The New York Mets are +750 at BetMGM to win the World Series for the first time since 1986, and no team has taken more action at that sportsbook (14.7% of handle) to capture the 2023 Fall Classic. However, New York now has a gaping hole in its bullpen after All-Star closer Edwin Diaz suffered a serious knee injury celebrating Team Puerto Rico's upset of the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic on Wednesday. Diaz had been the +500 betting favorite to lead MLB in saves but will not be an option when those odds are reposted as it was just made official that he tore the patellar tendon in his right knee, will need surgery and is expected to miss the season.
The 28-year-old Diaz appeared in 61 games last year for the Mets, finishing with 32 saves, a 3-1 record, 0.84 WHIP and whopping 118 strikeouts in just 62.0 innings pitched. He also became a bit of a national celebrity because of his excellent walk-out music from the bullpen, "Narco," by Australian musician Timmy Trumpet.
While some on social media are now questioning why teams would allow their best players to compete in the WBC moving forward, it was a fluke injury. Diaz threw a perfect ninth to save Puerto Rico's 5-2 victory and then injured his knee while the team celebrated its victory on the mound. Diaz had to be helped off the field without putting weight on his right leg.
This is why MLB players will never give up guaranteed contracts (and why NFL players want them): New York had re-signed Diaz this offseason on a five-year, $102 million deal, the largest commitment to a reliever in MLB history.
Offseason addition David Robertson should become the leader for save chances in New York. Robertson saved 20 games while posting a 2.40 ERA over 58 appearances for the Cubs and Phillies last year and was added in free agency. Lefty Brooks Railey also could be in the mix if the ninth inning features tough left-handed batters. Raley collected six saves for the Rays last season before being traded to the Mets in December.
It's interesting that Diaz was the betting favorite to lead in saves considering his 32 last year were only eighth in the majors. Diaz did lead the majors with 57 in 2018 with Seattle. No books, incidentally, have changed any Mets team futures yet.
Cleveland's Emmanuel Clase led MLB last year with 42 saves, and he had been the +600 second favorite, so it's safe to assume he will take over the favored role. A few sites have Over/Under season totals up and Clase is set at 35.5 saves, which history tells us wouldn't be near enough to lead.
So which 2023 Fantasy baseball busts, breakouts, and sleepers should you target or fade in your drafts? Visit SportsLine's Fantasy baseball cheat sheets now to get rankings for every single position, all from the model that called Joey Votto's disappointing season, and find out.
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