A few moments ago, Sandy Alderson was on a conference call aired on SNY, and the news couldn’t have been worse. The Mets had Johan Santana get an MRI to see if there was any damage to his throwing arm, and it looks like there is a probable re-tear in his surgically repaired shoulder, and the New York GM said that while they’re not sure of any details at this point, it’s likely the southpaw will once again miss the season.
While being poked numerous times for details about when the injury happened, what the recovery time would be after a second surgery (among other things), Alderson didn’t have any answers, as the organization hasn’t gotten past the initial news that Santana would be lost for the entire 2013 season. Sandy also said he’s pretty sure this year of Johan’s contract is uninsured, but he’s not 100% positive.
This is just awful news. I was looking forward to seeing Johan get back up on the mound this year with a chip on his shoulder, proving his critics wrong. He’s the ultimate competitor and has had a wonderful career, and you hate to see a good guy like him go down with another incredibly severe injury. I’m a big proponent of players being able end their respective careers on their own terms. It’s rare when ballplayers are given that opportunity, which is why I was in favor of Mariano Rivera coming back for one more season. The details of this injury and possible course of action are yet to be determined, but it’s very possible it could be career-ending.
During the call, Alderson said no decisions on Johan’s future will be made until next week, as he will have the weekend to take in everything that’s happened over the last month and a half. What made it tougher is that I could hear the disappointment and sadness in Sandy’s voice. As much as this game is a business and he was fielding questions about the $31 million he’s owed this sason, this game is also about people, too. No one wishes an injury like this on one of their peers, and I’m certain nobody wishes it to happen twice.
It remains to be seen what Johan will decide to do, but it’s all but certain his Mets career is over, and it’s disappointing that it had to end this way. There will be people who begin to tear him apart for his huge contract and how he just took money from the Mets while being injured, but I don’t see it that way. I see it as someone who was willing to constantly sacrifice his personal health to get on the field and play for his ball club.
I was there in 2008 when he threw a complete game shutout against the Marlins on one knee, and when I found out about that afterward, I was in awe. That started an unfortunate trend where Santana would spend each off-season getting some kind of surgery, then having to go through a grueling rehab process so he could man the top of the rotation at Citi Field that upcoming April. I’ll always maintain that trading for him and agreeing to that big deal was worth every penny.
I’ll never forget jumping up and down with excitement upon hearing the news of what Omar pulled off, I’ll never forget the night he turned into the Nohan, and I’ll certainly never forget his first start back at Citi after his no-no, as I watched him shutout the Baltimore Orioles for six innings from the left field, which will probably end up being the last time I saw him live in the Orange and Blue.
The immediate future for you is uncertain, Johan, but I will forever appreciate everything you’ve sacrificed for this organization, and for giving us a start on June 1st, 2012 that I’ll be able to tell my children about.