Why the Johan Santana Deal Doesn't Help the Mets

Pro Football NYCSenior Writer IFebruary 2, 2008

Conventional wisdom says the deal for Johan Santana has thrust the Mets to the forefront of the pennant race in the National League.

You would think that this is true, but it really isn't.

In fact, the trade is nothing more than a thrown-bone to the disgruntled Flushing fan base.

The blogosphere will tell you the Mets needed a frontline starter—and that Santana is their savior. That's the perception, but it's far from the reality.

The reality is the Mets didn't really need a frontline starter—they need bullpen help by the boatload.

I'm not saying that Johan Santana isn't going to be a dominant pitcher for the Mets. I think he will be. But it won't mean a goddamned thing.

Willie Randolph and his overly protective pitching coach, Rick Peterson, do not allow starters to pitch past the seventh inning, regardless of how well they're performing.

That means Johan Santana can dominate two-third of every ballgame and then be forced to sit and watch as the Mets' miserable excuse for a bullpen pisses away his efforts.

And the Mets will be guilty of wasting $137.5 million.

The Mets' collapse in 2007 can clearly be blamed on Randolph and Peterson's ineptitude. They didn't allow their starters to pitch deep into games, taxing their overrated bullpen to the point where they were completely shot by mid-September.

The Mets' starting pitchers don't impress because they aren't permitted to. This has led to the perception that they needed a frontline starter.

But what's the point? The manager won't let these guys shine—so the Mets had better get help in the bullpen fast.

Just look at the cadre of bums the Mets were parading out each night.

Guillermo Mota, the Typhoid Mary of the group, is mercifully gone.

Scott Schoenweis, a steroid user who should get his money back, came on late, but he did irreparable damage between April and September.

Aaron Heilman, the Nuke LaLoosh of the bunch, was so hittable at times I thought I was watching films of the 1962 season.

Then, there's Billy Wagner. Yes—the guy who enters to Metallica's "Enter Sandman."

They say he's one of baseball's premier closers. I have yet to see evidence of this.

He has more blown saves than he has 1-2-3 innings. As far as I'm concerned, he's John Franco with a livelier arm.

In closing, don't be surprised this summer when you turn on SportsCenter and see a highlight of Johan Santana sitting in the Mets dugout cursing in Espanol because the rag-arms in the Mets bullpen just cheated him out of another win...


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