It is no secret that the Mets would love to find someone else to pay the $31 million (salary plus $5.5 million buyout) Johan Santana is owed for 2013. It would seem impossible, but then again the Red Sox were able to unload about $2 billion in salary on the Dodgers, so clearly nothing is impossible. But did the Mets squander their best chance to deal Santana during the season?
Obviously Santana’s value was never higher than on June 1, when he threw his no-hitter and lowered his ERA to 2.38. However Sandy Alderson would have had a fan mutiny on his hands if he sent Santana away at that point. Also, the Mets were still in the thick of the Wild Card chase — they could not trade their ace.
Santana stumbled a bit after his big game, but he ended June with three solid starts. Still viable Wild Card contenders, there was no way Alderson could trade him then.
Then came July. As the Mets tumbled out of contention, Santana made three awful starts, allowing seven, six and six runs and finally landing on the disabled list on July 20. Now that the Mets were out of the race and Alderson was free to trade him, he couldn’t because Santana was now damaged goods.
Still, a waiver deal was possible in August if Santana could come back strongly from the DL. Instead he had two brutal starts and was shut down for the season.
So not only did the Mets not blow their chance to trade Santana, there really was no chance of trading him at all. This was just a case of awful timing. When Alderson could have traded Santana, he couldn’t because the Mets were surprisingly still in contention. Then when they fell out, Santana was untradeable because of his health.
So the Mets are likely stuck with Johan Santana and his hefty bill. Unless of course another team is in love with one of the Mets players and would take Santana in order to get that player. But really, what are the odds of that?