Archive for the ‘Johan Santana’ Category

Johan Santana 2008-2013

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Well, that turned out to be pretty disappointing, huh?

Actually, I’m not sure that’s fair. It’s hard to call Johan Santana’s time with the Mets disappointing because he did give Mets fans two indelible highlights. There was his season-saving, complete game shutout of the then-Florida Marlins 2-0 in Game 161 of 2008. Nine innings, nine strikeouts, only three hits and three walks allowed, and complete domination from start to finish, on three days’ rest with a knee that would require surgery. Sadly, as amazing as it sounds, that start will go down as the next to last September game Santana will pitch in his Mets career.

And of course, there was the no-hitter. Sadly, I wasn’t watching the game live. I was at an awful wrestling show in Rahway, New Jersey, a wrestling show I had regretted attending even before my friend texted me to let me know Santana was taking a no-hitter into the ninth inning. My friend Grim and I then huddled around my phone, following the MLB At Bat app as it ever so slowly updating us as to what was going on in the game. When Santana recorded the final out, I stood up and yelled out a cheer…as Big Van Vader was stalling outside the ring in his match with 2 Cold Scorpio. I got some looks.

Unfortunately, that’s all Mets fans really have for Johan Santana, a few isolated moments. He only pitched one complete season for us out of six, and that was his first season. He finished third in the Cy Young voting that year, perhaps robbed of an award he would not have deserved by a bullpen that blew seven leads for him. That was the season capped off by Game 161, which feels so long ago by now. It doesn’t help that the Mets promptly lost Game 162, overshadowing Santana’s gutsy pitching performance, and really putting a damper on a fine season by Santana.

After that game, things went downhill quickly for Santana. He threw 166 innings in 2009, before bone chips in his pitching elbow ended his season. He threw 199 innings before anterior capsule surgery ended his 2010 season, and his 2011 season as well.

He returned in 2012, and for a few months, if you squinted hard enough and pretended, it was like Johan was back again. He didn’t throw as hard, but he was as smart and tenacious as ever. Everything culminated with the no-hitter on June 1, but after that, things took a steep trip downward. Santana had an 8.27 ERA in his last ten starts, allowing 45 hits and 18 walks in 49 innings, and amazingly, 13 of those 45 hits were home runs. Santana was always a flyball pitcher, but this was extreme, even for him. Something wasn’t right. I don’t know if something happened in the no-hitter, but considering his latest injury is another tear of his anterior capsule, I think it was something that was bound to happen at some point regardless.

This leaves me with mixed thoughts. The good memories include a sublime 2008 season, a dominant performance to stay the Mets’ execution one day, and the first no-hitter in team history, along with approximately 74 other starts, most of them good, some of them great. The bad include two whole missed seasons, three other seasons cut short due to injury, a few poor starts after the no-hitter, and $137.5 million of mostly dead money over the course of six years.

I’m not going to go so far as to say the $137.5 million was worth spending. That money failed to help the Mets move any closer towards a World Series championship, or even a playoff spot. Not all of that is Santana’s fault, of course, but for a team whose owners quickly learned they were a lot poorer than they realized, to have that much dead money on the team’s ledger undoubtedly hurts quite a bit.

But if you asked me am I glad Johan Santana was a Met? That answer is an unequivocal yes. Santana starts were always an event. Every Santana start brought the promise of the team’s first no-hitter, until he delivered on that promise last June 1. He was a great pitcher through and through, one who made the team more fun to follow when he was healthy than it was when he was hurt. He didn’t quite achieve the brilliance in New York that he had in Minnesota, and he didn’t push this team over the hump towards a world championship like Mets fans were hoping on February 2, 2008, but it was still a treat to witness his greatness while we had the chance.

Also, in case I didn’t make this clear earlier…HE THREW THE FIRST NO HITTER IN METS HISTORY. No matter what, his legacy as a New York Met is secure, even if things didn’t go according to plan.

Grading the Mets pitchers

Friday, October 16th, 2009

A few days late, but oh well.  This is the last you’ll hear from me for about 10 days, as I’m going on vacation next week, but I suspect somebody else will post something while I’m gone.  Or…they won’t.  Either way, with the Yankees and Phillies playing in their respective League Championship Serieses, I can think of no better time to get away, other than maybe the following week if they wind up playing in the World Series.  Here are the Mets’ pitchers grades, and if you thought the hitters grades were ugly, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.


The Chris Wilcox’s Plan for 2010 – The Rotation

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Fifth part of a series.  For my plan for catcher, the infield, the outfield, and the bullpen, click on over.

The last on-field part of this series will look at what might be the most difficult area to fix this offseason on the cheap, the rotation.  I’ve listed ways to fix first base, catcher, and the outfield without spending a ton of money, but because other teams overvalue the cost of starting pitching, it artificially raises the cost of obtaining a good pitcher.  That’s why it’s so important that the team work on developing pitching from within, with the hopes of churning out cheap starters year after year, and converting failed starting prospects into relievers to avoid offering closers $17.5 million vesting options.  Alas, I digress.


The 2009 New York Mets – Job’s Favorite Team

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

And sadly, I don’t mean GOB Bluth, although somehow that would be appropriate too.  But with all of the pratfalls that have befallen the Mets this year, from the Tony Bernazard situation and the Adam Rubin situation that grew from it, to the injuries on the field, to the ridiculous poor play, to the downright agonizing ways that this team has lost games, only an absolute masochist could truly enjoy this year’s Mets.

Here is a look at exactly what has gone wrong for this team:


Grading the pitchers’ first half

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Yesterday I did the hitters, today I’m tackling the pitchers.  Yes, this remains incredibly hacky.  I’m going to be taking a closer look at players, meaning I’m not using ERA alone (or really, at all) to look at how well they’ve performed; I’m going to look at their rate numbers (K/9, BB/9, etc) as well as some advanced statistics like FIP (again, if you aren’t hip to FIP, go to Amazin Avenue, where Sam Page, I have to say this again, wrote the best thing written on any Mets blog in 2009) to figure out who has made the grade and who hasn’t.


Reasons to be Thankful You’re a Mets Fan

Friday, November 28th, 2008
  1. The bright future of Jose Reyes and David Wright
  2. Johan Santana’s changeup.
  3. Memories of Mike Piazza’s dramatic home runs
  4. The Immortal Shinjo
  5. Robin Ventura’s grand slam single
  6. Endy Chavez’ catch
  7. Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowel were traded for Juan Samuel; that’s just funny.
  8. Mookie Wilson’s “hit” in the ’86 Series
  9. Keith Hernandez’ appearance on Seinfeld
  10. Al Leiter’s ’99 one-game playoff complete-game shutout
  11. The 7 train
  12. The ginormousness of Mr. Mets’ head; it’s so great that the Reds cloned him!
  13. The drama of the non-stop string of Almost No-Hitters
  14. Shawn Estes MISSED Roger Clemens; what other team would have a moment like that?
  15. The half-second during the bottom of the first inning on the last day of the 2007 season when we all thought that Ramon Castro’s line-out was a grand slam.
  16. Vince Coleman threw fire crackers at kids after a game; he thought he was an NFL running back or something.
  17. Vince Coleman’s firecracker fun was on the SAME DAY that Anthony Young lost his 27th straight game.  Awesome.
  18. Tom Seaver was in the dugout during the Mets 1986 Series win. The RED SOX’s dugout. Ouch.
  19. The constant smell of urine and tar at Shea Stadium.
  20. Suzyan Waldman is not an SNY broadcaster, but Gary Cohen is.