It feels like just yesterday that Johan Santana pitched the first ever no hitter in New York Mets history. It was a day that no Mets fan will ever forget, but it seems as if that no-hitter was the apex of the Mets season and it has all been pretty much downhill since then. Even the Mets head coach, Terry Collins, thinks that his players have lost their flare and that the Cinderella story that so many fans were in love with through May has fizzled out and now they are just the same old Mets. Since the all-star break, the Mets are an embarrassing 11-26 and have gone from .5 a game out of the wildcard to an insurmountable 10 games back. The Mets woes have just become worse with the news that their Ace, Johan Santana, will be sidelined for the rest of the season with yet another injury. Johan’s most recent ailment was diagnosed as lower back inflammation and can be placed on Santana’s long list of disappointing Disabled List visits as a New York Met.
Since being signed to one of the biggest contracts in baseball history back in 2008, Johan has had some extreme highs and lows while wearing the orange and blue. His best season was his first with the Mets where he was 16-7 with a 2.53 ERA and 206 strikeouts. 2009 and 2010 got progressively worse and then Johan was sidelined for the entire 2011 season because of a shoulder surgery that a lot of people thought would end his career. There’s no denying that Johan is a fighter because he was ready to go once the 2012 season rolled around and it looked as if he had found the skills that won him 2 Cy Young awards back with the Minnesota Twins. The Venezuelan was throwing his change up and fastball with such confidence that it looked like his talents combined with the Mets knuckler, RA Dickey, were going to lead the Mets to their first playoff appearance with Johan on the roster. During a stretch where the Mets seemed absolutely unbeatable, Johan took the mound on what seemed to be just a regular Friday night.
I know that I will never forget that June 1st night where Johan Santana pitched the first ever New York Mets no-hitter, but I also won’t forget how abysmal Johan’s stats were for the rest of season after it. In his 10 starts since the no no, Johan had an ugly 3-7 record with an astronomical 8.27 ERA. His opponents were batting .327 against him and he was giving up more than a homer a game. It was even uglier in the final five games where he was 0-5 and had a disgusting 15.63 ERA (worst in baseball during that stretch). It seemed like something was off and everyone was pointing fingers at injuries that hadn’t even been diagnosed yet. If you are a Mets fan than you know that if Johan is not pitching well it is because he is injured, because when he is healthy there is no one in the game better than him. Unfortunately for the Mets, he is injured more often than not.
Just two weeks ago, Terry Collins announced that he was going to play a 6 man starting rotation and that the only starter who was going to pitch on regular rest was RA. Now with Johan done for the year he is going to have to rethink things. The Mets season seems to be over for the most part but the real question is whether Johan’s career is over. If Johan returns, will he return as a Met? The Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson seems to think so.
“I’m very confident he’ll be back next season ready to go, hopefully in a stronger position coming into this season, if you look back at this season and what we reasonably would’ve expected at the beginning of the year, he’s accomplished quite a lot,” Alderson said.
Regardless of what Sandy Alderson, the worst GM in all of baseball thinks, Johan will never be good again. This injury is just a cherry on the top of what has been sheer and utter disappointment from Johan as a New York Met. I know that his 2008 season was pretty damn good, but when you make the type of money that Johan has, over 23 million a year, you better have more that just a pretty good season. I should have expected that he would never prove to be anything more than a flash in the pan because that’s what the Mets produce…right Jason Bay. We give these exorbitant contracts to players who look great with someone else and then we turn them into people who will end up on the Bleacher Report as one of the most overpaid players in sports. It makes me sick that no matter what direction the Mets have tried to go it is always seems to be the wrong direction. Every team in baseball wanted to sign Johan, but the Mets were lucky enough, or unlucky enough depending on how you look at it, to acquire him. But the second he put on the jersey that leads to nothing more than mediocrity, his career was doomed.
Now I have been a Mets fan my whole life and that’s not going to change. I always try to look for the silver lining in all things related to the sports teams I root for. The departure of Johan will make way for another Mets prospect, Right-hander Collin McHugh, who will look to build on the Mets other rookie starting pitcher, Matt Harvey. It doesn’t look like the Mets are too far away from putting together a solid young rotation, but for the time being the Mets suck again and now I’m just waiting for my Jets to come around and help me forget about them. The sad thing is that the Jets are looking pretty awful so I might be waiting until late October so my Knicks can give me hope of winning a championship…but they probably won’t.