After allowing Johan Santana to throw 134 pitches in his no-hit effort against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night, the New York Mets are playing it safe by skipping their ace on the next turn through the rotation. The no-hitter was the first in Mets’ franchise history as well as the first for Santana from an individual standpoint.
This decision would seem to be a wise one for the Mets, as Santana is still in the process of recovering from a major surgical operation on his shoulder that took place on September 14, 2010. While his average fastball velocity has dropped to 88.4 MPH in 2012, over three miles slower than he was throwing in 2007, this season represents a huge return to form for the two-time Cy Young winner. After Friday’s effort, Santana boasts a 2.98 ERA on the season with 68 strikeouts and just 21 walks in 68 innings of work.
New York’s decision to skip Santana’s next turn likely means that veteran Miguel Batista will be activated from the disabled list to pitch in the former’s place. Batista, who has a WHIP of 1.68 through 27.1 innings this season, would be much more likely to pen a poem about Santana’s no-hitter than author one of his own on the playing field.
The Mets still have a large investment in Santana, as he’s owed $24 million for his services this season and another $25.5 million guaranteed for 2013. While the $25 million owed to the left-hander in 2014 is a club option, it will cost $5.5 million to buy out his contract, meaning the Mets still owe Santana roughly $55 million at the bare minimum not counting what they’ve already paid him this season.
Should Santana develop shoulder issues in the near future, critics will point to this start as the culprit and call out manager Terry Collins on the decision to let his ace finish the historical game, but it’s hard to discount the significance of the event for such a storied baseball franchise. It’s a great moment for the Mets and their fans, and so far the team seems to be making all the right decisions in the immediate aftermath of the monumental occurrence.