In talking about the Mets’ rotation plans general manager Sandy Alderson categorized Johan Santana as a “question mark” and told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that the former Cy Young winner “might not be” ready for Opening Day.
Santana planned to return from shoulder surgery to pitch for the Mets down the stretch, but suffered various setbacks along the way and never threw a pitch in the majors.
Opening Day would be more than 18 months after his surgery and Alderson did say that “we think he’s going to be ready.”
For now the Mets’ projected rotation is Santana, Jon Niese, Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey, and Dillon Gee.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.