Various reports from various sources say various things about what will become of John Maine and his role on the Mets when he is indeed ready to begin pitching again.
Most sources seem to agree that Jerry has said that Maine is going to start and that he is not a bullpen candidate. Then things get dicey.
Surely the newly Midas-ian Jerry will not upset the Met rotation to re-admit John Maine to this exclusive international club of success.
Despite his clearly diminished velocity, Johan is still a talented and gutsy pitcher and a born leader who will remain our number one, at least until we acquire Cliff Lee or Roy Harvey Oswalt or someone worthy of being at least a co-number one with the hard-working Venezuelan warrior.
Big Pelf appears to have recovered from the dreaded Verducci Virus, and his last two subpar starts notwithstanding, he has been excellent overall and is our number two until the hoped-for trade happens.
Jon Niese has finally begun to live up to the potential which we all hoped would be realizedâ€”a hard-throwing big lefty with great breaking stuff and no fear? Niese is going nowhere, unless maybe Pujols or King Felix or Lincecum become available.
R. A. Dickey? What can be said? This writer among others railed at Omar for acquiring the guy, whose pre-Met career stats make Nelson Figueroa look like the mid-60s Sandy Koufax. But Dickey has apparently mastered his knuckler, loves working with Warthen, has a wonderfully unflappable veteran demeanor, and quite clearly will not be removed from this rotation unless and until he backslides and once again becomes the pre-2010 Dickey. Right now, that seems very unlikely.
And Takahashi. He completes the tri-continental rotation we have amassed. A successful pitcher on the biggest stages Japanese baseball has to offer, he also seems to be a wily veteran who, unlike John Maine, can get people out without a 95-mph heater. Sure, he would help the bullpen. Seaver and Koosman probably would have too, but no sane manager takes a good starter out of a successful rotation and puts him in the pen. Yes, Smoltz and Eckersley are the exceptions, but they were being used as closers; not 7th or 8th inning guys as Taka would be in our pen. This also isnâ€™t going to happen, we should hope.
So where does this leave John Maine?
It says here that Jerry has been trying to tell us that Maine indeed is a starter—and will be one in Buffalo. This makes all the sense in the world.
John Maine came here as a little-known, inexpensive extra piece in a trade from Baltimore, and from 2006â€”2008 was a wonderful addition. He threw hard, was modest, and just went out and gave his all and for the most part was pretty successful. It looked as though he was one of the leagueâ€™s more promising young starters. Injuries have unfortunately erased that reality, at least for the foreseeable future.
Maine has never had pinpoint control, lacks excellent secondary pitches, is injury-prone, and also has a questionable mental makeup. Our good friend and valued commenter Hazmet (great name or what?) brought to our attention the fact that Maine apparently said that his pitch count in his rehab start was high due to the umpire. Hmmm, maybe his velocity was down because the ump was heavily exhaling towards the pitcherâ€™s mound as Johnâ€™s fastball was bearing down on home plate?
Alas, Maine has become this kind of guy. Excuses, excuses, excuses. Sick in spring training. Not ever injured. High pitch count due to the umps.
The move is clearly to send Maine to Buffalo, put him in the rotation, and just let him try to learn how to pitch without a 95 mph fastball. Apparently Maine is not in Ollieâ€™s situation, so the team can send him down without getting his approval. Maine can try to work hard on his control. He can stress strengthening his arm to hopefully avoid future injuries. And most of all, he can hopefully learn a new pitch or two, and use his experience and savvy to become a craftier pitcher who does not need to rely on mid-90s heat.
We cannot be sure that Dickey and Taka will continue as they have been going, and whether or not we acquire the big game at the trade deadline, a refreshed, refurbished John Maine could be a serious boon to the staff come later in the year, should one of our staff regress, or should we see an injury.
Jerry, Dan, and Omar, our three trusted Wise Men, who have done so very much right since the end of 2009, should again make the right move and send Mr. Maine down to AAA, which might indeed give him the time and guidance, away from the pressure cooker of NY baseball, which he needs to revive his clearly flagging career.
Yes, we all should Remember the Maine for his tremendous contributions in 2006-2008, and hopefully we will again see him on a mound in a Met uni.
It says here that the road to Queens, despite most mapsâ€™ disagreements, clearly goes through Buffalo.