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Santana walking off the mound during a shutout of the Marlins to keep the Mets playoff hopes alive on September 27, 2008
When the New York Mets traded for Johan Santana in February 2008, the sky was the limit for the Metropolitans. They were coming off the worst collapse in baseball history to date, but the team was headed in the right direction following two contending seasons. They addressed a major need by acquiring Santana and had high hopes for 2008 and beyond.
The 2008 season had its struggles, but the Mets found themselves in first place late in the season, contending for their second playoff berth in three years. It ultimately wasn't meant to be for the Mets, but not thanks to Santana.
Johan stepped up his already-stellar pitching during the stretch run of that year. In the month of September, he added four wins to his record. The Mets won five out of his six starts largely due to his 1.86 ERA in the season's final month.
September 2008 was the team's most recent month of playing baseball with playoff implications. No other member of the pitching staff (besides Jon Niese who started the first three games of his career that season) is still around four years later.
Santana, Dan Murphy and David Wright remain the only connections to that 2008 team and are the only ones on the current roster who've experienced meaningful baseball games in New York. Johan is one of the guys who knows how important it is to win under the microscope.
In losing him they'd also be losing their last trace of success on the pitching staff and declaring the end of an era that promised so much success.