Former All-Star New York Mets closer offers Edwin Diaz advice amid 2024 struggles: ‘You have to have that BS factor’

new york mets
Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Former New York Mets closer Billy Wagner knows what it’s like to go from a star closer to being one that’s a liability, so he feels for the team’s current closer Edwin Diaz. That is why he recently offered some advice to the pitcher to help him get back to his All-Star form.

Heading into the MLB games today, the Mets have lost eight of their last 10 and are plummeting down the MLB standings. There are quite a few expensive star players who deserve blame for the team’s horrid start to the 2024 season. However, one player taking a lot of heat lately is demoted closer Edwin Diaz.

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After having a historic season in 2022, the organization gave him the biggest contract ever for a closer and he rewarded them by injuring himself while celebrating a win at the 2023 World Baseball Classic. After missing a season there was a lot of hope about having a reliable arm back in the ninth inning, but the 30-year-old has been a shell of himself and is having the worst year of his career.

After blowing a third straight save recently, Diaz was removed from the closer role and has admitted his confidence is shaken after posting a 5.40 ERA in 20 appearances this season. Many are wondering how the pitcher will be able to bounce back from the horrid start, and former Mets closer Billy Wagner believes Diaz must talk himself back into believing he is still an elite pitcher.

  • Edwin Diaz stats (2024): 5 saves, 5.40 ERA, 1.250 WHIP, 30 SO, 20.0 IP

Billy Wagner explains the importance of confidence for New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz

New York Mets
Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

“Confidence comes through success, of course, but as the closer you’re so gifted, you just don’t get the opportunity to go out and say, ‘I’m good or I’m not good,’” Wagner told the New York Post this week. “It’s just you have to go perform and … even if I wasn’t good or not confident, I’m not going to tell you. That’s the first thing that’s not going to happen.”

“I’m sure that he is coming back with the thought process, ‘I’m supposed to strike out everybody and be this unhittable thing,’ and don’t we all wish that was the case when we walked out there?” he added. “But he has to work back to it. He doesn’t have that much work [in his career] where it’s, ‘I know what I am.’”

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Wagner played three and a half seasons in New York and earned All-Star honors in two of those years. However, in some of the team’s biggest games, he had trouble closing the door on opposing teams. He was eventually traded to the Boston Red Sox in 2009.

Closer is a unique position that is highly pressurized so, understandably, over-the-top confidence is a key quality in being a consistent success in the role.

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