With the Mets now officially the worst team in baseball, and no clear way to stop the bleeding, these are the times we miss ace Johan Santana. Without Santana, the Mets have no legitimate stopper in the rotation, something they are in dire need of. But given that we shouldn’t realistically expect Santana to return until July, what are the Mets to do in the mean time?
With the rotation in complete flux and no clear solution, the absence of Santana can be clearly felt. The Mets have dropped 12 of their last 14, winning only with Chris Young, who has since been placed on the DL, and Dillon Gee, who has merely six starts in the majors in his career. The healthy mainstays in the rotation, Pelfrey, Dickey and Niese, have combined for a 1-8 record to start the season, hardly acting as stoppers. As the Mets continue to plunge down the standings of the NL East, no clear solution seems to be in place. Could Santana have made a difference so far this year? No question.
Santana, who is expected back at the earliest late June, has been the Mets’ stopper since being acquired prior to the 2008 season. Now without the 32-year old southpaw, the pitching staff in falling apart at the seams.
The staff has mustered an abysmal 5.18 ERA, a figure that ranks at the basement of the National League and 29th in all of baseball, second only to the Boston Red Sox.
Although Santana should return sometime mid-season, the ailing ace may never be the Cy Young caliber pitcher he once was. The type of injury Santana has suffered can compromise careers of pitchers. Even though that does not appear to be the case, some scouts are saying that Santana will return not as an ace quality pitcher, but as a 3rd starter at best.
While Mets fans pray this is not the case, any morsel of the former Johan Santana we can get salvage from him can help put a band aid over the gaping hole that has somehow become the 2011 Mets rotation. Someone has to stop the bleeding before this gets even more embarrassing, will it be Dillon Gee? Chris Young? R.A. Dickey? who knows. All we know is this rotation is much different without Santana.