In this particular piece, I will try to connect the dots here as to why Johan Santana's shoulder injury—which is now speculated to be a lot worse than originally thought—could be the final piece in a chain of events that will lead to not only yet another full-season demise of the New York Mets, but ultimately lead to a fire sale of epic proportions, which would spell the end of what was once a greatly anticipated era of David Wright and Jose Reyes.
Right now, the New York Post, among other sources, have been reporting that Johan Santana will not pitch for the New York Mets in 2011. While Santana has refuted such stories, they are still out there.
Given the reputation of the Mets' team doctors, nothing surprises me anymore. These are the same people who have miscalculated injuries to both Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes (more on them in a minute). After all, the Mets have pinned a lot of their hopes on Santana, and rightfully so. However, when you enter consecutive season-ending shoulder injuries into the equation, all bets are off.
Santana finished at 11-9 with a 2.98 ERA in 2010, hardly the numbers you thought you would see. In Minnesota, Santana reached the 15-win plateau four times. He's only done that once with the Mets, back in 2008, with win No. 16 coming in the next-to-last game of the season to try to avoid another late-season collapse. As the saying goes, the numbers do not lie.
If this is to be the end of an era, think about the aforementioned Carlos Beltran, and the way team doctors have mishandled his knee injury. Think about Jose Reyes, and the way he was diagnosed as day-to-day last year, only to be out of action for several weeks. Even this year, Beltran went 1-for-3 in his only spring appearance on March 6 before he was shut down. Let's not even go back and drudge up the Reyes injury history.
Did I fail to mention Jason Bay and the 95 games he played last year before his season prematurely ended, thanks to the left-field fence at Dodger Stadium? Bad luck and bad performances conspired to destroy the Mets in 2010. This year doesn't appear to be that much different, and I have yet to say a single word about the ownership situation.
There is also speculation that the Mets will not want to pay Francisco Rodriguez the $17.5 million he will get in 2012, should he finish (and not just save) 55 games this season.
So, let's see. Reyes (salary dump), K-Rod (salary dump), Beltran (salary), Luis Castillo (salary), Oliver Perez (salary)—should I continue?
Given the injury histories of the primary stars, along with the underachievement of 2010 for David Wright, is it any wonder that one more straw will break the camel's back? Right now, the Mets have every reason to pack it in this year, which they won't, at least not in March.
However, flash back to 2006, which was the height of the David Wright/Jose Reyes era, as the Mets celebrated their first National League East division title in 18 years. Paul Lo Duca and Billy Wagner started the celebration on the mound at Shea Stadium—is it a coincidence that Wagner, Lo Duca and Shea Stadium are long since gone?
Think back to those days, and think about what could have been. It's a whole lot better than where this franchise is at right now—the end of the Wright and Reyes era.