New York Mets: How to Handle Edwin Diaz?

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Edwin Diaz has been doing his best impression of a reliever from the Washington Nationals all season. In the New York Mets loss to the Nats, he was once again tagged for another home run on a hanging slider. It was the 11th one this year, setting a career high he does not want.

What is Next For Diaz?

The Mets have to make a clear decision on what their bullpen direction is. Either they continue trying to guide Diaz through the ninth inning or they move on from him as their closer. Over their hot streak, they have been going back and forth with Lugo and Diaz as their closer.

Manager Mickey Callaway has lost trust in Diaz because he is using Lugo for six out saves. Diaz ERA is now 5.60 and with the Mets back in playoff contention they cannot afford to hope he figures things out. Even if they wanted to send Diaz to triple-A to figure himself out, there is not a better option to replace Diaz.

The Inconsistency of Diaz

Diaz has had many ups and downs throughout the season and even during his appearances. He has allowed four home runs in his last six outings. Diaz will show flashes of why the Mets traded top prospects for him, but the home runs damper his outings. His fastball command has been better in the second half, but he has failed to consistently find his slider.

Hitters sit on his fastball when his slider is no where to be found. Despite the struggles with his slider, his strikeout numbers are still on par with past years. His slider still has the great break it usually has but it might as well be a batting practice fastball when it is down the middle.

What is Diaz Role in the Bullpen Now?

Callaway says Diaz still has to get big outs, but who knows if he will keep to his word when the situation arises. Jeurys Familia was dominant Sunday and has a 3.29 ERA in the second half. Moving Lugo to the ninth and Familia to the eighth for the series against the Atlanta Braves is very much a possibility.

The Mets can treat water, if Familia returns to the form that led the Mets to the World Series in 2015. If Familia’s recent run is a fluke, their bullpen flaws will be exposed the same way they were in the first half. Even if Diaz pitches to the same ERA as Familia it will be a major upgrade to the bullpen. Whether it is this year or in the future, the Mets need him to close games. He was not acquired to set up games, he was brought in to lock them down.

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