 2018. And of course, who isn’t excited about the breakout season’s J.D. Davis, Pete Alonso and Seth Lugo had? Plus, there’s a good possibility of back-to-back Cy Young’s for Jacob deGrom. That said, I place most of the blame for us not making the playoffs on Edwin Diaz and Mickey Callaway. Diaz was a disappointment all season long and Callaway’s in-game decision-making at times was not only head-scratching, but atrocious. But Diaz is signed for next year and thus, most likely isn’t going anywhere soon. While Callaway, after two straight season’s of not making the postseason, could be let go, esp. since he wasn’t Brodie Van Wageman’s hire in the first place. And if Callaway is let go, to me the Mets search for a new manager starts and ends with Joe Girardi (if he wants the job), a proven winner, a guy with plenty of experience, know-how and a New Yorker tried and true.
How does an All-star reliever fall this far? And how does Mickey Callaway still trust using Diaz in key situations? From this point forward Familia’s my set-up man and Lugo is my closer.
Mickey Callaway has little choice but to consider removing Diaz from the closer role. Diaz now carries a 5.67 ERA, a far cry from the 1.96 ERA he put together last year en route to 57 saves for the Mariners. The situation is further pressurized by the prospects whom the Mets surrendered for Diaz, who continue to climb up prospects boards as they near their new futures in Seattle. Robinson Cano, either the tax in the deal or Diaz’s sidekick, depending on your perspective, hasn’t helped matters either. Hampered by injuries, Cano has produced just a .244/.292/.368 batting line while drawing boos from the New York crowd.
The devolution of Cano isn’t all that stunning – though Brodie Van Wagenen clearly did not see this coming – but few expected Diaz to stumble into the All-Star break such as he has. How bad Diaz has been is a matter of debate, as he’s been worth -0.4 wins above replacement by measure of rWAR, whereas Fangraphs takes a brighter view, putting his worth on the year at a positive 0.4 fWAR. Neither are what the Mets hoped for, but by Fangraphs measure there is some hope that Diaz hasn’t lost what made him so special last season.
No one expected this, especially with a reliever who had so much success in the AL coming over to the DH-less NL. So what now? Make Seth Lugo the closer?
Why your set-up man, who happens to have a 6-plus ERA, is still being used in tight situations is beyond me.
In the span of 24 hours, they went from feeling good, headed to what looked like their sixth victory in eight games, to getting swept in a makeshift doubleheader and once again fading away from .500 and falling a season-high 7¹/₂ games behind the red-hot Braves in the NL East.
“In the moment, obviously, it brings you down,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “I’m sure everybody’s feeling pretty crappy right now, but they’ll come in tomorrow like they always do and battle and grind.”
In both instances, the bullpen delivered the dagger, ruining potential victories. First it was closer Edwin Diaz, who coughed up the lead Thursday night before the game was suspended due to heavy rain, and then, after the game was resumed Friday, allowed a run-scoring single to Paul DeJong in the 10th inning of a 5-4 gut-punch defeat.
DeJong got to another of the Mets’ arsonists in the nightcap, homering off Jeurys Familia to pull the Cardinals even in the eighth, and Dexter Fowler followed soon after with a three-run shot off the former closer to cap the ugly inning and send St. Louis to a 9-5 win.
That 9th-inning meltdown by Edwin Diaz was not only shocking, but it took away all the feelgood moments from the game. Including a solid, 7-inning start from Noah Syndergaard, 2 HR’s from Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith proving once again that somehow, someway, the Mets need to find a way to keep him in the starting lineup. Of course, if the Mets can come back today and get a split of this series, it’d erase the bad taste in my mouth.
It’s funny how this little controversy surrounding Edwin Diaz possibly having some sort of ‘mandate’ that says that Mickey Callaway can’t use him for more than an inning, wouldn’t have even mattered other night if Jeurys Familiar had just done his job as a set-up man and yunno, gotten some outs instead of getting in trouble and again putting runners on base, thus forcing the manager to take him out of the game. But then too, regardless of it being a division rival, do we really want our closer coming in for 4 outs during a game that takes place in April? Or should Callaway and the GM think about the wear and tear of the long season still ahead and use Diaz diligently? I for one, prefer the latter.