The Toronto Blue Jays knew that it would be a long-shot if they ever got former Cy Young winner Johan Santana back on the mound. Yet, it was a calculated risk the team was looking to take, especially given their lack of moves to bolster the rotation in the offseason.
Unfortunately, it was a risk that did not bring any reward with it.
On Saturday, Adam Rubin of ESPN reported that Santana was shutting down his comeback bid before he was ever able to get past long toss. Since last appearing in a game on August 17, 2012, two shoulder surgeries and a torn achilles tendon have kept the left-hander from pitching in a Major League game. This time around, a toe infection has slowed him down and Santana no longer believes he has enough time to increase his workload in order to get where he needs to be.
Santana last appeared in 2012 for the New York Mets, when he posted a 6-9 record, a 4.85 ERA, a 4.09 FIP, and a 8.5 K/9 ratio. However, many believe that Santana was a different pitcher after throwing the first no-hitter in Mets history on June 1, 2012. In that start, Santana threw 134 pitches, 26 more than any other start that season. After missing all of 2011 due to shoulder surgery, it seemed like a heavy workload in just his 11th start back. In 10 games after, Santana was touched up for 45 earned runs over 49 innings of work, allowing 13 home runs in the process before shutting it down.
A two-time Cy Young winner while a member of the Minnesota Twins, Johan Santana has been down the comeback trail before, having failed in 2014 after signing a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles. At 36-years-old, both Baltimore and Toronto were hoping that he could salvage just an inkling that he would resemble the pitcher that went 86-39 with a 9.33 K/9 ratio from 2004-2008.
Given that Santana has been unable to claim a spot with the Blue Jays, the team hasn’t really calculated him in their plans. Instead, the team has plucked other waiver claims like Felix Doubront and seen minor league arms Scott Copeland and Matt Boyd step up to provide some roster depth should their rotation become thin. While it would have been nice to see Santana return to full strength, especially from a nostalgia standpoint, it certainly won’t hurt the team long term.