Saturday, March 27, 2010
#769) JOHAN SANTANA
The New York Mets secured the ace of their pitching staff when they acquired Johan Santana from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey, and Deolis Guerra on March 31, 2008. The two-time American League Cy Young Award winner was signed to a six-year contract extension that made him the highest paid pitcher in the game. Santana joined a talented club during the final season of Shea Stadium. "This team has the right pieces to go all the way," Johan said, "and I'm very excited about that."
The left-hander had also been courted by both the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, but former teammate, Torii Hunter was not surprised by Santana's choice. "The Mets are not only getting a Cy Young winner," Torii offered, "but an absolute bulldog who's great in the clubhouse. He's going to dominate that league. They're going to absolutely love him in New York. I know he is happy too, because he really wanted to go to the Mets. He's always wanted to swing the wood. He can hit."
During his first season with the Mets he was indeed the best pitcher on the team. Johan finished with a 16-7 record and 2.53 ERA (the lowest in the National League). All while striking out 206 batters in 234-1/3 innings of work. Santana's three-hit shutout victory on the next to last day of the season, that coming off just three days rest, was not enough to keep the Mets from faltering at the end of the 2008 campaign. They would miss the playoffs by one game, and provide a somber closing of Shea Stadium.
Johan Santana signed his card in the set during a rainy batting practice session before the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox game in Ft. Myers, Florida on March 17, 2010 (St. Patrick's Day).