It is time the Mets care for one of their own. It is time to put the health of one of their players ahead of the possibility of getting a few good games.
It is time for the Mets to shutdown Johan Santana for the rest of the season. I wrote that several starts ago and Santana has done nothing to refute that reasoning since.
After last night’s pasting, Terry Collins said there’s nothing wrong with Santana physically. As manager, he really can’t say anything else. He can’t admit to pitching Santana hurt. But, Collins didn’t come across as believable last night. He came across as someone trying to talk himself out of the inevitable.
Maybe he’s not hurt – at least not yet.
There are three reasons why a pitcher of Santana’s caliber fades so fast: injury, fatigue and losing the skills.
We know from the first half Santana has shown flashes of being the dominant ace the Mets need. We know from the no-hitter he can still be scintillating for an evening.
He hasn’t forgotten how to pitch.
We also know since the no-hitter he hasn’t been the same.
It is time the Mets remember Santana is coming off a severe shoulder surgery, of which rehab began last December. The calendar says August, but the calendar in Santana’s arm has already recognized a full year plus two months.
Santana has given us the season’s marquee moment and countless other gems during his tenure with the Mets. He’s helped change the culture. He’s been a leader for the younger players, and not just the pitchers. He’s been a winner in every respect.
Santana has also given us six straight games of allowing at least six runs. It’s a franchise worst stretch as well as a personal one. There’s no bite and little movement on his pitches. He doesn’t challenge hitters inside as he used to. He’s pitching defensive.
He’s been on the disabled list, but with an ankle injury. Did that injury alter his mechanics?
Nobody on the Mets will admit as much, but an alteration can be so subtle it would be hard to notice.
Bobby Ojeda, who should know about such things, said Santana is pitching on fumes. Santana might not be injured now, but seems fatigued and if he keeps going like this an injury is inevitable.
With no playoffs, there’s no reason to keep him going.
The Mets need to take this decision away from Santana. Sure, he’s a competitor and wants to pitch. He has that mentality, but it is one not conducive to self-preservation. They must realize Santana already exceeded expectations for this year and has nothing left to prove.
The Mets, for Santana’s well being, need to shut him down now as to preserve him for the future. If they don’t, they risk not having him in the future.