The fact that people were happy to hear Johan Santana needed season-ending elbow surgery is a pretty good sign that things haven't gone right in Queens this summer. The rare best-case scenario was followed by another reason for those fans to seriously question how much of themselves they should devote to following the Mets.
Omar Minaya's press conference announcing Santana's surgery, Billy Wagner's trade and injury setbacks for Oliver Perez and J.J. Putz was the latest salvo from a Mets a front office that continues to find ways to perform alchemy in reverse. Minaya, when asked if Santana's surgery was related to the elbow pain he felt during Spring Training, replied that he didn't remember Santana was hurt back then because "Spring Training was such a long time ago."
Santana's elbow injury and the resulting fear that he might miss Opening Day was a huge story, the kind of thing that you remember when you're counting on that elbow to lead you to 20-odd wins over the course of the regular season. It's mind-boggling that Minaya could actually not remember that injury, but then he said he didn't remember what an evaluation of Santana's elbow from the All-Star break found and you wonder if there's anyone working for the Mets who cares as much about the team as those buying the tickets.
Take Minaya at his word, that he doesn't remember key facts about the health of his team's best pitcher, and it is impossible to explain how he is allowed to remain the general manager. If you don't believe he's telling the truth, then he's continuing a run of obfuscation and dishonesty that has marked many of his public appearances this season. When it comes to strange things to feel good about, elbow surgery has nothing on organizational disarray.
And that's going to be a problem for the team this offseason. It goes beyond people getting saddled with a rise in ticket prices and finding whatever complaints about what is, overall, a spanking new stadium that puts Shea to shame. It is a team that pushed Santana, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes on the field with injuries, a team that allowed rogue executives to act like complete buffoons and a team that rewarded the guy who oversaw it all with a guaranteed job for the 2010 season.
This is what the Mets are trying to sell a fanbase that's already put off by what happened in 2007 and 2008, and it will be quite interesting to see how successful they are at making it work.