Santana Re-Tears Anterior Capsule

Johan Santana has re-injured his left anterior capsule, and may be lost for the season.

After what seemed like a major success story when Santana came back after shoulder surgery to repair the torn capsule last year, the tear has recurred, putting Johan back on the shelf.

“A second surgery is a strong possibility,” general manager Sandy Alderson said.

Santana, who turned 34 earlier this month, is in the final guaranteed season of a six-year, $137.5 million with the club.

Santana returned to the majors last season and had first-half success, including the first no-hitter in franchise history on June 1. However, Santana faded badly before landing on the disabled list in August.

The Mets attributed the swoon and shortened 2012 season to multiple factors: arduous rehab work the previous winter that left him worn down, an ankle injury caused when Reed Johnson stepped on Santana’s ankle during a bang-bang play while the southpaw covered first base, and a lower-back injury.

We could all play the role of South Park’s Captain Hindsight here and say Santana should not have been allowed to complete his 134-pitch no-hitter last year.  We all would have made the same decision Terry Collins did, and besides, we don’t yet know for sure if that’s what did him in.  As Joe Janish has stated multiple times in the past, Johan has always had faulty mechanics, and more shoulder trouble was inevitable.

No matter what the cause, this is bad news for the Mets.  If you’re looking for a silver lining, however, this opens the door for Zack Wheeler, much as the second departure of Tom Seaver opened the door for Dwight Gooden in 1984.  However Wheeler shouldn’t be called up until at least May – and maybe June, for sound business reasons.

Paul is a freelance writer, blogger, and broadcast technology professional residing in Denver. A New Jersey native, he is a long-suffering Mets fan, a recently-happy Giants fan, and bewildered Islanders fan. He's also a fair-weather Avalanche and Rockies supporter. In his spare time, he enjoys the three Gs: Golf, Guitars, and Games.
  1. AC Wayne March 28, 2013 at 7:30 pm
    I respect Santana’s competitiveness, however, this may be a blessing in disguise for Mets fans, WHEELER, BABY!
    • Dan42 March 28, 2013 at 8:01 pm
      It would truly be a blessing for the Wilpons if insurance picks up the tab for the rest of his contract. And I suspect his “I’ll show them” performance last month was the final nail, so to speak.
      • Walnutz15 March 28, 2013 at 9:09 pm
        The deal’s definitely not insured, as Alderson’s gone on record with it.

        “There is $31 million left on Santana’s contract and Alderson said the deal is not insured, which is surprisingly common.”

        Only thing I find highly amusing is that the WBC is apparently picking up the tab on any player who was injured during the tournament.

        Makes ya wonder if this sucker would have been paid out, provided he went to play for Venezuela – to have it happen there.

        (Not saying I was an advocate for him to play in it, just that it’s interesting to know that guys like Teixeira are being covered under that umbrella….while the Yanks don’t have the obligation to pay him during his absence. Never knew that before a week ago.)

        Even with insurance, Johan’s been on track to have a surgery almost every season for the last handful….so I’m not even sure what would have been written into the coverage.

        Only thing this means to me is a definitively uneventful trade deadline…….as I expected maybe 60 innings from him this year as a Met, anyway.

        So long, Johan.

  2. Dan B March 28, 2013 at 8:13 pm
    In the days of PEDs, large revenue teams used their advantage to sign expensive free agents. Now, it makes less sense since players without PEDs peak earlier and deliver less over those second generation contracts. Large revenue teams, to use their money, would be wise to bring up their prospects in the beginning of the year because small revenue teams can’t afford to. Just a thought when considering Wheeler.
    • Joe Janish March 28, 2013 at 9:25 pm
      That’s a fascinating suggestion that deserves more consideration. Nicely done, Dan!

      Of course, with the Mets punting 2013, it really doesn’t make much of a difference what they do with Wheeler — except maybe in terms of ticket sales. But the theory makes a lot of sense for teams that choose to compete.

    • Paul Festa March 28, 2013 at 9:35 pm
      Yes, interesting point.
    • AC Wayne March 28, 2013 at 10:16 pm
      I don’t want to sound like a broken record but you have a pitcher who may miss the whole season and another veteran pitcher in Marcum who is starting the season on the DL, I know that the Mets don’t want to start the clock on Wheeler but come on, Alderson talks about exciting young talent in the organization, who besides Wheeler? Mejia is shut down, Montero? I just don’t get it, Laffey? Why didn’t the Mets p/u Lannan when they had the chance, I can’t believe that the Mets just allowed Santana to show up to ST in this type of shape, why is this now coming out, this is just another ridiculous injury situation on a long list for the Mets
      • Joe March 28, 2013 at 10:34 pm
        Why waiting a little while matters much especially if you will have Wheeler longer in the long term is unclear.
      • Joe Janish March 28, 2013 at 10:37 pm
        Have ye no faith in Jeremy Hefner and Collin McHugh?
    • DaveSchneck March 28, 2013 at 11:22 pm
      Definitely an intriguing point. It suppose it depends on the readiness of the given player. I do believe that the Mets still think Wheeler has some work to do on command, a given his 4+ BB/9 last year in Buffalo, it is hard to argue. That, combined with Joe’s point regarding the punting on 2013, make it kind of moot anyhow. Word was that Chris Young would be signed within a day of opting out. I wonder if he was waiting for the Santana diagnosis. Imagine if he returns and incurs the same injury again? Would any free agent pitcher dare tempt fate by signing with the Mets?
  3. Dan B March 29, 2013 at 12:09 am
    If Wheeler or d’Arnaud are ready, they should be on the major league roster. I seriously doubt Palm Beach Community College alum Jeff Wilpon
    has done the math on ticket revenue vs arbitration cost. Catchers flame out around 32, d’Arnaud is already 24, how much time do they want to waste?
    • DaveSchneck March 29, 2013 at 11:44 am
      Agreed, but didn’t the Palm Beach Community College alum hire an ivy league alum, and pay him $3 mil per year, who hired another ivy league alum for like $1 mil an year, handle that calculation?
  4. Dan B March 29, 2013 at 2:51 pm
    Dave, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t be sure the horse will listen to your educated opinions about running a MLB team. I always had the feeling that Jeff was controlling Omar and I think ultimately Alderson has to report to Jeff as he writes the checks (using Fred’s checkbook).