John Maine Rumors
John Maine started the second game of the season for the Mets, but he hit the disabled list with shoulder weakness following 39.2 innings of 6.13 ERA, 1.82 WHIP ball. He is currently on a rehab assignment and is close to returning to the team, but manager Jerry Manuel seemed to indicate that there was no spot for Maine during today's pre-game press conference.
"I won't take [Hisanori Takahashi] out of rotation," said Manuel. "I don't see [Maine] as a candidate for the bullpen." Both quotes come courtesy of SNY's Kevin Burkhardt (Twitter links). David Lennon of Newsday believes the team may opt to simply designate Maine for assignment once his rehab clock expires (Twitter link).
Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, and Jonathon Niese front the Amazin's rotation, while Takahashi and R.A. Dickey have been holding down the back end during the last few weeks. Takahashi has a 3.15 ERA in six starts, while Dickey has been even better, posting a 2.82 ERA in his six starts.
Maine's velocity has been down noticeably since his string of shoulder issues began in 2008, and he simply hasn't been effective since. He is owned just a touch under $2MM for the remainder of the season, but also has one more year of team control ahead of him.
- Heath Bell told Ephraim Fischbein of New York Baseball Digest that he's happy in San Diego, but would like to return to the Mets if the Padres decide to go in a different direction.
- Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News (via Twitter) applauds the Giants' signings of Juan Uribe and Aubrey Huff, who cost the club roughly $3MM each.
- Mark Tracy is excited to be a part of the Rockies along with his father, manager Jim Tracy, writes MLB.com's Thomas Harding. Colorado selected the skipper's son in the 22nd round of the 2010 Draft.
- Contrary to a report late last night, the Angels and Red Sox did not agree to a swap of Gary Matthews Jr. and Mike Lowell over the winter, a major league source told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
- David Lennon of Newsday (via Twitter) writes that it's an 80% possibility that the Mets non-tender John Maine after this season.
- ESPN's Buster Olney says that the Indians are likely to move some veterans in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline, but they could be a dangerous team to face until then because of Fausto Carmona, Justin Masterson, and Jake Westbrook (Insider req'd).
- MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch says to expect negotiations between the Pirates and their top draft picks Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie to go right down to the August 16th signing deadline.
- The Pirates had a long debate about who to take with the second overall pick in last week's draft according to Chuck Finder of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and it wasn't until last weekend that they decided on Jameson over Manny Machado.
- Meanwhile Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says the Pirates won't rush their top prospects. Once those prospects are promoted to the big league team, their minor league roster spots will be filled by players currently on ML roster (after they're optioned down) or by "signing low-cost, minor league free agents."
- Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer doesn't see the Indians offering anyone but Shin-Soo Choo a multi-year deal, including the resurgent Austin Kearns.
- Newsday's David Lennon thinks it might make sense for the Mets to "consider opening extension talks" with catcher Rod Barajas before the season ends and he hits the free agent market.
Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes that the Mets are unlikely to make any moves for pitching via trade or free agency, and specifically adds that the Mets are not interested in Jarrod Washburn.
If it seems a bit early for such discussions, that is largely due to the travails of John Maine, whose fastball velocity is way down, while his ERA is way up. After allowing seven earned runs in three innings last night, Maine faces a do-or-die start on Sunday night against the Cardinals, according to Newsday's David Lennon.
Another reason for New York's reluctance to reach outside the organization is a lack of attractive external options, though should the team climb into contention, a partial-season deal with Pedro Martinez could be considered.
Some New York news and notes courtesy of Newsday's Ken Davidoff..
- Davidoff's understanding is that the Mets' offer to Joel Pineiro was very similar to the Angels' offer of two-years, $16MM. While it would be natural to assume that the free agent hurler preferred the stability of the Halos franchise to the Metropolitans, he writes that he doesn't know that for certain.
- The Mets would definitely like to sign John Smoltz, though it would cause a logjam of starting pitchers. Davidoff suggests that the team could move John Maine in order to create space for him.
- Speaking of Smoltz, Davidoff hears that the Yankees were interested in the 42-year-old prior to landing Javier Vazquez.
- As we've heard elsewhere, the Bombers are looking for one more outfielder and are considering right-handers Xavier Nady and Rocco Baldelli.
The Mets have avoided arbitration with righty John Maine, reports MLB.com's Anthony DiComo. The AP (via SI.com) says that Maine will receive a $3.3MM base salary in 2010, with an extra $225K in performance bonuses (hat tip to MetsBlog.com)
Maine, 28, earned $2.6MM in 2009, though he only managed to make 15 starts because of a shoulder issue. He's posted a 4.01 ERA in four seasons in Queens after coming over from Baltimore in trade for Kris Benson following the 2006 season.
9:36am: Haudricourt says not to put much stock into this rumor, since the Mets are looking to add pitching. SI's Jon Heyman wonders if Hart-Maine could happen if the Mets sign Randy Wolf first. Of course, both clubs are after Wolf.
6:58am: Tom Haudricourt adds that it's important to remember that there are countless deals discussed at the Winter Meetings that never go anywhere; hearing a rumor like this doesn't mean we should immediately expect it to happen. However, Haudricourt also lends credibility to the rumor by pointing out Maine's connection to new Brewers pitching coach Rick Peterson.
1:55am: Joel Sherman provides us with a new rumor, stating that he's learned the Mets and Brewers are discussing a swap of John Maine and Corey Hart. He adds that the Mets are also discussing Kevin Millwood with the Rangers.
Maine and Hart both had down years in 2009, as Maine found himself limited to just 81.1 innings due to injury, while Hart posted a line of .260/.335/.418 and watched his slugging percentage continue to trend downward for the second straight season.
Both players will be arbitration eligible for the second time this season. Maine made $2.6MM last year while Hart earned $3.25MM.
The Brewers would likely welcome the chance to add an arm, though Maine's injuries the past two seasons have to be a red flag. In a similar vein, while Hart has shown in the past that he can be the power-hitting, right-handed corner outfielder the Mets want, his .418 slugging percentage and 12 HR in 2009 are a long way removed from his 24 HR and .539 slugging percentage of 2007.
6:39am: Matthew Cerrone at MetsBlog relays some info from Jon Heyman's appearance on WNBC in New York. Heyman agrees with Sherman that the Mets could look to spread their available funds around before turning to a big-name free agent.
6:27am: While the Mets plan to look at Matt Holliday and Jason Bay, and have high hopes that John Lackey's price will come down enough to entice him to accept a four-year offer, they also realize that's an unlikely scenario and are exploring other avenues. They're currently intrigued by Royals righty Gil Meche, according to Joel Sherman.
Meche has two years and $24MM left on his contract, which includes a limited no-trade clause. As we heard earlier tonight, the Royals are working to trim payroll in order to address some needs within their lineup. While Meche (when healthy) is an important part of their rotation, the $24MM owed to him could be better spent improving multiple areas of the team, especially in this economy.
Sherman says the Mets may explore moving Luis Castillo as part of a Meche deal, possibly taking back another bad contract such as Kyle Farnsworth or Juan Cruz if necessary. If it were to happen, Castillo's .387 OBP alone would be of benefit to a Royals team that was starved for OBP last season, posting a team mark of .318, tied for third-worst in baseball.
The Mets are concerned, however, about adding another injury risk to a rotation that already features such question marks as John Maine, Mike Pelfrey, and Oliver Perez. However, most free agent options lack elite talent and/or strong durability.
Meche seems like a solid target for the Mets, provided he's healthy. What sort of offers do you see being proposed by Omar Minaya?
The latest on the New York Mets:
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears that the Mets will definitely offer arbitration-eligible pitcher John Maine a contract.
- As Ben Shpigel of the New York Times points out, the Mets won't have to make concessions to Bengie Molina, even though he is one of the more appealing catchers available.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker reports that the Mets asked to see the results of Hideki Matsui's physical. I guess this means they'd consider letting him play the outfield.
The incomparable Marty Noble answers many of the fan inquiries with his usual mixture of information and wit. Among other ideas, he considers:
- Just what would it take, hypothetically, to bring Adrian Gonzalez to Queens? Noble believes a package of John Maine, Fernando Martinez and Ike Davis "and perhaps more would be one to consider seriously."
- Noble likes Joel Pineiro more than Jason Marquis, adding that "I know the Mets are interested in [Bengie] Molina."
- He says that while Mark DeRosa wouldn't be a top priority, "If they can't bring back Alex Cora, DeRosa would an even better fit."
- He counters a fan's proposal to trade "Jose Reyes, Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez and Omir Santos to the Angels for Erick Aybar, Gary Matthews Jr., Ervin Santana and Jeff Mathis" with one of his own: "How about Perez for the rights to Albie Pearson?" Pearson was the 1958 AL Rookie of the Year, of course.
Some links on this Monday evening...
- The Giants have hired Hensley "Bam Bam" Meulens as their hitting coach, writes Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Meulens - who previously held the same position with San Francisco's Triple-A affiliate - recorded an OPS of .641 in his Major League career.
- MLB.com's Chris Haft brings us a look at Bam Bam's resume. Meulens was the only candidate manager Bruce Bochy spoke to before he and GM Brian Sabean made their choice, writes Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News.
- In a radio interview this morning on WGN-AM 720, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said that he wants the Cubs' payroll to remain in the top three in baseball. Signing John Grabow to a new deal would help towards that goal.
- MLB.com's Mets beat writer Marty Noble answered fan questions in his latest mailbag installment and says that he is not sure that the club wants to rid themselves of John Maine or Fernando Martinez. However, the Mets would be willing to part with them in a deal to acquire a much needed number two starter or power hitter.
- More Mets news from Noble as Jeff Francoeur is expected to be ready in time for spring training after undergoing thumb surgery. Francoeur, who is entering his second year of arbitration, will likely be retained by Omar Minaya & Co. However, it remains a slight possibility that the Mets do not tender the 25-year-old an offer.