John Maine Rumors

Quick Hits: Maine, Lerner, Foltynewicz

A few stray items of note coming out of the National League as Thursday winds down …

  • Rockies right-hander John Maine can opt out of his contract with Colorado if he's not on the 25-man roster on June 1, tweets Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post. Maine, who signed a minor league deal with the Rox this offseason, has missed the better part of each of the past two seasons with the Mets due to right arm trouble.
  • The Nationals grabbed headlines this offseason by signing Jayson Werth to a hefty $126MM contract, and though it was widely regarded as a questionable baseball decision, owner Ted Lerner has no shortage of cash, writes Kevin Kaduk of Yahoo! Sports. Lerner, as Kaduk explains, ranks No. 376 on Forbes' list of wealthiest people in the world, and is presently the wealthiest majority owner in baseball.
  • Astros pitching prospect Mike Foltynewicz is looking to build upon the strong professional debut he made in 2010, writes Stephen Goff of the Houston Examiner. Astros assistant GM/director of scouting Bobby Heck said that the right-hander probably has the highest ceiling of any Astros minor leaguer. Interestingly, Foltynewicz told Goff that he probably would have gone to the Red Sox at No. 20 overall in last year's First-Year Player Draft had the Astros not nabbed him at No. 19.

Rockies To Sign John Maine

The Rockies agreed to sign John Maine to a minor league deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, the team announced (on Twitter). ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick, who first reported the agreement, notes that Maine could earn about $3MM for making the Opening Day roster and can opt out if he doesn't make the big league team (Twitter links).

The Phillies and Royals showed interest in the 29-year-old right-hander as recently as yesterday, but they'll have to turn elsewhere for pitching depth.

Maine auditioned for teams last month after the Mets non-tendered him in December. He pitched to a 4.01 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 87 starts from 2006-09, but struggled to stay healthy and pitch effectively in 2010. Maine limped through nine early-season starts last year and didn't pitch after injuring his shoulder in May. He underwent season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in July.


Phillies, Royals Showing Interest In Maine

4:45pm: The Royals are showing interest in signing Maine to a minor league deal, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter).

2:30pm: Maine will sign in the next day or two according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com (on Twitter). The Phillies are on the short list, though the right-hander has several possibilities. 

9:34am: The Phillies remain the most likely destination for John Maine, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The right-hander was auditioning for teams late last month, but remains a free agent.

The Phillies are the only team that has been publicly linked to Maine since the Mets non-tendered him last December. The 29-year-old struggled with injuries and poor performance last year, though he pitched to a 4.01 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 87 starts from 2006-09. 

Maine struggled through nine early-season starts last year and didn't pitch after injuring his shoulder in May. He underwent season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in July.

 



Rockies, John Maine Close To Deal

The Rockies are close to signing John Maine to a minor league deal, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (Twitter links). Maine, who drew interest from six or seven teams, will be able to opt out of the contract if he doesn't make the Rockies' Opening Day roster. The Phillies and Royals showed interest in the 29-year-old right-hander as recently as yesterday, but they'll have to turn elsewhere for pitching depth.

Maine auditioned for teams last month after the Mets non-tendered him in December. He pitched to a 4.01 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 87 starts from 2006-09, but struggled to stay healthy and pitch effectively in 2010. Maine limped through nine early-season starts last year and didn't pitch after injuring his shoulder in May. He underwent season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in July.

This post was first published on February 17th.

 


Quick Hits: Maine, Minaya, Meche, Maroth, Kim

The Yankees signed Andy Pettitte on this date in 2009. The Bronx Bombers added an accomplished pitcher today, but it wasn't Pettitte; they're still waiting to hear from the left-hander. Here are some links for Wednesday…

  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that free agent starter John Maine is throwing bullpen sessions and is auditioning for teams (Twitter link). The 29-year-old right-hander had his shoulder cleaned up last summer.
  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson has not had any contact with former GM Omar Minaya since early January according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. Alderson indicated that there was a position available for his predecessor, assuming he wants it. 
  • Tyler Kepner of The New York Times wrote about the legacy of Gil Meche.
  • Former Tiger Mike Maroth told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that he's retiring. Maroth started 100 games for the Tigers from 2003-05, but the left-hander's elbow has caused problems since. He last pitched in 2007 for the Cardinals and Tigers.
  • The Rakuten Golden Eagles have announced the signing of Byung-Hyun Kim, according to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. The 32-year-old spent nine seasons with the D'Backs, Rockies, Red Sox and Marlins, posting a 4.42 ERA with 8.6 K/9 as a starter, closer and reliever. He allowed memorable home runs to Paul O'Neill and Tino Martinez in the 2001 World Series.
  • Alex Speier of WEEI.com hears that the Red Sox aren't likely to sign any more pitchers to major league deals this offseason.
  • The Royals edged out the Rays, Braves, Blue Jays and Phillies in Keith Law's organizational rankings at ESPN.com.
  • Royals GM Dayton Moore explains to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick that he intends to turn the Royals into a "consistent, solid, thriving organization" by continuing to develop young players.
  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson told ESPN.com's Adam Rubin that he would like to avoid arbitration with R.A. Dickey and remains open to a multiyear deal with the knuckleballer.

Poll: Best Remaining Free Agent Starting Pitcher

Pitchers and catchers are due to report in about three weeks, and by now all of the high-end free agents have come off the board. Heck, even second tier options have signed by now. That leaves just reclamation-type projects and players with considerable flaws, especially when it comes to pitching.

As MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker shows, starters like Kevin Millwood, Jeremy Bonderman, Freddy Garcia, Doug Davis, Rodrigo Lopez, Todd Wellemeyer and Brian Moehler remain unsigned. Andy Pettitte is clearly the best of the unsigned bunch, but it's the Yankees or retirement for him, and right now it looks like the latter is winning out. Neither Pedro Martinez, Braden Looper, or Jarrod Washburn have appeared in a big league game in over a year. John Maine, Justin Duchscherer and Jamie Moyer are coming off injuries, Tommy John surgery in Moyer's case.

There are still a number of teams looking for rotation help, including the Yankees, Orioles, Nationals, Pirates and Indians. Which of those unsigned starters represents the best option?



Phillies Interested In John Maine

The Phillies have had discussions with John Maine's representation, agent Rex Gary confirmed to Andrew Marchand and Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.  The right-hander made just 24 starts in 2009 and 2010 and was non-tendered by the Mets this winter.

Philadelphia already has five starters with Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, and Joe Blanton.  Ideally though, the Phillies would like to move Blanton and the $17MM he is owed over the next two seasons.

Maine, who turns 30 in May, would likely have to accept a minor league deal.  The right-hander underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in July and his agent says that he has recovered very well.


National League Non-Tenders

This post will list all the National League players non-tendered today, but the best place to track all 200+ arbitration eligible players is our new non-tender tracker.


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.


Odds & Ends: Cubs, Phillies, White Sox, Tigers, Lilly

Links for Saturday evening..

  • The Cubs signed second-round selection Reggie Golden for a bonus of $720K, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America.  Golden, the 65th overall pick in the draft, received a bonus $157K more than MLB's recommendation for his draft position.
  • Scouts from the Astros, Tigers, Rays, Red Sox, and Pirates were all in attendance at Phillies-Rockies today, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN.
  • During FOX's telecast of Mets-Dodgers, Ken Rosenthal reported that the Phillies have scratched Double-A starter J.C. Ramirez from his Sunday start, though he is not injured.  The move, he says, could be an indication that a trade is in the works.
  • White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen thinks clubs are asking for too much in trade talks, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Tigers manager Jim Leyland wants to hang on to his young talent unless the club can get something special in return, writes Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Despite some recent reports to the contrary, Cubs officials told Carrie Muskat of MLB.com that there is nothing imminent regarding Ted Lilly.
  • The Mets are "near-certain" to non-tender John Maine this winter, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.  The right-hander underwent season-ending surgery on his right shoulder yesterday.
  • It's unlikely that the M's move Jason Vargas, a Seattle official told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).