Johan Santana takes the mound tonight looking to avoid losing his third straight start when the Mets go to Washington.
Santana (5-5, 3.55 ERA) has been uncharacteristically poor recently, going 1-3 with a 5.96 ERA in his last four starts.
“Is he frustrated? I don’t know, but he’s a competitor,’’ catcher Rod Barajas said. “He wants the ball every five days and when he doesn’t pitch as well as he thinks he should, he takes it hard. I don’t know if frustrated is the word, probably a little anger because he knows he has the stuff.’’
Jose Reyes remains questionable for tonight’s game with the Washington Nationals with stiffness in his lower back.
The Mets might be off the rug tonight in Washington, but if Jerry Manuel holds to form of sitting a player the day after he’s removed from a game by injury – or in this case, from pre-game batting practice – then Reyes will sit.
And, he should.
REYES: Give him another day.
Reyes isn’t porcelain china, but he’s extraordinarily valuable to this team and should be protected. The Mets made remarkable strides in June and would risk taking a step back if Reyes were to aggravate this injury and go on one of those prolonged “he’s ready, he’s not ready,’’ situations.
Presumably, this isn’t a serious injury and another day or two shouldn’t hurt. The last thing the Mets need is to push Reyes unnecessarily and risk losing him.
Jenrry Mejia was placed on the minor league DL with a strained posterior cuff in his right shoulder, which GM Omar Minaya said shouldn’t impact trade discussions for Seattle lefty Cliff Lee, who’s starting tonight in the Bronx against the Yankees.
Minaya said “we’re not about one prospect only,’’ when asked about Mejia’s injury complicating trade talks.
Both Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee are available on the trade market, but considering all that’s going on around the Mets these days with Johan Santana, Oswalt is the best fit.
With Santana struggling, and reports he’s lost three to four mph. off his fastball and he’s no longer as elite as he used to be, the Mets must be farsighted about whom they bring in, as they are looking to bolster the front end of the rotation.
Given that, unless there was a chance to sign Lee long term, I believe the proper route would be Oswalt as you are addressing your pitching needs over the next three years for the cost of top prospects, presumably guys like Angel Pagan and Jenrry Mejia.
To surrender your blue chips for answers down the road is one thing. To surrender them for a rental is quite another. This thinking might be different if Santana were Santana, but he’s not, and that must be factored into the equation.