COMMENTARY | Devastation is nothing new to the New York Mets. It's in our DNA as loyal fans and followers, and when something good comes along (i.e. the success of R.A. Dickey), we usually pay for it down the line.
That moment has come.
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, starting pitcher Johan Santana has likely re-torn the anterior capsule in his left shoulder, and could subsequently miss the entire 2013 season. Santana first tore his pitching shoulder in September 2010, and sat out all of 2011.
Unlike the famed and more common Tommy John surgery--where a pitcher's repaired arm actually becomes stronger post-surgery--shoulder tears are notorious career-enders. For instance, former All-Stars Robb Nen and Brandon Webb tore their shoulders at ages 32 and 30, respectively, and were forced to retire from baseball.
Yet, to Santana's credit, his first shoulder tear did not deter him from making a comeback. In 2012, the southpaw made his triumphant return to the hill on April 5, hurling 5 innings of two-hit, no-run baseball. The veteran even pitched the franchise's first no-hitter, fanning 8 St. Louis Cardinals on June 1, marching his way into Mets history books.
Even though Santana endured a noticeable fade after his no-hitter (8.27 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, 2.38 K/BB vs. 2.38 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 3.23 K/BB) and encountered a few nagging injuries toward the end of the season, the breaking news about his re-tear is shocking and unfortunate.
Since then-general manager Omar Minaya did not insure Santana's contract, the Mets will not be able to recoup any of the $31 million still owed to the pitcher for 2013 and his 2014 buyout. Assuming Santana is out for the entire season, the team will have to turn to Jeremy Hefner to assume his slot in the rotation.
Hefner, who has enjoyed a solid spring (3.47 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 3.17 K/BB), owns a career 5.09 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, and 3.44 K/BB in 93 2/3 major-league innings. It is unlikely the Mets will rush stud prospect Zack Wheeler as a result of Santana's injury.
Ben Berkon is a freelance sports, humor, and tech writer/blogger from New York City. Berkon's work has been featured on The Huffington Post, The Onion, Contently, Medium, and Rising Apple, and he also manages The Beanball and Blah Blah Berkon, his personal stat-heavy baseball and humor blogs, respectively. He's [unfortunately] been a Mets follower his entire life.
Follow him at @BenBerkon.
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