The Mets have almost eliminated every vestige of their much reviled 2008 bullpen. Duaner Sanchez was handed his walking papers on Tuesday, leaving Pedro Feliciano as the only regular member of the unit still with the team.
Sanchez's release gives us the opportunity to remember one more time how much his injuries cost the team. In 2006, one day before the trading deadline, Sanchez's taxicab got into an accident in Miami. He seperated his shoulder and missed the rest of the season, including a playoff run that ended when Aaron Heilman allowed a home run to Yadier Molina of the Cardinals in the top of the ninth inning of Game Seven of the NLCS. Sanchez would likely have been on the mound if he was healthy, leaving Mets fans with a brutal case of what might have been.
He hurt the shoulder again in 2007 and missed the entire season. There probably wasn't much Sanchez could have done as the whole team collapsed that year, but the slide was such that an out here or an out there could have made a huge difference.
Or not. It was clear that injuries had turned Sanchez into a shell of the pitcher who looked so promising in 2006. G.M. Omar Minaya admitted as much when he announced the transaction.
“We looked at it, really, his over all performance based upon last year to what we see now and we didn’t see the improvement,” Minaya said.
With all the moves they've made this offseason, the Mets won't miss Sanchez in 2009. If anything, he kept getting chances because of how much they missed him 2006 and 2007, and it is a good sign that the Mets are willing to totally turn the page on past disappointments.