As if things couldn’t get worse regarding Johan Santana, it has now been reported that when Santana had his surgery last week, it was not arthroscopic surgery as many had thought. It was a traditional surgery with a full incision to open up the shoulder and repair the anterior capsule tear.
According to David Waldstein of the New York Times,
Because of the nature of Johan Santana’s shoulder injury and the operation to repair it, the Mets cannot expect him to return to his normal pitching capabilities until late next season at best, and more likely not until 2012, according to an expert on shoulder injuries.
I echo the statement of Michael Baron of MetsBlog who writes,
No matter what, I have to believe Omar Minaya, or whomever is the general manager going into next season, he or she has to approach the rotation assuming Santana will not be back next season, and look to acquire a top-of-the-rotation starter.
There’s no way that the Mets could possibly go into next season with the inconsistent Mike Pelfrey as the presumed ace. R.A. Dickey will be in the rotation somewhere, but to try and predict a repeat of this season with an unpredictable pitch like a knuckleball would be insanity for the Mets, and they must look at Dickey as a #4 pitcher at best for now. Niese is still developing, and who knows if Dillon Gee or Jenrry Mejia are even up for the task.
If the Mets don’t make a run at Cliff Lee as many have reported, there are no other options in free agency and the possibility of moving a core player becomes very real. One name that has been rumored to be available is Zach Grienke of the Kansas City Royals.
With the Santana situation now as dire as it could get, the Mets must at least attempt to make a strong bid for the Royals’ ace.
The 26-year old righthander, has a 1.21 WHIP and a 3.90 ERA this season, after a huge 2009 season when he went 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA in 33 starts and winning the Cy Young Award. In four seasons he has not had an ERA over 4.00 despite facing some of the AL’s best offensive hitters.
Are there better options out there for the Mets? Maybe one or two, but Grienke is the only one I know that is reportedly unhappy with his team and will bolt when his current contract expires after the 2012 season.