Why the Mets will be compensated for Edwin Díaz’s salary after a freak WBC injury

PORT OF ST. LUCIE — The Mets will receive compensation for Edwin Díaz’s salary during the time the star closer was on the injured list after suffering a torn patellar tendon in the World Baseball Classic, league sources confirmed to The Athletic.

The Mets won’t end up paying Díaz because the injury happened while he was participating in the WBC. Major League Baseball has insurance that protects the team in these circumstances. As the New York Post first reported Thursday night, if the right-hander doesn’t return this season, MLB insurance will cover Díaz’s 2023 salary of $18.64 million. It is unclear, however, whether his salary will continue to count towards the luxury tax.

The general timeline for recovery from surgery is usually about eight months, Mets general manager Billy Eppler said, which would rule Díaz out for the 2023 season. After Thursday’s surgery, Diaz is scheduled to begin an official rehabilitation program in about a week.

Díaz was celebrating with his Puerto Rican teammates after a 5-2 win over the Dominican Republic when he was injured in a collision during the celebration, a person familiar with the matter said The Athletic.

Under Steve Cohen’s ownership, the Mets have shown a willingness to pay a high price for the price of winning. The Mets’ total financial outlay for 2023 — meaning player payroll and the luxury tax they would pay — is $445 million. Given that context, it’s hard to say how important the cost savings of Díaz’s salary are; it’s not as if that figure will stop Cohen from spending in the future. Last month he said: “When I do something, I don’t do it half-heartedly. When I’m in favor, I’m in favor of everything. I don’t take mediocrity well. And so I have certain high expectations. If it is necessary for me to invest in this club, then I will do it.”

Still, the Mets could use the offset salary. As a team with expectations to compete for the World Series, New York could be even better positioned to take on more money at the trade deadline. Obviously, the Mets would rather have Díaz, the best closer in the game, healthy and advanced.

(Top photo by Edwin Díaz: Brad Penner / USA Today)

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