It appears as though the amazing warrior who was too burned out to work hard all offseason is–yet again–out.
Many fans seem to want to pretend that we are eagerly awaiting the return of the pitcher Johan has not been for even close to a full season since at least 2009, while others want to pretend that Johan will be ready for opening day and that this is “much ado about nothing.”
Still others refuse to accept the clear reality that both Johan and his agent defiantly stated that Johan was “burned out” and just could not face up to full offseason conditioning in order to attempt to earn the $31 million he will receive in 2013, on top of the $45 million he received over the last two years.
Yes, Johan Santana will have received just over $76 million for 2011–2013 when his Met saga is played out.
Let that settle for a moment.
Now, as many point out, money is, of course, not everything. However, neither Johan nor any of his loved ones or golf partners will ever have to even flirt with the idea of working again in this or any other lifetime. Even if Johan–as predicted here–is able to rest for much of the year and take a different path in 2013, i.e. take time off earlier than usual and finish strong in pursuit of another contract, he surely will not be in the majors for more than another 3–5 years tops. He will have many, many years to relax and enjoy his life without having to do anything he does not feel like doing.
He clearly is breaking down, and was open about being unwilling and/or unable to do all of the offseason work necessary to arrive in baseball shape this spring.
Is it unreasonable to expect a pitcher who has been paid a gargantuan sum–even by today’s baseball standards–to do whatever is needed to arrive in the best possible physical condition? Is it unreasonable to ask for this effort from a pitcher who has thrown 21 games and won 6 for $45M the last two years with $31M on the table for 2013? Does he not owe the fans/ownership/his teammates/the game more than, say, a Lucas Duda or a Bobby Parnell, all things considered? Does he not have a responsibility to be ready for camp?
The feeling here is that Johan was a true baseball great when he arrived in 2008–and he had a great year. In 2009 and 2010 he was very good and certainly did his part. The last two years have been tremendous disappointments. And this spring has, alas, perhaps shown another side of the true Johan Santana.
Petulant, defiant, angry, unapologetic, and displaying an amazing sense of entitlement–again, while being paid more than much of the rest of the squad combined.
All one can say is that the sooner this human money vacuum is gone from this roster, the sooner the true future can begin to play itself out.