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Mets considering bringing back Johan Santana

Johan Santana's enormous contract will be off the books in 2014, but according to Sandy Alderson, Johan could still be on the mound for the Mets.

Could Johan Santana be back in orange-and-blue?
Could Johan Santana be back in orange-and-blue?
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Johan Santana will be remembered in his Mets tenure for three things: his 2012 no-hitter, his injuries, and his contract. Sandy Alderson told WFAN Monday he's planning to discuss a potential return for the former Mets ace, if, of course, the Mets get some return on Santana's potential.

I think it's a possibility, yeah, I don't really know what Johan is thinking," said Alderson. "We'll talk to him I'm sure over the next couple weeks, but I think he wants to pitch. But again, we'll just have to see what the market is for these guys and how much of our resources we want to allocate to somebody coming off injury or someone you hope is able to pitch at a higher level for you."

Johan Santana is the guy who pulled down $49.5 million over the past two years to put up a combined -.2 bWAR. That last sentence is The Bell Jar-level depressing. Santana was paid nearly $50 million to be essentially replacement-level over a two-year period where he only contributed 117 innings. Excuse the Darren Rovell-style breakdown here, but that's $423,000 per inning. Those innings yielded a 4.85 ERA. This is where the Mets are at with the very real threat Matt Harvey won't be seen in 2014.

Santana's time in orange-and-blue wasn't all blue, though. He actually had a better ERA in New York (3.18) than he did in Minnesota (3.22). His first season with the Mets was the peak. He went 16-7 with an NL-leading 2.53 ERA in 2008, and finished second in the NL with 206 strikeouts. But Santana's effectiveness and health declined in parallel with the Mets' overall success.

Santana had effective but injury-shortened 2009 and 2010 seasons. In 2011, Santana missed the whole year due to shoulder surgery. His return in 2012 was met with tempered expectations, and ultimately he failed to provide the innings New York needed to compete in the NL East.

In recent years, the Mets have managed to find some unwanted back-of-the-rotation guys to fill innings in case of injuries. Chris Capuano, Chris Young, Shaun Marcum, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Aaron Harang fall into that category. The problem with these types of post-injury signings is their predictably mixed results. Capuano was effective enough and Young had some nice starts before succumbing to injury. The rest of the signings, all from this season, were either horrendous (Shaun Marcum) or only acceptable because the Mets were already out of the Wild Card race.

It looks like Alderson is considering Santana as a possible off-the-scrap-heap option to help fill the open four or five slot in the Mets' 2014 rotation. Will Santana cost $25.5 million again? No, of course not. But Alderson is more familiar with what Santana can bring post-injury than someone from the outside, making this a potentially realistic move depending, of course, on Johan's health.