Mets consider bringing back Johan in 2014
Left-hander expects to pitch next season after shoulder surgery in April
NEW YORK -- Johan Santana wants to pitch again next season, and the Mets appear open-minded about a reunion. General manager Sandy Alderson said Monday that he would consider signing Santana to a new contract for the 2014 season.
"I think that's a possibility," Alderson said during an appearance on WFAN radio. "I don't really know what Johan's thinking. 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."
Since Alderson took over as GM three years ago, the Mets have made a habit out of signing previously-injured pitchers to low-base, incentive-laden deals. But that strategy has not worked particularly well for them. Chris Young lasted merely a month before suffering a season-ending injury in 2011, and Shaun Marcum pitched only 78 1/3 innings this season before succumbing to injury.
Santana is still rehabbing from surgery to repair a partially torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder -- the same operation that required a 19-month recovery when he underwent it the first time in Sept. 2010. The two-time Cy Young Award winner re-tore the capsule last spring, undergoing a second surgery on April. 2.
Heading into the winter, the Mets' 2014 rotation includes what Alderson labeled as three sure things in Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee. The Mets are still holding out hope that Matt Harvey will be able to avoid Tommy John surgery, which would give them a fourth lock for the rotation.
Alderson has said that he would like to complete the starting five with a relatively cheap innings-eating pitcher -- think Bronson Arroyo, Chris Capuano or a similarly reliable veteran. While Santana would likely come cheap, he certainly would not qualify as a workhorse at this stage of his career, having amassed a total of 117 innings over the past three seasons.
Santana is technically still under contract with the Mets, though only for a few more weeks. The Mets will soon exercise the $5.5-million buyout on the rest of his contract, rather than pay him his $25 million team option for 2014. Santana appeared in 109 games over the six guaranteed years of his contract, going 46-34 with a 3.18 ERA.