The news for the New York Mets is about as good as it is coming from North Korea these days. A recent picture of leader Kim Jung Un talking with his generals features a chart on the wall with the caption “Plans to Attack the U.S. Mainland.” Mets GM Sandy Alderson and lame duck manager Terry Collins should take a similar picture with a caption “Plans to Sink Mets Into the Basement.” It’s not even opening day and it is already that kind of season.
The writing is literally and figuratively on the wall for the Mets now that there is word that starting pitcher Johan Santana’s shoulder is injured again and will require season ending surgery. The hope of his leading the starting rotation is now gone, and with it is any chance for the Mets to be competitve in a division with the likes of the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, and Miami Marlins.
We fans keep thinking of Santana’s no-hitter thrown last year, and we like to believe (at least some of us) that special moment was the highlight of the last few years. There are some who blame Santana’s shoulder problems on that night when he hung on and pitched too long to get the last out and the magic of being the first Mets pitcher to toss a no-hitter. Perhaps that was the start of it, but it seems deeper than that. Some sources indicate Santana had issues with that shoulder previously, but at this point none of that matters anymore.
This situation only proves how dangerous it is to give pitchers long term deals. Santana’s 6-year/$137 million fiasco puts the Mets on the hook for $25 million this year, with the guy not logging in one inning. Every team takes a risk when signing pitchers because pitchers get hurt all the time. The Mets need to learn from this one, yet there will always be that time when a seemingly good deal is too sweet to pass up, and it will happen again.
For now the Mets are staring at Opening Day and wondering how to get through the remaining 161 games as quickly as possibly. Santana will be gone as will Collins after 2013. We can only hope that David Wright, newly christened team captain, can lead the team and generate some excitement. Sadly, the dog days of summer are already making these Mets feel the heat.
As for Santana, a genuine ace at one time, we have to turn the page. Like Rick and Elsa always will have Paris in the film Casablanca, we Mets fans will always have Santana’s no-hitter. But as Bogie’s Rick so astutely noted, “…that don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.” I think Mets fans know that but they will never, ever understand it.
Photo credits: Santana – theblaze.com ; Bogie&Bergman – dashandapinch.com