The Mets revealed this week that Johan Santana is going to miss the 2013 season with shoulder problems. He is contemplating whether to undergo surgery again to attempt to salvage the remainder of his career, or to simply retire. His contract guarantee with the Mets expires at end of this season.
Johan Santana pushed himself to throw 134 pitches in his no-hitter against the Cardinals last June, famously bringing his skipper Terry Collins to tears.
Collins knew Santana was risking his health to finish the game, as he’d come off of shoulder surgery and been on a strict pitch count. Indeed, Santana seemed depleted by the experience, and after a mediocre few weeks the bottom fell out of his season altogether.
At 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA, he ended with his worst stats since his rookie year in 2000. Incredibly bad stats considering Santana was, along with R.A. Dickey, the team’s ace through the first nine weeks of the season, leading the Mets to a c0mpetitive first half.
Though the effort expended in the historic no-hitter–the Mets franchise’s first ever–can’t be established as the single cause of Santana’s health woes, it is an inevitable presumption of those who observed the season’s trajectory.
So, Mets fans, was it worth it?
Mets brain trust denies that Santana’s no-hit effort is the cause of his downfall, and GM Sandy Alderson made clear that if it was a case of the pitcher’s health vs. the no-hitter, the decision would have been a no-brainer.
Alderson said, “That wouldn’t have been a price to be paid. Was [the no-hitter] a nice part of Mets history? Yeah, absolutely. If it came at the price of Johan’s career? No, not worth it.”
Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen said he did not think Santana’s 134-pitch no-hitter caused the re-tear in his pitching shoulder.
“This is not a byproduct of the no-hitter. At least I don’t feel it was in any way, shape or form — because he had good velocity and arm strength after that,” Warthen said. “And it doesn’t matter, because he would have never let us get him out of the game anyway.”