As we all know the Mets have 4 starting pitchers “penciled” into the rotation. Johan Santana followed by John Maine, Oliver Perez and Mike Pelfrey in some order.Â Ideally headed into this season we would have been able to pencil in Jon Niese as the #5 but his hamstring injury last year has set him back a bit. From speaking to some of the beatwriters it appears that while Niese is “coming along fine” the Mets are operating under the assumption he may be a month or so behind “ready for opening day” status.
The Mets also have the issue of Fernando Nieve who showed flashes of why he was once a top prospect in the Astros system but is out of options and thus would be subjected to waivers should he not make the Mets. Nieve would likely be claimed so Omar Minaya’s proclamation a few weeks ago that Nieve was the early favorite for the 5th spot shouldn’t have caught people by surprise as it did. The Mets also signed 34 year old soft-tosser Hisanori Takahashi to a minor league deal with guaranteed money if he makes the team who will likely be given a chance to compete for the #5 spot but another option remains available and his name is Yunieski/Yuniesky Maya.Â Maya is a 28 year old righty from Cuba waiting to be cleared so he can sign with a MLB team. Maya is NOT the top of prospect fellow countryman Aroldis Chapman is and is unlikely to see money close to what Chapman got. That said… “Who is Maya?”
- 5’11/6 feet tall
- FB 88-92
-Curve, Slider, Change
-Considered more of an “El Duque” aka smart pitcher than a guy with “great” stuff
-Pitched well in the WBC posting a 1.23 era in 7 1/3 innings
You can see video of Maya pitching here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50QsmRL0VY8)
The upside/downside to Maya really comes down to $$$ and how much he wants. The Red Sox reportedly are hot for him but his agent has inferred he 100% prefers to start and would like to sign with a team that he will have that opportunity. If the Mets can sign him to a deal which allows them to start him in the minors to get acclimated to this country and deal with the roster numbers crunch as well as the fact they can skip the #5 to open the year I think it would be a smart move. That said Cuban players traditionally haven’t fared as well as the hype so expecting him to be something he is not is not going to be very fruitful.