Why Is Johan Exempt From Criticism?

Johan Santana is not having a great year so far.  Santana is 5-5 with an ERA of 3.55.  It’s obvious that the great Santana is on a decline.  Santana’s K/9 ratio is at a career low.  Even more alarming Santana’s contact ratio is at a career high!  His average velocity is also at a career low.  I understand that you can’t go by wins and loses with pitchers, it’s a meaningless stat.  It’s true in Santana’s case since he has gotten little to no run support and he’ll make sure to remind you of that.  Having said that in his last 4 starts he’s allowed 17 runs; that’s an average of 4.25 runs per game.  In his last 5 games he has walked 14 batters!  It’s hard to win games when your supposed ace is allowing that many runs.

If anyone criticizes Santana everyone immediately defends him, calls you a bandwagaon fan, etc…   They then cite his game against the Marlins in September of 2008.  That was a great pitching performance, no doubt about it.  Even more remarkable is the fact that Santana was pitching with a bad knee that would require surgery in the off season.  Having said that the Marlins game was 2 years ago!  It only prolonged the season by one day because the 2008 team under Jerry Manuel collapsed and missed the playoffs by one game for the second straight year.  It amazes me how fans can watch this season and say that Santana is just as good as he was that September day.

In New York it’s not what have you done in the past; it’s what are you doing for me now?  And to be honest not a whole lot in regards to Johan Santana.  Santana got injured last year and had to have surgery on his pitching elbow.  Two seasons with the Mets and 2 surgeries.  Last year David Wright had his first “bad season” in his career and everyone was screaming to trade him.  Jose Reyes makes an error and people want to run him out of New York.  Mike Pelfrey had a bad year last year and everyone was ready to cut him loose.  So why exactly is Johan exempt from this?

Santana was brought here to win a championship and he hasn’t made a playoff appearance yet for the Mets.  He’s not a good teammate as he has constantly thrown his teammates under the bus when something doesn’t go his way.  Also now his character is in question with those allegations surfacing last week.  If we are rewarding players for the past why all the dislike towards Oliver Perez?  After all he did pitch a great game 7.  Or for that matter lets defend John Maine since he pitched great in 2007.  Santana opened his mouth during Spring Training and said he was the best pitcher in the N.L. East.  Obviously that was all talk as he’s at best the 4th best pitcher in the Mets rotation never mind the division.  Johan has a horrible game and there’s always an excuse like “oh he’s tipping his pitches” or “he just had bone chips removed or “he still needs to build arm strength.”

Santana was one of the best pitchers in the game when he got here, there’s no denying that.  The Marlins game is a classic that will be talked about for years but it’s time to realize that Santana is gone.  David Lennon said it best in his piece on Sunday that Santana is a .500 pitcher.  He’s not the ace of the staff no more and we need to stop thinking of him like that.