Guest Blog by our proud Partner, Phil Naessens (originally posted here)
On Friday March 29, 2013 New York Mets fans received the terrible news that beloved ace Johan Santana would most likely miss the entire season due to a tear in the anterior capsule in his left shoulder. This is the same exact injury that sidelined Santana for the entire 2011 campaign and the Mets have exercised their 2014 buyout option of 5.5 million effectively ending Santana’s career as a New York Met.
The Mets fan base are obviously shaken by the news and understandably so. Johan Santana was their ace and after throwing the first no-hitter of franchise history during his comeback from AC surgery he became a hero to many. I stopped getting attached to New York Mets players ever since the New York Mets traded away my boyhood hero Tom Seaver. After all, if they could trade away the best player to ever don a Mets cap than no one was safe so what would be the point?
So, when the Minnesota Twins traded the two-time Cy Young Award winner to the New York Mets for what amounted to a bag of used baseballs I was intrigued but cautious at the possibilities and then when the team signed Santana to a monster contact of 6 years and 137.5 million with a club option for 2014 my reaction was “I hope he’s worth it”.
So, was he worth the money?
For the record the New York Mets wound up paying Santana 143 million dollars for his time in a Mets uniform. That 143 million includes the 5.5 million dollar buyout for 2014. While that seems like small change in today’s big money game let’s take a look at what the Mets received in return.
Santana was 46-34 as a starting pitcher and hurled 717 innings…..if one were to average this out in terms of dollars per win the Mets paid their star hurler nearly 3 million dollars a victory or almost 2 million dollars an inning. Those numbers are mind numbing aren’t they?
From a statistics standpoint Santana’s best year as a Met was his initial 2008 season where he went 16-7 with a career best ERA of 2.53….that was quite a season and who could ever forget his complete game gem against the Florida Marlins on three days’ rest AND with a torn meniscus in his left knee? Also remember this; that season Santana was also the victim of seven blown saves which obviously tainted his otherwise amazing season and one that left him in third place in the Cy Young voting.
One could say his entire Mets career went the same way. He pitched well but also spent plenty of time on the disabled list missing the entire 2011 season, most of the second half of 2012 and obviously the entire 2013 season…..
Santana’s career ERA as a New York Met of 3.11 really tells the story of Santana’s Mets career…..he pitched like a bulldog but didn’t get the run support nor did he get any help from the bullpen….in short while he did what a real ace is supposed to do his teammates didn’t and that is a real pity.
June 1st 2012 will always stand out in my mind as Santana’s signature moment as a New York Met when he hurled a no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals. He threw 138 pitches in that game which was far more than he ever did before and while many believe that game attributed to his current situation we really will never know….but what we do know is this; Johan Santana permanently etched his name into franchise history and in the hearts of every New York Mets fan……including mine.
So, was he worth the money?
In terms of dollars and cents not really but sometimes true value isn’t found in numbers but in what a player brings to his team and Santana was one tough and courageous hombre who busted his ass every time he took the hill and in today’s game that my friends is priceless.
Thanks for the memories Johan!
Follow Phil Naessens on Twitter @flashtennis31
Follow us on Twitter @rbts_baseball