Johan Santana, in public and private, has spent the past few months saying that he has not felt this healthy in several years, and is ready for a strong, full season.
If that happens, a vesting option in Santana’s contract could present a complication for Terry Collins, and impact the ace’s midseason trade value. The two-time Cy Young Award winner’s six-year, $137.5 million deal expires this season, but the contract contains a 2014 player option that vests for $25 million if Santana pitches 215 innings in 2013, and is on the active roster for the final 30 days of the season.
The vesting option will also be triggered if Santana wins the Cy Young Award in 2013. If the option does not vest, the Mets can buy it out for $5.5 million.
What are Santana’s chances of hitting that innings target? He has not topped 200 innings since 2008, but did so in every season from 2004-2008. In 2009, his year ended on Aug . 25 because of minor elbow surgery, and 2010 and 2012 were shortened by major shoulder surgery and its aftereffects (2011 was a complete injury-related wipeout).
But this year, if Santana is indeed back to a regular schedule, and is pitching well enough to either help the Mets mount a surprise wild-card run or become trade bait, the vesting option — combined with the ace’s full no-trade clause — could become a focus.

Would a contending team want to acquire a player who is on pace to top 215 innings and be owed $25 million at age 35? Very likely not, unless the Mets, Santana’s agents, and the acquiring team are able to work out an arrangement (the Mets could include significant money, or the new team could work out an extension with Santana, for example).
Collins dealt with a similar situation in 2011, when closer Francisco Rodriguez had a $17.5 million option that would vest for the following season with 55 games finished.


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