The first piece of official business for the New York Mets in the offseason should take place in the next few days. The team is expected to decline starting pitcher Johan Santana's 25.5 million dollar option for the 2014 season, ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reports. Santana will instead receive a 5.5 million dollar buyout from the Mets and become a free agent. Santana missed the entire 2013 season rehabbing a second tear of the anterior capsule in his left shoulder.
Santana went 46-34 with a 3.18 ERA in 109 career starts as a Met. Santana was a great pitcher for the Mets when he could stay on the field. Santana's health, however, was his biggest problem. Santana averaged only 18 starts a season while he was with the Mets, and he missed the 2011 and 2013 seasons in their entirety recovering from shoulder surgeries. While the cost in prospects did not turn out to be a franchise changer, Santana's contract extension turned into an albatross. While Santana delivered the franchise's first career no hitter in 2012, that victory appeared to have been a pyrrhic one as Santana was never the same pitcher after that.
The Mets are open to bringing Santana back for the 2014 season at a lower rate in a similar arrangement to the deal they reached with Chris Young two years ago. The Mets are in need of veteran starters to fill the back of their rotation, but Santana cannot be counted on after missing all of 2013. If Santana is willing to accept an incentive laden contract, the two sides could reunite in 2014. The odds are, however, that Santana has already thrown his final pitch as a Met. If that is the case, Mets fans can only wonder about what could have been.
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