MLBTR: Mets won with Santana trade, lost with contract

Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors recently tweeted the following:

 

David Lennon of Newsday later pointed out that the Mets have paid $3.44 million for each of Johan Santana’s wins to date.

Since joining the Mets for the 2008 season, Johan Santana has gone 40-25 with a 2.85 ERA in 600 innings, allowing 541 hits, 164 walks and 59 home runs while striking out 496. He has not pitched since September, 2010. Santana has earned $82.5 million with the Mets, but according to FanGraphs, the Mets have only received $47.2 million in valued salary back.

Santana has earned approximately $26 million since September, 2010 to not pitch for the Mets.

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Michael Baron: I did not complain about the trade four years ago. At the time, I thought Santana was the missing piece to the team and restored some of the credibility they had lost after they collapsed at the end of 2007. I felt Carlos Gomez was the biggest piece the Mets were mortgaging but that was probably because he was the only one of the three pieces I had seen to that point. But Ben is right in the end – the Mets didn’t lose in terms of the trade, as none of the players the Mets gave up have amounted to anything remotely close to what they acquired in Santana.

However, the contract is another story, although I admit I was originally worried more about the last part of the deal than I was about the early and middle parts of the deal. Having said that, there was no predicting Santana would be injured in each of the first four years of the contract, let alone the seriousness of his most recent injury. But injuries are a tremendous risk in any long term contract whether it’s for a pitcher or any other player. Unfortunately, the Mets have not been able to maximize the dollars invested in Santana’s contract (or other recent long term deals for that matter). If anything, Santana’s deal should serve as the model of what not to use in future contracts for players (especially pitchers).

If there’s any hope in this deal, it lies in Santana’s baseball intelligence, athleticism and competitiveness. He has proven to be able to make quick and effective adjustments on the fly, and so if he can get back out there and remain healthy, , his presence alone could have value even if his stuff is greatly reduced from this point forward.

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Santana will earn $24 million in 2012 which, according to Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal, represents approximately 27 percent of their projected payroll this season.