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Is Johan Santana Still on This Team?

Posted By Jim Mancari On Sep 13 2011 @ 11:17 am In New York Mets | No Comments

In winter 2008, the Mets paid a hefty price to acquire Johan Santana from the Minnesota Twins. Four good-looking prospects and a six-year, $137.5 million contract is what it took for the Mets to secure their new ace.

As of now, the trade, at least based on the prospects, looks like a steal for the Mets. Philip Humber, Carlos Gomez and Kevin Mulvey are no longer with the Twins, while Deolis Guerra pitched this season in Double-A.

However, the problem for the Mets is that Santana just can’t stay healthy. What’s the point of having such a dominant ace if he’s never going to be on the mound?

Reports surfaced yesterday that it’s unlikely Santana will pitch for the Mets this season. With just over two weeks to go, his goal was to get back to Citi Field to prove to everyone that he’ll be 100 percent by spring training 2012.

He’s scheduled to throw four innings in a rehab start in Savannah this Thursday, but after that, who knows?

One thing is certain: The Mets are way out of contention this year, so is it really worth it to try to rush back Santana to pitch a meaningless game?

Yes, it would be a great boost of confidence to actually see him on the mound at Citi Field facing professional hitters, but it’s really not worth the risk.

Let’s say he suffers another setback and is forced into extended spring training next year. Then what?

He said he goal is to be pitching for the Mets on Opening Day 2012. A healthy Santana would totally transform the team’s starting rotation.

He would easily assume his role as the team’s ace and would take some pressure off of Mike Pelfrey. Jon Niese, R.A. Dickey, Dillon Gee and Chris Capuano—assuming the Mets keep these pitchers—would all battle it out for the open spots. Adding a high-profile free agent starting pitcher is very unlikely.

Since it’s been so long since we’ve seen him in action, it’s easy to forget that the Mets still have Santana. Well actually, based on his crippling salary, it’s not that easy.

Hopefully, Santana returns next year with a vengeance. However, if he’s healthy enough to pitch a few innings in late September, I’d say go for it.

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