Come on, did you really expect smooth sailing on Johan Santana’s rehab and comeback attempt for this season?
Santana shut it down about ten days ago after complaining of soreness in his surgically-repaired left shoulder. He is back to long-tossing on flat ground with the hope of returning to the mound later in the week. Considering how long it took Santana to graduate to the mound from flat ground initially, that’s an ambitious goal.
GM Sandy Alderson said the Mets’ recent success from their rotation removes the urgency to bring back Santana quickly. That comment brings about an interesting conclusion question: If the intent is to bring Santana back soon, shouldn’t the assumption be they are doing it because they believe they can compete for the playoffs, and if this were true, then what is the point of dealing off players at the deadline?
The only other conclusion I can draw from wanting Santana back soon is to ascertain his health with the purpose of dealing him and the remainder of his contract, which is for $24 million next year and $25.5 million in 2013. The Mets hold a $25 million option for 2014 or a $5.5 million buyout. Only a healthy Santana can be traded.
The rehab guideline is to bring Santana to a point where he would be at physically to start spring training, which is a six-week progress.
Conservatively, I would estimate at least another three weeks, barring further setbacks, to where he would reach that point. Such a projection would put us at around July 4, and six weeks on top of that would bring it to around mid-August.
If it lasts much further than that, I wonder it the Mets would consider not bringing him back at all this year. If the team is out of contention, the only reason would be to see where he stands physically in preparation for 2012. And even then, the window would be fairly small to make an accurate decision.