The talk lately has been whether or not the Mets should shut down Johan Santana for the season. He’s been mostly ineffective lately, and there is a growing concern that he’s hit a wall with all the rehab and work he’s put in to be healthy this season. No matter what you or I think, the Mets and Santana have a lot more knowledge of the situation than we do. There is probably no clear and obvious answer here even for the Mets, and especially not for people outside the situation, which includes the media. The media are writers and reporters, not doctors. They’re as unqualified to speak on the right course of action as they were to speak on the state of the Mets finances. Take their info on how Santana is feeling and what the Mets are saying about it, but their prescribed course of action is not necessarily the best one.
Personally I’d err on the side of keeping him pitching. At least until he throws a good game or two. This is all presuming that there isn’t some unseen or unreported injury, but recovering from a serious injury to perform at the top level of your craft is hard, tenuous work. Throughout his life Johan Santana’s arm has been what’s separated him from his peers, it’s what makes him special. To have that arm give out on you so seriously can be crushing. I imagine that feeling has been in the back of Johan’s mind all season. The same is true of any injury; if you hurt your foot even days after you feel no pain you still often step tenuously because you expect it to hurt. Johan Santana has all the same doubts floating through his head that we do about the durability of his shoulder and whether he’s the same pitcher. So on that note, I think it’s valuable for him to get through this period the same way any pitcher wants to get through the valleys inherent in every season. It’s important for him to dismiss the doubts that his shoulder is failing him and allow it not to be the undercurrent of every outing he has next spring. Reaffirm that hard work will get him where he needs to go, and then shut him down.
I do think there could be some value in getting Johan Santana an extra week or two off this offseason by shutting him down in September once he’s hopefully bounced back from this stretch. The Mets might like to get a start or two out of prospects like Colin McHugh or Jeurys Familia and Santana’s spot would be one way to do that. After all Johan Santana has given us as fans, particularly the no-hitter, it’d be nice to see him go out this year on a high note.