Mets do 'The Opposite': Edwin Diaz now eligible for four-out saves

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/10214/" data-ylk="slk:Edwin Diaz">Edwin Diaz</a> isn't just a three-out closer anymore. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Edwin Diaz isn't just a three-out closer anymore. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

NEW YORK — Maybe Mets’ brass watched “The Opposite” in anticipation of “Seinfeld Day” on July 5 at Citi Field.

Or maybe they realized they need to do things a lot differently if they’re going to salvage their miserable 2019 season gone awry.

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Whatever the case, the Mets are backing off their rigidness with Edwin Diaz, and now will actually be willing to use their All-Star closer for more than one inning.

After originally being against it, the team had warmed to the idea of using Diaz for more than three outs come “playoff time.”

But at 22-25, and with Mickey Callaway’s job security still a question mark, that time is apparently now — as in late May.

“We’re doing this a little earlier than we would like, but you might see Diaz for four outs,” Callaway said prior to Wednesday’s game against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field.

“If we’re not gonna be where we want to be at this point, how can we expect to be there and hold off on doing that with Diaz? So we’ve got to win some games. We’re gonna approach this like the playoffs because we feel like we need to.

“And you might see Diaz for four outs moving forward for the ‘unforeseeable future,” Callaway continued, drawing laughs as he played off GM Brodie Van Wagenen’s line Monday that his manager would remain at the helm for the “foreseeable future“ — whatever that means.

The Mets’ willingness to change course is also a direct indictment of setup man Jeurys Familia, who has been terrible in the first year of his three-year, $30 million deal.

Familia, who has a 6.50 ERA, retired only one of the four batters he faced on Tuesday night.

Familia’s eighth-inning role, as well as other high-leverage situations, will be up for the taking.

Seth Lugo had already replaced Familia as the team’s setup man before going on the injured list due to shoulder tendinitis. Robert Gsellman has also pitched well in a late-inning role.

And Callaway said inexperienced relievers Drew Gagnon and Tyler Bashlor, who have both stepped up and pitched well, could see more opportunities later in games.

“We’ve talked through some things, and I think that like we’ve always talked about it’s going to be based on availability first and foremost because you can’t always choose. You have to pitch who’s available,” Callaway said. “And then secondly we do feel like Gagnon and Bashlor probably deserve some chances in some big moments.

“Bashlor got a batter last night in a big moment and I think we won’t hesitate to put those guys out there. We’ve talked about this in the last couple weeks — we have to put our best players out there. And some guys are performing better than others so you might see a little bit of a change in how we use guys.”

Diaz, acquired by the Mets from Seattle in a blockbuster trade during the offseason, has posted a 1.93 ERA while going a perfect 11-for-11 in save opportunities.

For Familia, who recently spent some time on the IL himself due to a shoulder issue which required a cortisone shot, it has been a different story.

“Familia has struggled at times. He’s thrown some good innings at times, he’s struggled in others,” Callaway said. “Like I said the last couple nights we’ve been in situations where we felt like, ‘Man, if we had Diaz it might’ve made this is a little easier.’ But losing Lugo at this moment and not having him also affects that decision — and where we are at and where we want to get to is part of the biggest reason. We’re not where we want to be. We haven’t played the way we’re capable of playing so we need to adjust what we were thinking and what our plans were and be a better team.”

In recent days, the Mets have also changed their tune on Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis playing the outfield, Robinson Cano failing to hustle on multiple occasions and Tomas Nido serving as Jacob deGrom’s personal catcher.

Like George Costanza said: “Yeah, I should do the opposite.”

To which Jerry Seinfeld responded: “If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.”

“Yes, I will do the opposite,” Constanza replied.

If it worked for George, perhaps it will work for Mickey and Brodie as well.

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