Mar 04

Johan Santana Signs With Orioles; It’s Official, Mets Lost Deal

Despite both sides saying continuing their relationship remained a possibility, we all knew when the New York Mets gave Johan Santana a $5.5 million buyout for this season that would never happen.

It’s what parting sides always claim when they don’t want to say what’s really on their minds.

SANTANA: Offiical: Mets lose trade (AP)

SANTANA: Offiical: Mets lose trade (AP)

From his part, Santana would liked to have kept on milking the cash cow. The Mets however, weren’t happy he threw before he was scheduled that final spring and ended up sitting out the entire 2013 season.

After spending $137.5 million, they weren’t about to throw good money after bad, especially since Santana made it clear he wasn’t going to offer a “home team discount.’’ Instead, Santana settled on a minor league contract today with the Baltimore Orioles.

Any contract is a risk, especially a six-year deal for a pitcher who had already experienced shoulder problems before he broke down with the Mets. In the end, for all that money, the Mets received one solid year, a tainted no-hitter, but without question, 100 percent effort whenever Santana took the mound.

They did not receive the repeated 20-win seasons and playoff appearances they had hoped. In short, they gambled and lost.

After they lost Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS and kicked away a seven-game lead with 17 games remaining in 2007, and in dire need of pitching, the Mets rolled the dice on Santana.

The Mets sent four prospects – one of them turning out to be All-Star outfielder Carlos Gomez – for the overworked and already damaged left-hander. They then signed him for at the time was the richest contract in franchise history.

As what often has been the case with the Mets, in both the trade and subsequent contract negotiations, they bid against themselves.

Santana became available because both the Yankees and Red Sox backed off, so as the only real party to the table, they could have had him for less. And, because the Twins weren’t going to bend to Santana’s salary demands, the Mets agreed to giving him way too much money.

Outside a 15-7 record with a league-leading 2.53 ERA in 34 starts in 2008, his first season with the Mets, Santana never completed a full year in New York and didn’t pitch at all in 2011 and 2013 because of shoulder injuries.

With a full season is considered 34 starts, Santana left 95 starts on the table. That is far more glaring than his production of 46-34, a 3.18 ERA and the only no-hitter in franchise history.

The no-hitter came in his 12th start after rehabbing from shoulder surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule. To this day, manager Terry Collins laments letting him throw 134 pitches.

Ironically, it was a tainted no-hitter because a blown call on what should have been an extra-base hit for Carlos Beltran |was ruled a foul ball.

Had that call been made correctly, then Santana doesn’t throw that many pitches, then, who really knows?

Santana made only 10 more starts for the Mets before he was shut down in August of 2012. In spring training of 2013, in an angered response to GM Sandy Alderson’s comments he didn’t report in shape, Santana went against his prescribed rehab routine and without Collins’ knowledge, threw off the mound and aggravated the injury.

In another dose of irony, the pitcher often fueled by pride was done in by the same. Santana re-tore the capsule and underwent a second surgery.

To this day, Santana never acknowledged his mistake of throwing off the mound, and Anderson never admitted whether his dig at the left-hander’s condition was meant as motivation and backfired.

Either way, after that day, the Santana Era was over, regardless of what either side claimed.

Dec 03

K-Rod pleads guilty; what of his Mets’ future?

Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez pleaded guilty this morning of assault, a move that spared him jail time but will bring him an additional 52 weeks of anger management classes.

RODRIGUEZ: Pleads guilty; at least one more year

His plea also bought him an additional season with the Mets for $11.5 million. It was the best case scenario for the closer who not only lost his temper but is losing his fastball.

For one more year at least, the Mets will have a closer. He Rodriguez finishes 55 games in 2011, he could stand to make an additional $17.5 million for 2012.

If Rodriguez does not finish 55 games and he fails a physical after the 2011 season, the Mets will have a $3.5 million buyout.

That, along with the books cleared of Oliver Perez and Carlos Beltran, would open up the Mets’ wallet to be big players in the 2011 free-agent market.

Rodriguez is young enough at 28 where he could regain his form, but there are concerns that with his motion and delivery the downhill slide might not be reversible.

All this is very interesting. Will the Mets limit his appearances to stay away from the option kicking in? If they have a competitive team all summer I doubt it, especially if Bobby Parnell doesn’t perform and show he’s capable of assuming the closer role.

Of course, if the Mets don’t shore up their rotation and the bridge to Rodriguez, he won’t have that many save opportunities to begin with.

Aug 16

Mets Chat Room; K-Rod done for year.

Game #118 at Astros

The homestand that was supposed to be their last chance has ended in mediocrity, and now it is on to Houston and Pittsburgh, two teams with offenses even worse than the Mets.

The road trip begins with the news Francisco Rodriguez could be lost for the season after tearing a ligament in his right thumb sustained in the altercation with the father of his girlfriend. Then again, what good is a closer if you’re not scoring any runs.

The offense is hitting less than .200 in August, and the slide is personified by David Wright, who is batting .114 with no RBI in August.

Jon Niese, one of the positives of this season, goes for the Mets tonight.

Aug 03

Mets Chat Room; Dickey to keep pulse going.

Game #107 vs. Braves

RA Dickey remains one of the few positives in a season that has turned negative.  In a little less than a month the Mets have gone from two games behind Atlanta to 7 ½ games, plus eight back in the wild card race.

A 6-16 slide will do that to a team.

The Mets have already lost their first must-win game of this series and will give the ball to Dickey tonight and hopes he can keep their slim hopes alive.

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Jul 30

Mets Chat Room; Pelfrey needs to get it straight.

Mike Pelfrey was better in his last start, but he’s still not there. At one time he was 9-1, now he’s 10-5. He needs to get back to his earlier form starting tonight against Arizona if the Mets are to break out of their downward spiral that has been the month of July.

Game #103 vs. Diamondbacks

Without a sound Pelfrey the Mets have no chance of making a second-half run at the NL East, which is slowly fading away, and made even more unlikely with the Phillies’ acquisition of Roy Oswalt.

Pelfrey is 0-3 with an 11.40 ERA in his last four starts. Included in that span was giving up four first-inning runs in his last start against the Diamondbacks.

The first inning has been a recent trap for Pelfrey.

“(In eight of my) last nine starts, I’ve given up a run in the first inning and I need to find a way of stopping that,’’ Pelfrey said. “Whether it’s throwing more pitches in the ‘pen, I don’t know.’’

Pelfrey gave the Mets a chance in his previous start last weekend at Los Angeles, giving up two runs in five innings. Even so, he still threw a lot of pitches and was removed for a pinch-hitter.

It was the first time in five starts that he made it through five innings. The Mets have lost four of those games.

Pelfrey is 0-5 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts against Arizona.