Friday, January 18, 2013

Johan Santana: Why He and the World Baseball Classic Are Not a Match

Shale Briskin
Assistant Editor

When the 2013 World Baseball Classic rosters were announced, only one Met was listed on a team roster for his respective country. That would be David Wright, who will represent Team USA once again.

However, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN, Johan Santana has recently expressed interest in participating in the World Baseball Classic, which is something that would definitely not benefit the Mets.

Santana will not even be allowed to participate unless a WBC committee approves of his participation by determining whether he is healthy enough to pitch or not.

Santana would be wise to skip the World Baseball Classic again. He is recovering from the lower back injury that ended his 2012 season in August. In fact, Santana has had a season-ending injury for the past four consecutive years, which includes 2011, when he missed that entire season. At 34 years old by Opening Day, it does not seem like Santana's overall health will be improving this year or in the future.

With this being said, participating in the World Baseball Classic would be a big injury risk for Santana in the Mets. His value to the Mets certainly outweighs any value he could have for Team Venezuela, which already has Felix Hernandez and Anibal Sanchez leading a strong pitching staff.

If Santana were to get hurt during the World Baseball Classic, it would have a significant effect on the Mets' upcoming season. This would mean someone like Jeremy Hefner, Jenrry Mejia, or Collin McHugh would have to fill in Santana's spot in the rotation for at least a few weeks.

Zack Wheeler of course could be the best option available if Santana gets hurt, but it would not be of the Mets' best interest to rush Wheeler into the major leagues. He could use some more time (possibly one or two months) developing and fine tuning his pitching in the minor leagues before getting called up to the Mets. The Mets would likely try to avoid such a situation from having to occur.

All in all, it would be wise of Santana and in the best interest of the Mets for him to not participate in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. The Mets owe Santana $31 million this year and it would not be good if all that money to waste due to an injury suffered in the World Baseball Classic that could have been easily avoided.

Hopefully, Santana will give into his personal desires and put the team over himself this year. He will be playing this year for a future job in 2014, so if he is healthy and effective on the mound, there's a much better chance of him finding a new contract next offseason.

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