MLB Misery Index: New York Mets have another big-money mess as Edwin Díaz struggles

Coming off an ugly season with the biggest payroll in baseball history, hopes were mildly higher for the New York Mets entering 2024.

There was no way they'd dethrone the Atlanta Braves atop the AL East, but surely not everything would go wrong again. After all, even the slightest of winning records can get a team into the playoffs these days.

And yet nearly two months into the new season, the 2024 Mets are somehow markedly worse off than they were this time a year ago.

The Mets have lost 10 of 13 entering Memorial Day Weekend with a three-game set vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers starting Monday, making New York the focus of this week's MLB Misery Index.

MLB Misery Index: New York Mets have another big-money mess as Edwin Díaz struggles

Edwin Díaz uncertainty

Baseball's best closer on the 101-win 2022 team, Díaz missed all of last season after suffering a freak knee injury celebrating a win in the World Baseball Classic. Of course, it was also the first year of Díaz's record-setting $102 million contract.

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Back on the mound for the first time in a year, Díaz has gotten knocked around recently and is taking a temporary step back from the team's closer role. Manager Carlos Mendoza has called the situation "fluid."

"I'm trying to do my best to help the team to win," Díaz told reporters. "Right now, I'm not in that capacity."

Díaz gave up seven runs in three appearances from May 13-18, two blown saves and a blown four-run lead as the dagger in Miami.

"Right now, he’s going through it, he’s going through a rough stretch. Our job is to get him back on track," Mendoza said. "He’ll do whatever it takes to help this team win a baseball game, whether that’s pitching in the seventh, the eighth, the ninth, whenever that is, losing or winning."

Pete Alonso trade rumors won't go away

A free agent at the end of this season, the Mets' homegrown first baseman will be even more heavily involved in trade rumors than he was last summer. Mets brass wasn't hesitant to sell off as they fell out of contention in 2023, famously ditching Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander ahead of the trade deadline.

Alonso's 203 home runs are the most in baseball since 2019, hitting a rookie record 53 that season. Most fans wanted the Mets to extend the 29-year-old, but that was always an unlikely outcome with Alonso represented by extension-averse agent Scott Boras.

While his trade value is somewhat limited by his rental status, Alonso could be one of the hottest commodities on the market come July.

"I love the city I play in. I consider myself a New Yorker. I have a great relationship with guys on the team obviously," Alonso told The Athletic. And I think I have a great relationship with people in the front office and (owner) Steve (Cohen) as well."

"We’ll see what happens this winter. It’s a big question mark."

Contributing: NorthJersey.com

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