Non-Tender Candidate: John Maine

There's no question that John Maine's season began poorly. He struggled through nine early-season starts and didn't pitch after injuring his shoulder in May. If there was any doubt that he was a non-tender candidate, it disappeared later this summer when it became apparent that he would need season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder.

Before the injury sidelined Maine, he posted a 6.13 ERA in 39.2 innings and walked too many hitters, so the Mets may be reluctant to offer the 29-year-old arbitration. Sure, Maine has potential, but he made $3.3MM this year and would make a comparable amount if the Mets tender him a contract. 

Maine is still young and he has been effective in the past, so it's easy to see how the Mets might be tempted to keep him. The right-hander pitched to a 4.01 ERA in 87 starts from 2006-09 with 7.7 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9. That kind of production has value, even if Maine currently sits behind Johan Santana (also recovering from surgery), R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese, Mike Pelfrey and Jenrry Mejia in the team's projected rotation.

If the Mets non-tender Maine, other teams would likely have cautious interest. There are no guarantees for pitchers returning from arthroscopic shoulder surgery, as another non-tender candidate knows well. Chien-Ming Wang, who underwent a similar operation almost exactly one year before Maine did, didn't pitch in 2010. The Mets would be taking on a considerable risk by offering a few million dollars in arbitration.

When he examined the Mets arbitration class, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes argued that Maine will likely be non-tendered this December. I agree - Maine will probably find himself competing for jobs alongside free agent starters before long. That's no sure thing, though, especially with a new GM on his way in, so it's still worth asking whether the Mets will tender the righty a contract. Click here to vote on Maine's future in New York and here to view the results.

22 Responses to Non-Tender Candidate: John Maine Leave a Reply

  1. Guest 5 years ago

    Maine is toast. He’ll never pitch for the Mets again.

    • Infield Fly 5 years ago

      Oh yeah. Between him, Ollie & Pelf (who we need) he’s just one head case too many. Maine’s GOTTA be outta here, and I’m guessing Sandy Alderson will agree.

      • Buggies 5 years ago

        Pelf showed a lot of improvement this year.I’m not ready to give up on him, he’s a big piece of our rotation. His first half was outstanding, he seemed to be very worn out down the stretch though but its normal. I don’t think I could ever categorize him with the likes of Ollie.

        • Infield Fly 5 years ago

          Dude, I’m WITH that….which tells me you missed the crux of what I was really trying to say. So just for fun I’ll lay it out a little better, one Mets fan to another. Just bear with me. I’ve been sitting on this for a while.

          My point is not about who did or didn’t grow, or who’s worse than who and to what degree, or even potential…and I definitely did not imply that I wanted to give up on Big Pelf! My comment was Mainely (:-p) about the fact that the Mets now have THREE pitchers on the books whose performance issues stem from what’s going on in their heads – and that is excessive. To be an effective pitcher obviously takes more than great “stuff,” velocity, or even command & control. You need a certain self-mastery and mental discipline to hold your emotions & insecurities in check when things are not going your way, or when you just don’t HAVE your great stuff on a given day. However, for years, and to differing degrees, Ollie, Maine and Pelf have torpedoed their own performance in crucial moments during games. Although they might have done so in different ways, each let his insecurities get to him and derail his nerve, focus, and most of all his discipline, when the game was on the line and mental grit & determination were called for. Here’s what I mean:

          * Ollie, after a period of making SOME efforts to control his thoughts & emotions, ultimately “committed” to his stubborn, erratic & impulsive nature, often pitching with what seemed like a selfish lack of concern for the team as a whole, IMO. His lack of mental discipline is legendary – and deservedly so. Mets fans double over in pain when he heads to the mound (I’m getting flashbacks from the last game of the season – my horrible view from right beyond the dugout).

          * Maine, even when he was at his best, has chronically berated himself repeatedly right after some disappointing pitch or outcome. He just can’t let a momentary failure go, and all too often cannot recover his poise enough to go after the remaining batters when the game was still salvageable. Instead he increasingly spirals out of control, taking the game along with him.

          * As for Pelf (and without rehashing too much of what he put us through for the last 4+ years) the fact that he is finally getting a grip on his anxieties and the mental flightiness he is prone to is extremely gratifying to me as well, but in truth it’s been much too long time coming. He is a head case for sure – but of all of them, Pelf is the one you keep. He’s getting there but, he’s still a bit of a project, so with him in the house the last thing we need are two more arms who can’t get out from under their mental issues. We need guys with mental toughness to shore up the rotation (such as it is), which is why I said that Maine is “one head case too many.” However what I really should have said was, “one pitcher with head issues is enough!”

          That’s my deal, Buggies. And by the way, welcome to the board!

  2. As a Mets fan, I’d be fairly shocked if Maine was tendered a contract.

    More likely, he would be non-tendered and resigned for less money and an initial stint in the minors…or just non-tendered and left to fend for himself on the market.

  3. Buggies 5 years ago

    When I think of Maine, I can’t help but think of the likes of Ollie and Castillo as well, Mets need to let go of these kinds of players and move on and just be thankful what they got from Maine, who wasn’t a bad pitcher at all, always give it his all but was always lingered by injuries. The starting rotation needs new faces.

  4. adropofvenom 5 years ago

    There’s no chance that Maine is kept. Mainly because his arm is shot, he’s lost over 3 mph since 2008, which has led to more and more foul balls, keeping at-bats alive, and longer at-bats leading to more and more walks. He’ll be non-tendered and will have to look for a minor league deal somewhere where he can hope to re-find that velocity, or come up with some secondary offerings to cope with reduced velocity.

    • “Mainly because his arm is shot”

      Mainely because his arm is shot. You missed a slam dunk.

      I agree that the Brewers are a likely destination.

  5. icedrake523 5 years ago

    I think he’ll go to the Brewers. He had his best years with Rick Peterson.

  6. MetsEventually 5 years ago

    In the words of Gary Cohen, “It’s outta here”

    • What about non-tendering him and bringing him back as just another bullpen arm on a minor league contract?

      • Slopeboy 5 years ago

        Mets need to clean house everywhere they can. They’re stuck with Perez, Beltran and Castillo’s contracts for a while, so letting Maine go is a step in the right direction. He has not contributed anything to the team the last two years and has be slow to recover, while being less than truthful about injuries. He won’t be missed.

      • MetsEventually 5 years ago

        The guy can’t throw beyond 88 anymore

        • adropofvenom 5 years ago

          Sad but true….what part of a Righty throwing 88 with below-average secondary stuff and below-average control translates to the bullpen, which is all that Maine is at this point.

          But who knows, maybe short-stints will allow him to air it out and get up to 90 again. Just wouldn’t get my hopes up with him.

  7. bbxxj 5 years ago

    He makes sense there and maybe even more as a 7/8th inning guy as he rebuilds his strength and so he can keep his velocity up.

    • Slopeboy 5 years ago

      Maine has demonstrated he has no value as a long term project. He’s past the stage where he still has potential, he is what he is. And as a reliever, that’s not a good idea as he walks too many to be considered someone that would set up any closer.

  8. mrmet128 5 years ago

    non-tender him. hes always hurt, and he can’t throw more than 5 innings a game when he is healthy anyway.

    i see the bullpen in Maine’s future.

    thanks for 2007, John.

  9. cweradio 5 years ago

    New blood (GM and Manager) is coming in so you would have to think they would want to bring in “their” men .. leave the past behind about our horrid Mets team

  10. Emanny 5 years ago

    Terrible idea it would be to bring this “habitual liar” back. He, Ollie. P, Slappy. C, are the poster boy for what’s wrong with the Mets. Peace out, Johnny Maine.

  11. TapDancingTeddy 5 years ago

    The Yankees might bite on Maine if he’s facing a full year of rehab and they think he’ll be back to form. They did the same with Jon Leiber. They paid him around 3 million for 2 years and got good value in the second year.

    Although, to shoot holes in my own post, that assumes two really big things about Maine:
    1. They think he will fully recover.
    2. They think he’s a quality AL pitcher when fully healthy.

    If the answer to either question is a “no” then they will not go near him.

  12. untdrum99 5 years ago

    Maine should be done in NY. If I were a GM I would steer clear of him. He had a horrible year when he was “healthy,” and it only went downhill from there.

    Shoulder problems do not have the same success rate of return as elbow problems. Look at Mark Prior, Brandon Webb, and Jason Schmidt. Many doctors have stated that the problem is that when they are operating, it’s tough to know exactly how for to go and what is really causing the person pain.

    From ESPN:
    “It really comes down to clinical judgment at the time,” Dr. Jeff Guy (with Univ. of South Carolina and also teaches with Dr. James Andrews) said. He describes shoulders that exhibit signs of severe wear and tear with fronds of tissue hanging inside the joint. “When the tissue is frayed you try to clean it up as best you can and hope that you’ve addressed what’s causing the [athlete’s] pain.”

    “The interrelationship of all these structures makes deciding how much to do once operating inside the shoulder “an experienced guess” according to Dr. Jeff Guy.”

    “Only 35 percent to 50 percent of throwing athletes return to their previous level of performance following shoulder surgery. One study presented at the 2008 American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Specialty Day Meeting indicated that of 12 players at the high professional level (major league baseball, Triple-A and Double-A) who underwent shoulder surgery, only one made it back to that high level of play.”

    • untdrum99 5 years ago

      And some more:
      Erik Bedard, Ben Sheets, jeff Francis, Matt Clement, Bartolo Colon, Chad Cordero, Gil Meche (almost a comeback, but not long term)

      Too few examples of successful comebacks (although all 3 are impressive):
      Curt Schilling, Chris Carpenter, Roger Clemens (maybe thanks to some chemical help)

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