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Are the New York Mets Cursed By Multiple Ace Pitcher Injuries?

Chris StephensCorrespondent IIAugust 27, 2013

The New York Mets and ace pitchers just don't mix.

According to ESPN New York's Adam Rubin, pitcher Matt Harvey has a partial tear in his elbow.

Harvey is unlikely to pitch again this season, general manager Sandy Alderson said. Tommy John surgery may be required, although a decision will wait two to three weeks, until swelling subsides and a clearer assessment of the extent of the tear can be determined.

All together, Mets fans are saying, "Not again!"

History has never been on the side of the Mets when they trade for, sign or bring up ace pitchers, and I'm not even talking about the off-field problems of Dwight Gooden.

Players like Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana were aces...until they got to New York. Combined they had five Cy Young Awards between them.

 

Pedro Martinez

Martinez was one of the best pitchers in baseball through 2004.

He was coming off a year where he went 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA and 227 strikeouts. Oh yeah, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series as well.

In the previous seven years, Martinez was 118-36 with a 2.20 ERA, 0.940 WHIP and 1,761 strikeouts. He also won the Cy Young three times and finished runner-up twice.

Needless to say, when Martinez signed a four-year, $53-million deal with the Mets, fans thought that was their ticket to the World Series.

And in 2005, he earned that money, going 15-8 with a 2.82 ERA and 208 strikeouts.

In 2006, he started out strong again, going 5-1 with a 2.50 ERA and 88 strikeouts in the first two months of the season. Then the struggles began.

From then on, Martinez went 4-7 with a 7.10 ERA, saddled around two stints on the disabled list. 

A torn muscle in his left calf and torn rotator cuff were found near season's end, and Martinez had surgery, forcing him to miss most of the 2007 season.

Martinez had a strong five starts at the end of 2007, going 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA. That gave Mets fans hope for 2008.

However, four innings into the 2008 season, Pedro said he heard a pop in his leg, according to MLB.com's Marty Noble. That put him on the DL for another two months.

He never regained any kind of form when he returned, finishing the year 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA.

Martinez was a free agent after 2008 and the Mets didn't re-sign him...obviously.

 

Johan Santana

Santana is another pitcher that brings up painful memories for fans.

Although he did toss the first no-hitter in Mets' history, Santana has largely been a disappointment for the team.

Santana signed a six-year, $137.5-million contract with the Mets, soon after the Mets made a blockbuster trade for the pitcher.

As an Associated Press story said (h/t ESPN), Santana's signing gave the Mets a "durable ace it has sorely lacked while chasing a pennant the past two years."

Only problem is, Santana was anything but that after his first year.

Like Martinez, Santana had a great first year, going 16-7 with a 2.53 ERA and 206 strikeouts. He did, however, tear the meniscus in his left knee late in the year and underwent surgery.

He was decent in 2009, going 13-9 with a 3.13 ERA, but was placed on the disabled list in August after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips on his left elbow.

He had another decent season in 2010, but was again derailed by injuries. This time it was a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. It was the third-straight year he was injured. It was an injury that forced him to miss the entire 2011 season as well.

In 2012, he sprained his ankle to go on the disabled list and then had lower back inflammation to go on the DL again. He finished the year at 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA.

This year, Santana re-tore his shoulder capsule and hasn't pitched at all.

Thankfully for the Mets, he's a free agent this offseason and the team doesn't have to pay him anymore.

 

Could the Same Happen for Harvey?

While Harvey is different from Santana and Martinez, one has to wonder if the Mets are cursed when it comes to ace pitchers.

The two mentioned are only two examples. I could also mention names like Bobby Jones and Paul Wilson, two guys the Mets drafted that were considered the Matt Harvey of their day.

As Mets fans know, it didn't exactly work out for those two.

So, is this the Mets' "curse." Just as the Chicago Cubs and Red Sox dealt with World Series curses, could the Mets be dealing with a curse on ace pitchers? It may not be something fans want to think about, but it's definitely something to consider.

Regardless, this injury is a huge blow to 2014 for the Mets.

Combined with Zack Wheeler and Dillon Gee, the Mets were supposed to have a formidable rotation next year. Now, I'm not so sure if Harvey is on the shelf.

It's a sad state of affairs for the Mets, but as the old saying goes, "it's baseball."

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