New York Mets starting pitcher Johan Santana may never throw another pitch again. In a conference call on Thursday, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said that Santana has probably re-torn the anterior capsule in his left shoulder. If the capsule is torn, Santana would need a second surgery on the shoulder and would miss all of the 2013 season.
Santana initially had surgery for the torn capsule in September of 2010, and he missed all of the 2011 season recovering from the surgery. Santana came back to the Mets in 2012, and the 34-year old pitched fine over the first three months of the season, pitching to a 2.84 ERA in 95 innings. However, in five starts in July and August, Santana was awful, throwing only 19 innings and putting together an awful 15.63 ERA. People like to point at Santana's 134 pitch no-hitter on June 1st against the Cardinals as the moment his season peaked, but after allowing ten runs in ten innings over his next two starts, Santana allowed just two runs in 20 innings to close out June before it hit the fan as the calendar turned to July.
Two major shoulder surgeries under Santana's belt going into the 2014 season, when he'd be 35, isn't a good omen for his future success. Early in his career, Santana was on a Hall of Fame path with the Twins, winning two Cy Young awards in three years and getting robbed of a third. by Bartolo Colon in 2005. But since being dealt to the Mets before the 2008 season, it's been a different story for Santana. He topped 200 innings just once with New York, in his first year with the club, after crossing that mark in his last four years with the Twins. He also only made 30 starts once as a Met and has never struck out a batter per inning, which he did six times as a Twin.
If this is the end for Santana, it'll be a disappointing conclusion. Once thought to be one of the best pitchers in the game, he simply hasn't lived up to his six year, $137.5 million contract that he signed after Minnesota dealt him east. For that $137.5 million, Santana gave the Mets just 717 innings and contributed only 12.6 fWAR to the team…or about $10.9 million per win.
Santana is due to make $25.5 million for the Mets this year, and if he doesn't throw a pitch, the Mets will have more than half of their $83 milloin payroll to players who won't play for them in 2013 after eating Jason Bay's contract. To make matters worse for the Mets (if possible), Santana's contract reportedly isn't insured at all, meaning that they're not even going to get any salary relief like the Braves did with Mike Hampton's never-ending spree of injuries or the Yankees are with Mark Teixeira's WBC-induced wrist injury.