The Mets announced that they have declined their $25MM club option on left-hander Johan Santana. The move is perhaps the least surprising option decision we'll see this season. The two-time American League Cy Young Award winner will be paid a $5.5MM buyout and hit the free agent market.
The 34-year-old Santana recently started throwing again and hopes to pitch in 2014 after missing the entire 2013 season with a shoulder injury, according to a report from earlier this morning by Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith.
Santana, who missed the entire 2011 season with shoulder problems as well, last pitched in 2012, totaling 117 innings of a 4.85 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9. He had cruised through the season up until June 1 of that year, looking like his vintage self. Santana was coming off a complete-game shutout of the Padres entering that June 1 start — a historic day on which Mets fans bore witness to the first no-hitter in franchise history. However, in tossing his masterpiece, Santana threw a whopping 134 pitches — an alarming amount considering he'd only topped 100 pitches on three other occasions that season. He went on to post an 8.27 ERA over his next 10 starts before finishing the season on the disabled list.
Santana, perhaps the greatest pitcher to ever come out of the Rule 5 Draft, won a pair of Cy Young Awards in Minnesota before being traded to the Mets in January, 2008 for a package of Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra. The Twins received little return on that deal (Gomez didn't break out until he'd been traded to Milwaukee), and one would think that the Mets would like to take back the six-year, $137.5MM extension they granted upon Santana's arrival in Queens.