Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Santana, surgery and the Hall

Johan Santana: 93-44 with
the Twins, 40-25 with Mets
Johan Santana had surgery today to repair the torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder.

It is easier for me to name pitchers who have had this surgery without recovering their form (Chien-Ming Wang, Kelvim Escobar, Mark Prior) than pitchers who have regained their form (uh, none that I know of).

Which doesn't mean Santana is cooked. It does mean that he's at a career crisis.

The Great Santana has been on the decline since leaving the Twins, but at his best — 2004-08 — he was the best pitcher going, and that kind of thing counts big time with Hall of Fame voters. The lack of such a period of dominance is why Bert Blyleven isn't in yet, why 300-game winners like Don Sutton and Gaylord Perry had to wait for entry.

Even if he never pitches again, Santana meets the 10-year career minimum for the Hall. He has two Cy Young awards, has led the league in ERA three times, in strikeouts three times, in innings pitched three times, in wins once. Career record: 133-69, 3.10. See his stats here.

And so the new poll question: As of now, is Johan Santana a Hall of Famer?

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