Santana’s Final Destination demonstrates hard truth of pitching contracts

Johan Santana's elbow issues in Spring Training proved to be a harbinger Other sources – like Baseball Prospectus – have started to pick up on our idea of the Mets’ season being like a horror movie. Being that we are horror movie historians of sorts, we’ve specified the movie Final Destination as a direct parallel. And following with that theme, whatever demonic force has targeted the Mets claimed Johan Santana’s valuable left elbow and Oliver Perez’s somewhat less valuable right knee this week.

Sidebar: If there’s anyone out there who thought 150-year-old malcontent Gary Sheffield would outlast Santana, much less Wright, Beltran and Reyes, he or she should promptly begin playing the horses.

Regardless, neither Santana and Perez will pitch again this season, bringing to an end a series of injuries that veered into the land of the occult.

However, these two most recent maladies, particularly that of Santana, brings to attention a couple of shortcomings of the Mets’ organizational strategy.

  1. Pitchers are too risky to make big-money investments in.
  2. There is great monetary value in a successful scouting department and farm system.

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Victor Zambrano Deadline Award goes to White Sox for Peavy deal

Jake Peavy, meet Mr. Victor Zambrano

Say the name Victor Zambrano to a Mets fan, and it’s like bringing up Catwoman to Halle Berry. It’s like the Battlefield Earth of blockbuster trades.

Dial back the calendar to the day before the Trade Deadline in 2005, and the Mets made two horrendous deals. They traded for incredibly soft right-hander Kris Benson, but far worse than that, they traded future All-Star and AL strikeout leader Scott Kazmir for wild veteran Victor Zambrano, known for walking the universe and putting up decidedly mediocre numbers when he actually did find the plate.

It was the rare occasion when the moment a trade had been consummated, you already knew it was terrible. A top prospect being traded for someone not even as good – even at that time. It was like the Mavs trading Devin Harris to the Nets for Jason Kidd, except, I mean, at least they got Jason Kidd, albeit an older, slower version.

Zambrano made three starts – one admittedly great, the other two lousy – before being shut down. He went 7-12 in 2005 before his elbow almost literally exploded in his fifth start in 2006. Meanwhile, Kazmir’s debut for the Rays less than a month after the trade resulted in five shutout innings. Pitching for mostly bad teams, Kazmir is 52-43 with a 3.87 ERA and 845 strikeouts in 804 innings.

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