Johan Santana’s agent, Chris Leible, “said a return to the Mets isn’t out of the question, but the two sides still haven’t spoken,” Jorge Castillo writes for the Star-Ledger.
Santana said this past weekend that he started to throw for the first time since Spring Training.
“He’s not putting pressure on himself,” Leible said. “It’s not intense. He just started throwing. But it’s a big step and he expects to be ready for spring training.”
Santana underwent a second surgery to repair a torn capsule in his left shoulder in April and missed the entire 2013 season.
The Mets must decide by the end of October whether to pick up his $25 million option for 2014, which they are instead expected to buyout for $5.5 million, making him a free agent.
Last week, Sandy Alderson said he would consider bringing back Santana on a new free-agent contract.
“I don’t really know what Johan’s thinking,” Alderson told WFAN. “We’ll talk to him, I’m sure, over the next couple of weeks, but I think he wants to pitch. We’ll just have to see what the market is for these guys and how much of our resources we want to allocate to somebody coming off injury or somebody you hope was able to pitch for you at a higher level.”
Santana missed all of 2013 after having a second surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. It has been more than a year since he pitched in a big-league game, yet reports indicate he intends to play in 2014.
Pete W, a reader from MetsBlog
With the state of uncertainty with the rotation for next year I haven’t heard much talk on bringing back Johan in an incentive laden deal. I know it’s tough at his age to come back from two years of major injuries but the risk vs. reward seems to be very low to me. It seems from what I’ve seen that the second capsule surgery was much more successful than the 1st and if proven healthy could be a big impact/veteran presence to our young guns coming through the system. The main focus is of course getting some substantial offense but I don’t think it would be a bad move to consider.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
It seems to me there is an opening here to work out a deal that includes his option money and maybe even make it a two-year deal. I love Johan, I’d bet on his work ethic and creativity every day of the week, and I’d love to see him back getting a chance to save his career in front of Mets fans. But, I’ve heard he may be looking for a clean start. It’s not like he’s going to break the bank, so it’s most important that he get with a team with a great rehab facility and the opportunity to pitch. If that’s the Mets, terrific. If not, and he chooses to go some place else, I totally understand.
Michael Baron, Contributor
The Mets have nothing to lose by bringing Santana back on a non-guaranteed deal. Such a move would allow him to continue to rehab under the same supervision he’s been under this second half of his career. However, right now, he cannot be counted on for any type of prominent role.
As has been the case with Santana, Tim Byrdak, Chris Young, and others who have gone through the process of rebuilding from capsule surgery, it takes a long time to recover and build the necessary arm strength to compete at the big league level. And, there seems to be so many ups and downs with the process, ranging from fatigue to inconsistent fastball velocity to a general unknown whether or not a pitcher can withstand the rigors of a full season of pitching. Plus, this is his second capsule surgery and there’s no telling he can even come back, despite what his people are saying.
In the end, the Mets need more than this level of uncertainty in the players they bring to camp at this stage of their transition.