Johan Santana Out For Season

Johan Santana Out for Season

Mets’ Johan Santana Out for Season, Maybe Gone Forever

In 2007 the New York Mets finished their season in the worst way imaginable.  They were 7 games ahead in their division, with only 17 left to play.  They lost the pennant to the Philadelphia Phillies.  GM Omar Minaya worked a deal to obtain one of the best lefthanders in baseball, Johan Santana.

The Mets traded Carlos Gomez, Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey, and on Feb. 2, 2008 signed Santana to a long term contract.

He pitched well, although the Mets remained out of the playoffs.

In 2010 he underwent shoulder surgery.  He would be out for more than a year.

He pitched on opening day in 2012, and pitched well for the first half of the season.  His season was highlighted by a “no-hitter” on June 1st against the St. Louis Cardinals.  He threw 134 pitches that evening.

His next two starts were dismal, and he lost both of them.  He rallied to win the next three in a row.

Wednesday he underwent an MRI, which was announced by manager Sandy Alderson on Thursday evening.  Today, his season is over, and possibly his career.  The 34 year old suffered a re-tear of the anterior capsule in his left shoulder.

He is in the final year of a 137.5 million dollar contract.

“We don’t know when it happened, how it happened,” Alderson said. “What we do know is that at some point, symptoms appeared, and they worsened, rather than improved. It’s possible Johan will be able to shed more light on that, but at this point we simply don’t know.”

Sports have deteriorated in quality during my nearly 60 years of watching them.  The cause is simple, it’s money.

The Mets, like so many teams put “all their eggs in one basket”, attempting to buy a championship.  That has never worked, but teams in all sports continue to shell out millions of dollars to an individual player who they believe will guarantee them a world championship.

Today many players in baseball and basketball have salaries greater than the entire payroll of past professional teams.  The result has been overpricing of seats at the games, and a creation of “superstars” at the expense of consistent success.

One injury to a key player, and the team’s season is often finished.

Nothing proves this more than professional basketball.  Few teams actually stand a chance of winning a world championship.  Salaries have risen to such a ridiculous level, that few teams have more than one “star player”.  One injury, or losing one to free agency can decimate an organization.  Hundreds of empty seats in many arenas are the direct result of overpaid players.

This year free agency arrived in the NFL in a big way.  With a salary cap in place, several senior players with unaffordable contracts were allowed to seek other employment.  And some teams, desperate to find a way to America’s biggest event, the Super Bowl, have been willing to pay the price.

Each NFL team has 53 players.  There are 11 starters on offense, and 11 on defense.  With the exception of quarterback, there is no one player that can make a difference on every play.  And, even then, he must be an exceptional quarterback who is not injury prone.

Being a Pittsburgh Steeler fan is easy for me.  One of their unwritten policies is to not single out individual players as “superstars”.  They pay fair salaries, but even had quarterback Ben Roethlisberger re-structure his contract to allow the team to keep other vital players.  And he’s taken them to 3 Super Bowls, winning 2 of them.

I question the decision making of teams such as the Baltimore Ravens.  Before free agency began, they agreed to an outrageously expensive contract with quarterback Joe Flacco.  Although he won a Super Bowl last year, he is still unproven.  A porous San Francisco defense early in the game, coupled with costly penalties gave the Ravens their first 3 touchdowns.

Agreeing to pay Flacco such a large sum, cost them dearly in free agency.  They had a mediocre defense in the regular season last year.  They lost their best players to other teams, as well as their best wide receiver.  They didn’t have enough money to keep them under the “cap”.

Without Santana in the starting rotation, the Mets’ pitching staff is greatly weakened.  Will they be competitive without him?  Only time will tell.  162 games is a long season.

The first pitch will be thrown this Sunday the 31st of March.  Go buy some “Crackerjacks”.

James Turnage

Columnist-The Guardian Express

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