On a now small-market team, any time a player makes more than a couple million, they'll undoubtedly face pressure. So with Johan Santana in the final year of his six-year, $137.5 contract and David Wright in the first year of his eight-year, $138 million extension, it's pretty obvious that all eyes will be on the two to make New York relevant again.
But while the two are united by their mega-contracts, their situations could not be any more different.
Santana, who won two Cy Young Awards during his tenure in Minnesota, was once considered the most dominant pitcher in all of baseball. He's pitched to an impressive 139-78 record in his career, including a 40-25 span to begin his New York years, but since 2010, he's faded rapidly into the irrelevant.
After missing all of 2011 with an injury, Santana came back in 2012 looking like his old self, if for a short time. The left-hander threw the first no-hitter in Mets history, then immediately lost everything. He finished the year with a 6-9 record and 4.85 earned run average. That's a lousy year for a fourth or fifth starter, let alone Johan.
So the pressure is on Santana to bounce back and give the Mets quality, competitive innings. But the pressure is not to win another Cy Young. Essentially, Mets fans hope Johan can be worth at least a small portion of his enormous salary then unemotionally part ways with the club when the season ends.
The real pressure in New York falls on David Wright. The star slugger, now 30 years old, is the face of the franchise and will likely be awarded the captaincy any day now according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. On a team that refused to make big splashes in free agency, the Mets (rightfully) splurged on Wright, giving him a contract that will keep him in New York for the rest of his career.
But don't let Wright's .306 average confuse you. Wright had the hottest first half in all of baseball, batting an incredible .351 before the All-Star break and a lowly .258 after it.
If the Mets are going to be a postseason threat in the next few years, it will be all on the shoulders of David Wright. Johan has a lot of personal pressure to keep his career going, but the Mets know they need to survive just one more year of him.
David Wright is the leader of this team for the next decade, hopefully leading in the direction of the playoffs.
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