The future of Johan Santana returning with the Mets was a question many people had after the 2013 season ended. Two weeks ago, there was still a better-than-none chance of Santana signing a minor league deal with the Mets. However, this past week put a huge dent in the chances of Johan re-signing with the team he spent the past six years with.
A week ago, the Mets signed 29-year old LHP John Lannan to a minor league contract, with an invite to spring training. On Friday of last week, The Mets re-signed 33-year old RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka; also to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. Lannan and Matsuzaka are both expected to be competing for the final spot in the starting rotation, along with RHP Jenrry Mejia.
The signings of Lannan and Matsuzaka have most likely eliminated any chance of Johan coming back to Flushing.
There are multiple teams interested in signing the two-time Cy-Young Award winner, including the Twins; his former team. Santana is looked at by many people as “finished”. His tenure with the Mets was an inured filled one, having missed two out of the six years with the team. He underwent surgery on his left shoulder twice, which is a big factor to teams interested in him now. There isn’t even a guarantee that he can still pitch, and doing so in the majors is another question.
Even if the Mets signed Santana, he might not even be healthy enough to compete for the last spot in the starting rotation. He has assuredly thrown the last ever pitch of his Mets career, so let’s look back some highlights.
Johan Santana may be remembered by some Mets fans as the oft-injured southpaw who didn’t live up to the full value of his contract. But in fact, Santana will always be remembered for something else, one particular game on June 1st, 2012. That was when Santana pitched the 1st no-hitter in franchise history in the Mets’ 51st season. The score was 8-0, against the Cardinals; who had the best offense in the league at the time.
What was so agonizing before Santana pitched the no-hitter, was that the Mets have had some of the greatest pitchers in the history of the game log time with the team. As SNY Mets in-game announcer Gary Cohen said after the no-hitter, “This has been a franchise known for its pitching… From Seaver, to Koosman, and Darling to Cone. But it has taken to this day, June the 1st, twenty-twelve, for the Mets, to have a pitcher throw a no-hitter.” These words from Gary will be remembered by Mets fans for years to come.
Another factor that made the no-hitter special was that Santana had just undergone shoulder surgery only a year prior.
Many would say that the no-hitter caused Santana’s career to fall apart, and the stats back it up. Before his date with destiny, Santana had an ERA close to 2.75. After the no-no, Santana’s ERA was around 12. That is around a difference of 9 points, which would be unexplainable if he hadn’t pitched a career high 134 pitches during the no-hitter; Terry Collins set the bar at around 105 before the game.
All In all Johan Santana has had one-heck-of a career. Whether he signs with a team, or calls it quits, Johan Santana will be remembered as a legend by Mets fans.