The New York Mets may be without Johan Santana on Opening Day in 2013, but the team is far from being concerned about it.
In fact, they may even welcome the challenge.
According to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the team is in a wait-and-see mode regarding their 33-year old ace right now, but even if he is unable to go, the team will not likely seek additional help and will instead “go with what [they] have”, as a source tells Martino.
It won’t help the team win any more games, but considering that the team might be in a roster crunch as a result of their large contingent of relievers trying to earn a job in the bullpen, it’s a sensible course for the Mets to take.
There are in-house options like Jeremy Hefner who would welcome a shot to keep the chair warm for top prospect Zack Wheeler, and I mean, if the team was already committed to running a minor league outfield in 2013, what’s the difference between a few more losses?
Improvement and building to contention is always a goal, of course, but for the Mets, that means toughing it out for at least one more season before they can really make big moves.
Why? Well, they need to sort out their finances for good, and that includes getting rid of Santana.
That’s going to sound kind of harsh, especially considering that the lefty threw the first no-hitter in Mets history last season, but it’s the truth. They are going to be better off without Santana, whether it’s now or in 2014, if only because of the fact that his $24 million would come off the books.
Not only will Santana’s ailing shoulder help the team in the way of eliminating innings from the 215 that he needs to throw to turn his $25 million club option in 2014 into a player option, the Mets can also get a closer look at whatever internal pitching candidates they have in 2013 while they wait for Wheeler’s arrival.
Then, in the off-season, when the team is ready to spend money, they can rebuild the pitching staff.
No, there aren’t any pitchers like Zack Greinke in the upcoming class of free agents, but the Mets could have the opportunity to throw money at options like Josh Johnson, Matt Garza, Dan Haren, and Tim Lincecum, who can be considered the wild card of the class.
None of them will cause the annual dollars Santana did, and if New York can re-sign Shaun Marcum? Well, let’s just say they won’t have to worry about having folks like Hefner in the rotation as the fifth starter.
But what about 2013? They still have send players out to the field, of course, but it doesn’t mean they have to potentially give up an asset to another team to get a pitcher that will only give them a slightly better record near the bottom of the division.
That, in a nutshell, is why they aren’t concerned about not having Johan Santana – because it can only help.