Mets Diamond Notes: Nick Swisher as a Met? Johan Santana With Pitch Limit Thursday

By Matt Musico

I know, that sounds kind of weird, doesn’t it? There was a story posted on MetsBlog that asked the same question. With the way things have gone for all three of the outfield positions for the Mets this season, every possible opportunity should be considered. So far in 2012, Nick Swisher has hit .269/.351/.482, including 18 home runs and 69 RBI. In 2011, he slugged 23 homers and drove in 85 runs in what has been a solid New York Yankee lineup.

It is anticipated that the Yankees will offer Swisher salary arbitration this off-season, but it’s looking like we’ll see the outfielder become a free agent in the winter, so it’s possible Sandy Alderson and the Mets could go after him. Even though I’d rather not imagine him as a Met because he’s been a Yankee for four seasons, it makes a lot of sense for the Mets to consider pursuing Swisher. He’s finishing up a six-year/$36 million contract he signed while in Oakland and will most likely be looking for another three of four year deal. Entering his age-32 season in 2013, giving up that kind of contract shouldn’t be a big deal for Alderson.

The biggest issue will be the money involved, as he would most likely look for something north of his current $6 million salary. Outside of that, Swisher could give the Mets everything they need; someone that can play decent defense in a corner outfield position, is a switch hitter and can play against both lefty and righty pitchers, and has some pop to protect David Wright in the lineup. For those reasons alone, the front office should be having a conversation about approaching Swisher.

Now, on to our daily news on Johan Santana. After throwing his scheduled bullpen at Citi Field yesterday afternoon, Terry Collins and Alderson announced that the ace is still scheduled to start Thursday afternoon’s finale against the Rockies. However, Santana will be limited to a strict pitch count under 100 pitches. What is that number under 100? It was not announced, as it will be up to Collins to feel out when Santana has had enough. In their announcement, Alderson also stated that they will be evaluating Johan on a start-by-start basis, and will not hesitate to shut him down to protect that surgically repaired shoulder.

With news last week that Jenrry Mejia could likely be inserted into the starting rotation once rosters expand on September 1st, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Johan has one or two starts left in his season. It looks like the six-man rotation will stay in play, as it was implemented to benefit not only Santana, but Chris Young as well. So, Mejia could take Santana’s place in the rotation for the final month of 2012, as the Mets ace will look to come back strong in 2013. Since his historic no-hitter on June 1st, Santana has gone 3-7 with a 8.27 ERA in 10 starts. Eeekkk.