What we have here is a failure to communicate. Or worse, a desire not to communicate.
ESPN reported this dialogue:
Collins: “What did you get on the mound for?”
Santana: “Because I felt good.”
Collins: “It was unnecessary. … The last thing I need is to have you wake up tomorrow stiff and then we take a huge step backward because you wanted to show everybody you’re OK. I understand what you’re doing, but once in a while you’ve just got to let stuff slide away. You’ve just got to let it roll off your back and move on and get yourself ready.”
From that exchange, Collins was in the dark when Santana took the mound. And, Santana apparently didn’t care enough to follow the rest plan or to tell his manager.
This was amazingly ridiculous on the part of both.
First, as manager, how in the hell did Collins not know? it is a manager’s job to know everything that is going on with his team on all fronts. Everything. Do you think Joe Torre wouldn’t know? Do you think Tony La Russa wouldn’t know?
Secondly, Santana was incredibly selfish and stupid for risking his health just to prove criticism wrong. Pride is one thing, but pride for the sake of proving a meaningless point is simply reckless. If it would do any good, he should be fined. But, there’s nothing the Mets could do on that front that would affect Santana.
Thirdly, where was pitching coach Dan Warthen during all of this? A pitching coach should know at all times the work schedules for his pitchers. Rick Peterson and former pitching coach Guy Conti had it down to how many pitches they threw in the bullpen.
What about bullpen coach Ricky Bones? Ooops, I almost forgot, he was packing for the World Baseball Classic.
The Mets have not yet ruled out Opening Day, which is absurd because Santana would be rushed through no more than four starts when he would normally get six. This is begging for trouble. I can almost hear it now.
Collins is a lame duck manager who didn’t win any points by being unaware of something so important to the Mets. As for Santana, I don’t want to hear anymore about what a pro he is or about being a competitor. A real pro wouldn’t risk his health.
Of course, the perception eventually comes down to is Santana will make $31 million this year, including a buyout, so why should he care?
There’s a reason why the Mets are called amazing, and often it is because of stuff like this.