However, only if it helps Santana prepare for the season, Collins has no problem with Santana pitching in the tournament.
"He told me he wanted me to pitch," Collins explained. "I said 'listen, I want you to understand one thing: April 1, I want you standing on the mound at Citi Field. This is a big year for us, and we need you to give us what you can. If you feel pitching in the WBC will help you get ready, then go pitch in the WBC. I'd prefer him not to, if it was up to me. ... He's a huge piece of our puzzle."
The World Baseball Classic disqualifies a player if he was on the disabled list for 60 or more days or was on the disabled list after August 31, 2012.
Santana was shutdown on August 17 and placed on the disabled list on August 22 with what the team characterized as lower back stiffness. However, Sandy Alderson said last month Santana was suffering more from general fatigue due to his rehabilitation from shoulder surgery he underwent in September, 2010.
A committee could allow a previously disqualified player to play through a certification process.
In listening to everyone talk about this situation at camp, it doesn’t sound like anyone is enamored by the idea of Santana pitching in the WBC, even if Santana does get certified to participate. I don’t blame him – despite his accomplishments last year, Santana has a lot to prove in terms of his ability to stay strong and healthy in 2013. But as Alderson said, it is encouraging Santana feels strong enough to be able to pitch competitively so early in the year.
At the end of the day, Santana hasn’t given the Mets a full season since 2009, and he’s owed Santana $31 million this year; they need to maximize that investment as much as they can. I have to wonder what kind of impact pitching competitively in the WBC – as opposed to pitching on a regular Spring routine – might have on that ability to contribute over a 162-game season.
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Stats: Santana went 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA in 21 starts in 2012.
After his no-hitter on June 1, Santana went 3-7 with a 8.27 ERA over his final ten starts, and averaged just under five innings per start over that span. He lost his last five starts and had a 15.63 ERA in only 19 innings over that span.
He was placed on the disabled list and ended his season on August 22 after an MRI showed inflammation in his lower back.
Contract: Santana is entering the final year of a six-year, $137.5 million contract he signed with the Mets before the 2008 season. Santana will earn $25.5 million in 2013 and the team holds a $25 million option on Santana for 2014 – they can opt to buy the option out for $5.5 million and make Santana a free agent after next season.