What occurred Saturday at Camp Met, Sandy Alderson expressing his dismay that Johan Santana didn’t do enough throwing work over the winter, was the culmination of the Mets high command’s frustration over never getting their money’s worth on the $137.5 million contract they bestowed on their would-be ace lefthander five years ago.

They want us to believe it is Santana’s fault he hasn’t been able to throw a pitch in earnest this spring and won’t be ready for Opening Day to take his spot at the top of the Mets rotation.

As if Santana, whom they have always acknowledged to be one of the greatest competitors ever to wear the Met blue and orange, would deliberately take a winter siesta when he knows he will be pitching for a new contract this year.

The problem for Alderson and Mets ownership is that they deluded themselves into believing the soon to be 34-year-old Santana, though shut down the final six weeks of last season with general fatigue of his back and shoulder, was going to reemerge as the unquestioned leader of the staff and fully earn the remaining $25.5 million on his contract.