Earlier today, Johan Santana held a throwing session for seven teams at a high school in Fort Myers. In spite of it being more of a public showing of the progress in his rehabilitation process, Santana allegedly wasn't in mid-season form.
"The fastball just had no zing," said one American League scout, who apparently forgot that Santana had only been throwing off of a mound for two-and-a-half weeks after not throwing a Major League pitch since 2012 and wanted to remain anonymous. "There was no pop in the glove," he added, ignoring the fact that Santana is recovering from a torn capsule in his throwing shoulder just over ten months ago.
More damning to Santana's bid to sign a Major League contract today (probably) was a lack of what has been dubbed "Major League velocity". Teddy Feldman, a scout in attendance for the Yankees, was eager to spin a narrative. "He barely cracked 80mph!" he scoffed, apparently believing that even healthy pitchers throw at full velocity in their first regular season game, much less a spring training game or a throwing session in February.
When asked what kind of velocity Santana was expected to show on February 25, a date which scouts and journalists alike pretended was irrelevant, one media member responded: "I remember when he had that 94 mph fastball! Man, those days are long gone if he can barely crack 80." It was ignored when it was mentioned that Santana's top speed of 81mph was only six and a half miles per hour slower than his average fastball in 2012.
Kevin Hasbargen, a Twins fan from Cloquet, Minnesota, who didn't read the report that also called Santana's changeup "impressive" but nevertheless followed the narrative on Santana's velocity that was building on Twitter, told reporters that he didn't think the former two-time Cy Young award winner's "heart was in it" and that the southpaw "really missed out on a big opportunity."
"I know that not even healthy big league pitchers are throwing full strength right now," Hasbargen said, "but this guy used to be the best left-handed pitcher in baseball and now he's not. I mean, it's February 25, man. I don't feel good about it, but...yeah...yeah, I'm gonna write him off." As of press time, Hasbargen hadn't changed his mind.
A General Manager from the National League who asked to have his name omitted from this article admitted that, based on today's throwing session, Santana's career was pretty much over. "I mean, forget that he didn't throw a single slider," he laughed incredulously, "there wasn't even a batter in the box! No defense! What kind of trick was Santana trying to pull, anyway?" The GM looked into the middle distance and chuckled, apparently willing to extend his meaningless judgment of Santana's throwing session into outright fantasy.
Santana, meanwhile, seems happy with the results of today's session.
Today was a very good day off the mound, getting better!!!— El Gocho believe it! (@johansantana) February 25, 2014
One can only imagine that, upon realizing his velocity wasn't in mid-season form, Santana will retract his tweet, possibly delete his Twitter account altogether, and retire.