MMO Mailbag: Johan Santana As The 2013 Mets Closer
I received this interesting question yesterday from one of our readers, USMF.
I have an idea on what to do with Santana next year and thought it could be a good debate question for the MMO staff.
Seeing Johan’s recent struggles, I was wondering about moving Santana into the Closers Role next year similar to what the Braves did with John Smoltz.
We know the pen has tons of problems, especially in the closers position and i don’t see Sandy being able to do anything major to correct the issues.
Santana has had problems recently, and even when he was doing good, he had problems going deep into games. We know Santana has big game mentality so i think he could easily handle the pressure of closing. I also believe that pitching only one inning at a time would allow Santana to put more velocity on his FB, keep him fresh all year and not give the hitters a chance to figure him out and burn him by the 4th inning.
Of course this move is dependent on many things. We have some decent young starters coming up, but are they ready to have success at the bigs? Moving Santana from the starting rotation would mean that we’d be relying on a rotation of 1. Dickey. 2. Niese 3. Harvey 4. Gee 5. Hefner with Mejia, Wheeler and Familia in AAA waiting for their chance and possibly Young and Pelf signing minor league contracts until they show they are healthy and needed.
It also means that Santana would have to accept the move and the Mets would have to be OK with paying Santana $25 million to close. Additionally, we must hope that Santana can handle pitching the irregular schedule of a reliever.
What do you guys think?
That’s a great question and honestly, at this stage of the game and under these dire Mets circumstances, ALL options need to be considered.
If Johan Santana cannot regain the form he showed in the first half of this season, and shows up to spring training continuing to struggle as a starter, by all means lets see what he can achieve out of the bullpen.
Santana has always been a team-first player, so if he comes to grips with the realization that a move to the bullpen would be best for the team, I have no doubt that he would do it.
You mentioned Santana’s warrior mentality and you’re correct in mentioning that as a key factor in a successful transition to a closer. John Smoltz had that swagger, and so does Johan Santana. You need that to excel as a late game reliever.
All of that said, the Mets are going to try everything they can, and go through many exhaustive measures, before they even consider a switch to the bullpen.
I’ve yet to see that type of out-of-the-box thinking from this front office anyway. This isn’t the same as handing Justin Turner and Jordany Valdespin an outfielders glove and pointing them toward rightfield.
Putting Santana in the bullpen will be a last resort, and that usually means that by the time they consider a move like that next season, it might not be until late July at a time that the Mets will already be out of contention again.
David Wright referred to this front office’s impact in the last two years as a “baby step”. I’d go as far as saying they are guilty of operating at a snail’s pace and I really can’t wait to see what exactly they will have to say when 2014 finally gets here and we are no closer to being a viable contender than we were in 2010.
About the Author: Joe DeCaro
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.
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