Tag:Johan Santana
Posted on: February 10, 2011 9:48 am

Twins considering trading Liriano

Francisco Liriano Because, I guess, Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra have worked out so well for the Twins, the team is apparently open to dealing ace Francisco Liriano, Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes .

Liriano, 27, is a free agent after the 2012 season and the team doesn't appear interested in signing him to a long-term deal, Christensen writes. The two sides avoid arbitration last week, but Liriano's side was looking for a three-year, $39 million contract.

Last season, Liriano was 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA in 31 starts. He struck out 201 in 191 2/3 innings. He was also second in the majors in xFIP at 3.06, behind Roy Halladay. Liriano has a history of arm injuries, including Tommy John surgery in 2006.

In 2008, the Twins had a left-handed ace they couldn't sign in the last year of his contract in Johan Santana, receiving just the aforementioned Gomez, Humber, Mulvey and Guerra in return for the left-hander from the Mets. The thought with Liriano is that they can receive more with more time left under team control.

The Twins have five other starters -- Carl Pavano, Brian Duensing, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey -- and their top prospect, Kyle Gibson, is a starter, so they see Liriano as replaceable and attractive to a team like the Yankees, who are looking to fill their rotation.

However, the Twins need Liriano to help compete in the AL Central and dealing him now doesn't help the team in pursuit of its first postseason series victory since 2002. None of their other five big-leaguers have the stuff Liriano does or the ability to dominate like he can.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: January 19, 2011 4:15 pm

Collins tabs Pelfrey to start opening day

Mike Pelfrey With Johan Santana not available, Mike Pelfrey will be the Mets' opening day starter.

"He deserves it," Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday (via The Star-Ledger). "He earned it. He should have been on the All-Star team last year."

Pelfrey, 27, was 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA last season.

On Tuesday, he signed a deal for nearly $4 million a year, avoiding arbitration.

The Mets start the season on April 1 in Florida, so he'll likely be opposite Josh Johnson in the first game of the season.

Collins also said the team is hoping to sign another left-handed reliever to go along with Taylor Tankersley. He also said the second base job is wide open, adding 23-year old Jordanny Valdespin as a candidate at second along with Luis Castillo, Daniel Murphy, Brad Emaus and Justin Turner.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 9, 2010 5:43 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2010 2:05 pm
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Posted on: October 5, 2010 6:28 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2010 12:33 am

R.I.P. Mets: Team handicapped in payroll

RIP All eyes will be on eight teams starting Oct. 6 for yet another chapter of postseason baseball. As the sports world waits for the crowning of a new (or as the Yankees hope, repeat) champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. First up, the Mess -- er, Mets.

Since coming one game away from the NL pennant in 2006, the Mets have morphed into a squad of underperforming and overpaid players with controversy dogging the team every step of the way.

Owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon cleaned house as the 2010 season handed New York its second straight losing season. General manager Omar Minaya, despite a deal taking him through 2012, was shown the door along with skipper Jerry Manuel (the two are shown with Jeff Wilpon in the below picture to the right). The only problem? Minaya's maneuverings will handicap his successor for at least one season.


You name it and it happened in New York. Johan Santana fought off rape allegations prior to the season, posted his worst strikeout rate since 2001 and then went down with a shoulder injury that renders him questionable for 2011. Francisco Rodriguez also had his own problems with women, striking his (now ex-) girlfriend's father and being placed on the disciplined list. His return to the Mets is highly questionable even as he posted one of the better seasons of his career.

Neither Jason Bay or Carlos Beltran had lady troubles but they had injury troubles, with Bay's first year of a four-year, $66 million contract ending with just six home runs before a concussion ended his season. Beltran angered ownership by having unsanctioned knee surgery prior to the season, returning for an unsavory second half that has prompted calls for his trade.

Jerry Manuel, Jeff Wilpon, Omar Minaya Meanwhile, the onerous contracts of Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo just wouldn't go away. Perez constantly refused assignment to the minors and eventually became a mop-up reliever who only pitched on the road... all for $12 million. Luis Castillo spent the season becoming a bench player by the time for the low, low price of $6.25 million.

Let that be a lesson: Sign for lots of money with the Mets and expect that things will go very, very wrong for you.


All was not lost in the Big Apple, however. Franchise star David Wright rebounded from 10 home runs in the inaugural season of Citi Field to bash 29 and cement his status as one of the best players in the game today.

Wright found a new person to throw to across the diamond as the Mets imported rookie Ike Davis after Mike Jacobs flamed out. Davis was promoted aggressively, debuting on April 19 and tossing up a .264/.351/.440 line in 601 PA, contributing 19 home runs. Along with Davis, youngster Josh Thole established himself as a permanent starter with the Mets. Thole will enter 2011 as the starting catcher and while he has no power to speak of, has enough contact and plate discipline skills to stick as a starter.

Meanwhile, Angel Pagan took the opportunity that Beltran's injury afforded him and ran with it to the point where many feel the switch-hitter should play center field with Beltran shifting to left in 2011. Pagan finished at .290/.340/.425 with 37 stolen bases in 633 PA.

The Mets also benefited from knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, originally signed as depth but exploding for a 2.84 ERA in 26 starts and one relief appearance. Dickey, at 35, has one more year of club control and should have a rotation spot locked up next season along with Jonathon Niese. Niese, 23, posted a 4.20 ERA in 30 starts in his first taste of full-time major league action.


The Mets lost the services of Dan Murphy all season, but he should be back in action for 2011 and could be valuable to the Mets coming off the bench. While Murphy was slated to start at first base for the Mets in 2010, Davis (photo below, left) now has that position sewn up, and Murphy can't impede on Jason Bay's haunt. Thus, Murphy is learning to play second base and should compete for the position next season although it's more likely Murphy ends up a jack-of-all-trades, filling in all over the diamond.

More encouraging than Murphy's return is how well set-up the Mets seem to infuse young pitching into the team. Dillon Gee captured the hearts of headline writers across the nation while Bobby Parnell flashed heat that may make him the club's next closer. In addition, Jenrry Meija put aside an idiotic attempt to put him in the bullpen to return late in the year as a starter. Mejia may or may not open 2011 in the rotation, but his inclusion on the big-league roster will happen at some point in 2011 and put him on the fast track towards being a top pitcher.


The Mets will always expect to contend, especially with a payroll that will have no trouble clearing $100 million. Even if the Mets are spendthrifts, the 2011 payroll is already on the hook for at least $108 million guaranteed, although that's in actual payroll, not Collective Bargaining Agreement-payroll, used for the luxury tax, that calculates a contract's average annual value and not actual salary earned.

This mark is achieved using guaranteed salaries only, which means the payroll will take off once Jose Reyes' $11 million option is exercised and arbitration payouts roll in for Mike Pelfrey and Pagan -- plus the litany of other holes that need to be plugged. So yes, the Mets and its fans will expect to contend for a division crown. And really, with the talent on the team, there's no reason not to expect to be in the thick of things. Unfortunately, logic dictates that the Mets will finish around the .500 threshold, and expectations behind the scenes will reflect that.

With so much money committed to injured, questionable or dead weight players, the incoming general manager will be forced to hold the status quo with an eye towards a big impact and transition in 2012.


Even though the new general manager will have his or her hands tied for the most part, there are still two areas that need to be addressed if a dream season is to happen. The first is to get a capable second baseman and slot Tejada in the minors. There are three free-agent second basemen that could pan out include Bill Hall, Orlando Hudson and Juan Uribe. All are coming off solid seasons and will be affordable.

With Santana out for at least the first half, the Mets need to go after a solid starter to plug the breach behind Dickey, Niese, Pelfrey and likely Dillon Gee. The Mets shouldn't go crazy for a replacement, but could absolutely find a solid pitcher on a one-year deal. Jon Garland has done this in recent years and keeps throwing up value. Other names include Chris Young, who dominated for the Padres down the stretch after missing much of the season to injury.

Lastly, the bullpen needs to be addressed. Whether Francisco Rodriguez ends up back in Met threads or not, the Mets have no surefire options behind him unless one counts Bobby Parnell who should set up next season. Pedro Feliciano and Hisanori Takahashi are set to be free agents, while the rest of the relievers are flotsam.

The Mets need to go out and find someone with a history of closing but who is open to setting up as a way to minimize Rodriguez so his $17.5 million option does not vest. That includes players such as Octavio Dotel, Jon Rauch, Kerry Wood, J.J. Putz and Koji Uehara.


The Mets could surprise prognosticators next season if the new GM clears out the chaff and brings in depth at second and the bullpen. So much went wrong for the Mets that you have to bank on a regression to the mean making the club better. The Mets should hover over .500 and if just a few things break in their favor, could contend for a postseason spot.

-- Evan Brunell

Join MLB Facts and Rumors at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday to chat live during the Rangers-Rays game!

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Posted on: September 18, 2010 2:48 pm
Edited on: September 18, 2010 2:49 pm

Santana may not return to top form until 2012

Johan Santana
The popular adage "wait 'till next year" might not apply to the Mets anymore.

How does "wait 'till two years" sound?

"He could help them if they make the playoffs next year, but he probably won’t be able to really help them get there."

That's Dr. Craig Levitz, the chairman and chief of orthopedic surgery at South Nassau Hospital in Long Island, via the New York Times talking about (gulp) Mets ace Johan Santana.

Santana underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder, a procedure that will leave Santana unable to throw for a minimum of six months, which puts his return to throwing in late March. That obviously puts an Opening Day start out of the question.

Levitz, who trained under Tommy John surgery guru Dr. James Andrews, says that with Santana's surgery, the pitcher generally needs at least three months post-throwing to regain top form -- and in the small silver lining, Santana may be able to come back better than ever.

“It usually requires between 70 and 80 innings before a pitcher is back to normal,” Levitz cautioned.

Santana would likely progress on a throwing timetable before embarking on an extended rehab start that could get him halfway to the 80-inning goal before being deemed ready for a return to the big-leagues. That more than likely would occur around the All-Star break.

The Mets have quite a bit of money tied up in aging and/or ineffective players for 2011 and have little room for error in a division boasting the Braves and Phillies along with up-and-coming Marlins and Nationals. Simply not having Santana for the first half may be enough to doom the Mess -- er, Mets.

Most tears in the anterior capsule can be done with arthroscopic surgery, a fairly straightforward procedure countless pitchers have undergone. However, Santana's location was so difficult to reach that surgeon Dr. David Altcheck, the Mets' team physician, had to make an incision to get to the tear. That could cause scar tissue, which could present a problem down the road, if not another surgery to clear up the scar tissue.

"Overall there is not a lot of damage to the shoulder with this injury," Levitz suggested. "Once they close the hole in the soft tissue, it should never be a problem again."

Santana's 2009 season was cut short by surgery as well, finishing with a 3.13 ERA in 25 starts. In 2010, he hurled 29 starts of a 2.98 ERA, but did not make the All-Star Game for just the second time in six years.

Santana is due $22.5 million in 2011 followed by $24 million in 2012 and $25.5 million in 2014. There is then a $25 million club option attached to a $5.5 million buyout.

Santana has certainly been the ace the Mets hoped for upon acquiring him, but he hasn't been to his established level of production with the Twins and will now essentially miss the entire 2011 season due to rehabilitation and resurrection.

New York has to be crossing its fingers for an unqualified, successful return from surgery to finish out the final two years of his guaranteed contract.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 10, 2010 3:53 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2010 4:36 pm

Surgery for Johan Santana

Johan Santana
The Mets have just announced that ace Johan Santana will have season-ending surgery on his shoulder. Metsblog.com has the complete press release.

An MRI showed Santana has a tear of the anterior capsule of the shoulder. The team expects him to be ready to throw again by spring training. Santana was 11-9 with a 2.98 ERA in 29 starts this season.

Santana was scratched Tuesday with what was then thought to be a pectoral strain, which knocked him out of a game last Thursday. He played catch Saturday, but the pain led the team to schedule the MRI.

This will be the third consecutive year for Santana to go under the knife. He had a torn meniscus in his knee repaired after the 2008 season, and had bone chips removed from his elbow in a season-ending operation last year. But this injury looks to have more serious implications for his future than the others.

Santana still has three years, plus an option year, left on his contract, and is owed at least $77.5 million.

UPDATE: With thanks to Will Carroll of baseballprospectus.com, here is a link to a description of the operation and rehab from Astros team doctor David Linter. It looks like Santana could begin a throwing program at 20 weeks (though the presented timetable is for a non-athlete), which would be early February.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 4, 2010 12:54 pm

Santana feels fine

Johan Santana Johan Santana said he felt good after throwing in the outfield at Wrigley Field on Saturday and expects to throw off the mound tomorrow.

After his mound session, Santana will decide if he'll make his next start, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets .

Santana said he was pain-free after Saturday's session. He left Thursday's game with a pectoral strain. (Is it just me or does that headshot look like a senior portrait?)

"Everything is good," Santana told ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin . "Playing catch I don't feel anything. So we'll see how it feels tomorrow."

Santana is listed as the starter for the Mets on Tuesday against the Nationals.

"The day after I pitch I take everything easy. Especially if it's a day game, I don't play catch," Santana said. "And today I just played a little bit of catch. And then tomorrow, that's when I will throw my bullpen and see how it feels. It was today or tomorrow. We decided to throw a bullpen tomorrow."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 3, 2010 5:11 pm

Santana has strained chest muscle

Johan Santana The mystery of Johan Santana's ailment has been found.

Santana left Thursday's game against the Braves in the fifth with what initially appeared to be a shoulder injury, but manager Jerry Manuel set the record straight Friday.

"It’s not the shoulder," Manuel told the New York Times .

Instead, Santana strained the left pectoral chest muscle, which attaches to the shoulder. There are currently no plans for Santana to undergo an MRI and he will instead rest his arm in the hopes he can make a start Tuesday. It's possible Santana may throw on Saturday and test his injury.

In 29 starts, Santana has posted a 2.89 ERA to go along with an 11-9 record. His strikeouts have tailed off, punching out just 6.5 batters per nine innings compared with a career mark of 8.9. His fastball velocity has averaged just 89.4 mph on the season, a career-low after topping out at 93.1 mph in 2006.

With the velocity having decreased for the fourth straight year, questions surrounding Santana have popped up as to whether he is truly healthy or not. The lefty missed the end of the 2009 season with left elbow surgery to remove bone chips, but has been able to outperform his 2009 numbers by reducing the amount of hits and home runs given up.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
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