Mets ace Johan Santana will not be pitch for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, with the decision made for him by the Venezuelan Baseball Federation.
The Federation announced today it was not willing to the insurance premium required for the Mets to clear Santana, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, Oct. 1.
Santana tested his knee this week for the first time since surgery, throwing 18 pitches and participating in conditioning drills. Santana said at the time he wanted to play, but the decision would be made by the Mets.
Oliver Perez is 27, lefthanded and can throw the hell out of the ball. He is also inconsistent and for all his natural skills was 10-7 with a 4.22 ERA last season. This after a seemingly breakout year in 2007.
Mets ace Johan Santana endorsed his return to GM Omar Minaya in a conference call yesterday.
“I think has learned a lot from last year,” Santana said. “I had a great time with him and hopefully Omar will be able to keep him. He matured. He learned every game is important.
“I told him from the beginning, it doesn’t matter what you do tomorrow, you have to learn from today. Sometimes he lets his emotions take over, so he could be more mature this year. Hopefully, Omar and his agent will find a way to keep him in New York. He’s not just a great guy, but a good pitcher, too. He’s going to be a good one.”
The Mets’ current thinking is $30 million over three years, but Perez’s agent, Scott Boras, wants more in both money and years, with reports of $52 million over four years.
That’s more money than Perez is worth based on production, but the thing about these contracts is they are also based on potential.
Do you believe Santana? Do you believe Perez has learned enough to take the next step? Is he worth the fourth year?
Johan Santana plans to represent Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, but said that won’t be his call.
“It will be a medical decision,’’ Santana said this morning in a conference call. “The team will need to approve it. … There are a lot of things here that the Mets want to protect, and if they don’t want me to play I will not play.’’
Santana had arthroscopic surgery in October to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and has not begun his off-season throwing.
He will be examined next week in Port St. Lucie, and then could begin a long-toss throwing program.
“I want to play, but at this point I don’t really know what’s going to happen,’’ Santana said. “If everything is not right they will not let me go.’’
Reliever J.J. Putz will join David Wright on Team USA during the World Baseball Classic this spring.
Also representing the Mets this spring will be: outfielder Carlos Beltran, first baseman Carlos Delgado and reliever Pedro Feliciano (Puerto Rico); closer Francisco Rodriguez and pitcher Johan Santana (Venezuela) and shortstop Jose Reyes (Dominican Republic).
I don’t believe the Mets would make a player decision simply in response to something the Yankees did. They know they need pitching, which, despite speculation he was headed to Boston, the Mets pressed hard for Derek Lowe.
Word is they are deep in negotiations, with the numbers three years for around $13 million a season. Could be a little steep, but considering his durability and reliability, it might not be such a bad deal afterall.
Definitely, less risky than say giving that money to Oliver Perez. A rotation of Johan Santana, Lowe, Mike Pelfrey and John Maine is solid to the point of being one of the best in the National League. And, if you match them up, it is as good as what the Yankees put together this winter.