Mets Diamond Notes: Johan Santana Not ‘Untradeable,’ Bisons Shuffling out of Buffalo

By Matt Musico

Johan Santana‘s recent rough patch has been well documented through the media, and in the Mets record books, as his five straight starts with six-plus earned runs is now a franchise record. He’s had an up-and-down season in 2012 after returning from shoulder surgery, and Terry Collins will be having a conversation with Sandy Alderson today to see if they should consider shutting Santana down. The lefty is due to make more than $25 million in 2013, yet Andy Marinto of the Daily News says that there is a chance New York’s ace could have some trade value this winter.

An anonymous GM said that the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have been going on a spending spree since new ownership took over, could be a reasonable fit for Santana. All this talk would be contingent upon Santana recapturing his performance from earlier in the season and finishing out the year strong. If the Mets decide to shut him down to rest his arm, despite being healthy in their eyes, then no one would take a chance on Santana with such a large number next to his name next season. Martino mentioned that New York would have to kick in a significant amount of money, probably around $20 million, to an interested team to pay for his salary, and get Johan to waive his no-trade clause.

As intriguing a proposition this is from Martino, Santana isn’t going anywhere. If a trade could be made, Alderson would likely have to take on another big contract in exchange for shipping him out, which would inevitably be more expensive to the organziation. When it comes to huge contracts for the Mets next season and what to do with them, the only one I can see them possibly eating would be Jason Bay‘s. Santana showed that he can be effective post-shoulder surgery, and it’s possible he needs another winter to get stronger. With decreased velocity, he needs to have pinpoint accuracy as well, something he’s lacked over the last month.

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, the Mets are slated to face the AL Central for their interleague play in 2013. They will obviously still be having their annual tilt with the Yankees, but the Subway Series will get reduced to four games next year, two in the Bronx and two in Flushing. An interesting note that Rubin brought up is that the Mets haven’t faced the Chicago White Sox since 2002, which is the longest span of time between games for them to face any AL team.

Also reported by Rubin, Wally Backman, manager of the Mets Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, expects the Bisons to not be returning the city next season. Prior to being in Buffalo, the organization had a great relationship in Norfolk that spanned 40 years, but ended in 2006, prompting the move to Buffalo. The Bisons own a .456 winning percentage since then, and fans are becoming disinterested as attendance is decreasing. As for where their landing spot will be, it could be in the Pacific Coast League out in Las Vegas. The Blue Jays Triple-A affiliate is currently stationed there, with potential of them moving to Buffalo. What I learned is that teams can’t station their affiliates anywhere, they must be swapped with other teams in an established Triple-A market. It’s a shame the Bisons won’t be returning to Buffalo next year; it had to be convenient for players to make the trip to New York if they got called up. Moving to Las Vegas will certainly make it tougher with the time change and much longer flight, but heck, at the end of the day I wouldn’t be complaining about getting called up to the Bigs.