Thursday, March 28, 2013

Closing the Book on Johan Santana

Johan Santana is injured...again. It's a recurring storyline that Mets fans have lived through for several years. This time, it's the final chapter in the Santana story with the Mets. With his contract expiring this year, there's zero to no chance we will ever see him pitch in a Mets uniform.

It's a horrible injury and Santana will have a long road back which is an awful thing for a fierce competitor like Santana. But here's why it's a good thing for the Mets.

It officially closes the book on the past.

Johan Santana has been the subject of "what ifs" for the last three years. What could have been or should have been with him as an ace never culminated the way Mets fans would have hoped. It's no fault of Santana's. He was without question the ultimate "gamer" in a big spot. He won pretty much every game that he absolutely had to. His body let him down, but Santana did not let Mets fans down.

We need to stop the second guessing of whether Santana should have thrown so many pitches in his no-hitter. No Mets fan would trade that for anything this past season. Why? Because that was the highlight of the Mets season. The Mets were not going to win anything whether Santana pitched a full season or not. What he gave us last June 1 was one of the most memorable moments in Mets lore. Santana has no regrets about it. Neither should we.

And that's where the story should end. That should be our lasting memory of this dominant force.

Now that Santana is no longer an option, Mets fans can't hold onto a fading thought that "maybe we could be better if Santana was healthy." He's officially gone. It's time for us to move on.

The team's future now rests in the hands, and arms, of youth. Harvey, Niese, Gee and Wheeler are what we need to look to. David Wright and Ike Davis are now the shoulders that must carry the weight of this team.

Santana's injury is a horrible thing, but the fact that he is no longer an option for the Mets makes our move towards the future hope and success of this club all that more clear.

Johan Santana is the ultimate competitor. He's a fighter and I expect he'll pitch again. I wish him the best, but I'm happy to close the book and look forward to what's next.