Johan Santana has been working out recently with the intention of being in good enough shape to join Team Venezuela for next month’s World Baseball Classic. Now nearly two-and-a-half years removed from shoulder surgery, he is healthy and the Mets plan to treat him like any other pitcher this spring.
But insurance obstacles could prove prohibitive in his quest to compete on an international stage. Because Santana finished last season on the disabled list, the Classic must be willing to insure the $31 million remaining on his contract for him to compete.
Even if Santana clears that hurdle, the Mets could ask him not to participate, as many teams do for older players — particularly for pitchers, and certainly for pitchers with his recent history of arm trouble.
Asked directly about the situation, general manager Sandy Alderson said he would not open that can of worms unless Santana approached the Mets asking to play. So far, the left-hander has not done so. But a second tour of duty for Venezuela — Santana played in 2006, but sat out 2009 while recovering from knee surgery — seems unlikely.