In 1989 the Mets were coming off a relatively disappointing year – one in which they were supposed to at least get to the World Series. Their pitching staff had on it a young 26-year old, acquired in a trade with a 2nd division team, who looked to be a star in the making (Cone) and an aging injury-plagued starter acquired from the Boston Red Sox (Ojeda). Needing more pitching help the front office made a trade with the Minnesota Twins for their Cy Young Award winning left handed ace (Frank Viola), trading away several prospects in the deal.
You know where I am going with this so before I go on let me say I am not second guessing the Mets acquisition of Johan Santana. Hell it’s one of the best things Omar has done since he became GM. All I am doing is pointing out similarities.
In Viola’s first 7 starts for the Mets, he was 4-2, with 50 IP, an ERA of 3.41, and averages of 7.7 hits, 7.5 Ks, and 0.7 HRs all per 9 innings.
In Santana’s first 7 starts, he is 3-2 with 45 IP, an ERA of 2.97, and averages of 6.9 hits, 9.3 Ks, and 1.4 HRs per 9 innings.
In 89 the Mets finished in 2nd place, 6 games back. They would not make the playoffs again until 1999. Meanwhile in 1991, led by 2 of the players acquired in the trade with the Mets, the Twins won the World Series.