Mets Merized Online » John Maine Mon, 23 Jan 2017 20:48:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The 10 Worst Mets Pitching Staffs Since 1980 Fri, 06 Dec 2013 02:39:09 +0000 bret saberhagen_display_image

Since we’ve already covered the 10 best and worst offenses since 1980, and the 10 best pitching staffs since 1980, it’s only fitting that we take a look at the 10 worst pitching staffs since 1980.  While the mid-to-late 80s and into the early 90s were the renaissance of Mets pitching, all of the bottom 10 performances have been after 1992.

Ten Most Runs Allowed Since 1980

1)    1996 – 779 runs – 4.81/game

2)    2009 – 757 runs – 4.67/game

3)    2003 – 754 runs – 4.68/game

4)    1994 – 754 runs* – 4.65/game

5)    2007 – 750 runs – 4.63/game

6)    1993 – 744 runs – 4.59/game

7)    2011 – 742 runs – 4.58/game

8)    2000 – 738 runs – 4.56/game

9)    2006 – 731 runs – 4.51/game

10)   2004 – 731 runs – 4.51/game

*The 1994 season was cut short by the player strike.  The Mets only played 113 games, allowing 526 runs.  Over a 162 game schedule, this is prorated to 754 runs.

Right after the eight year stretch of 1985-1992 which saw 7 of the 10 best 10 pitching squads since the 80s, the following 4 years immediately thereafter saw 3 of the worst 4.  The National League championship squad was among the bottom 10, but that team was also among the top 10 in runs scored.

So who were the starting rotations on these bottom 10 squads? (the top 5 starters in terms of games started are listed – in 1993/1994, two pitchers were tied in the #5 spot).  Before passing any blanket judgments on these rotations for being in the bottom 10 - let’s remember that after the 80s we saw the rise of the middle relief pitcher where the bullpen began eating up more innings (and along with it, middle relievers that may not have been in the major leagues in years past).  This top 10 list is comprised of the collective staffs of the teams that allowed the most runs.

1993 – Dwight Gooden, Frank Tanana, Eric Hillman, Bret Saberhagen, Sid Fernandez/Pete Schourek

1994 – Bret Saberhagen, Bobby Jones, Pete Smith, Mike Remlinger, Jason Jacome/Mauro Gozzo

1996 – Mark Clark, Bobby Jones, Pete Harnisch, Jason Isringhausen, Paul Wilson

2000 – Mike Hampton, Al Leiter, Glendon Rusch, Rick Reed, Bobby Jones

2003 – Steve Trachsel, Jae Weong Seo, Tom Glavine, Al Leiter, Aaron Heilman

2004 – Tom Glavine, Steve Trachsel, Al Leiter, Jae Weong Seo, Matt Ginter

2006 – Tom Glavine, Steve Trachsel, Pedro Martinez, Orlando Hernandez, John Maine

2007 – Tom Glavine, John Maine, Oliver Perez, Orlando Hernandez, Mike Pelfrey

2009 – Mike Pelfrey, Johan Santana, Livan Hernandez, Tim Redding, John Maine

2011 – R.A. Dickey, Mike Pelfrey, Chris Capuano, Dillon Gee, Jon Niese

Presented By Diehards

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The 2010 Mets: Where Are They Now? Thu, 29 Aug 2013 23:58:53 +0000 jose-reyes-mets-2012

If you are a Mets fan, you know that David Wright is still with team, or that Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran are in Toronto and St. Louis, respectively. But what happened to guys like Nick Evans or Rod Barajas? We have the answers.

11 Players who made it into a game in 2010 with the Mets, are still employed by the team. That would be the aforementioned David Wright, Ike Davis, Ruben Tejada (Although he is currently with Triple-A Las Vegas, he is still on the Mets payroll), Lucas Duda, Justin Turner, Jon Niese, Pedro Feliciano (Although he made another stop in the Bronx, he is with the Mets once again), Bobby Parnell, Dillon Gee, Johan Santana, and Jenrry Mejia.

10 players are employed by another Major League team. That would be Jose Reyes, Angel Pagan, Beltran, Josh Thole, Henry Blanco, Joaquin Arias, Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey, Francisco Rodriguez, and Oliver Perez.

MLB: SEP 22 Mets v Marlins

As you may know, Jose Reyes was traded from the Miami Marlins to the Toronto Blue Jays this past offseason in a blockbuster deal involving Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, and now former Met, John Buck. Reyes now puts on his uniform in the same locker room as R.A. Dickey and Josh Thole, who were traded together this past offseason from the Mets for Travis d’Arnaud, Buck, and Noah Syndergaard (don’t forget Wuilmer Beccera!). Angel Pagan was traded to the San Francisco Giants prior to the 2012 season for outfielder Andres Torres and pitcher Ramon Ramirez who have both since played again for the team they were traded from.

Carlos Beltran was traded at the deadline in 2011 to the Giants for Zack Wheeler, but has since made his home in St. Louis playing for the Cardinals, where he has enjoyed a couple of very nice seasons, including an All Star appearance this summer. Henry Blanco, who served as the Mets backup catcher in 2010, beat out Josh Thole for the same position on this year’s Toronto Blue Jays team, but was released and then signed by the Seattle Mariners who made the corresponding move by releasing 2012 Met alumni, Kelly Shoppach. Blanco played in Arizona for the Diamondbacks in 2011 and 2012.

Joaquin Arias, of whom the Mets received for Jeff Francoeur late in the 2010 season, played for the Kansas City Royals in 2011, and was then given a championship ring after serving as Pablo Sandoval‘s ninth inning defensive replacement in 2012 for the San Francisco Giants. He has been a key hitter off the bench for the Giants in 2013. Mike Pelfrey, after failing to play a month in the 2012 season, was signed by the Minnesota Twins, where his 5-10 record and 5.06 ERA is good enough to keep him in the starting rotation.

Francisco Rodriguez was traded to the Brewers in 2011 for Daniel Herrera (yes the 5-6 guy) and a minor leaguer, but was traded to the Baltimore Orioles at the deadline this year, downgrading from a closer to a setup man. Finally, Oliver Perez signed a two-year deal with the Seattle Mariners in 2012 and is proving to be an effective arm out of their bullpen. You would think that Perez’s ERA of 9.72 with Henry Blanco behind the plate would be the highest among catchers who have caught the Mexican native, but no. That award goes to Josh Thole, who provides Ollie with a sparkling 16.20 ERA.

Eight players are in the minor leagues with another organization. They are Mike Nickeas, Mike Hessman, Luis Hernandez, Mike Jacobs, Nick Evans, Hisanori Takahashi, Fernando Nieve, and Pat Misch.

Mike Nickeas, who was in the same deal that sent R.A. Dickey north of the border, is currently with the Blue Jays Triple-A team, the Buffalo Bisons, a team Nickeas has played for many times when they were the Mets affiliate. Nickeas has failed to make the Majors this season, playing 55 games in Buffalo. Mike Hessman, who is seven home runs shy of 400 for his minor league career and one shy of 15 for his Major League career, is currently a member of the Louisville Bats, the Triple-A team of the Cincinnati Reds, where he is teammates with base stealing extraordinaire, Billy Hamilton. Hessman played in Japan in 2011 for the Orix Buffaloes, and was with the Astros Triple A team in 2012.

Luis Hernandez, who played all of 17 games for the Mets, is with the Indians Triple-A team, after playing in the Texas Rangers organization in 2012. Nick Evans is the only 2010 Met alumni playing in Double-A. Evans, who is a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks affiliated Mobile Baybears, was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 2012. Mike Jacobs was the placeholder at first base until Ike Davis came up in 2010 but he is now with the Diamondbacks Triple-A team. Jacobs also stopped in Colorado Springs, Toronto, and Mexico. Hisanori Takahashi, who has 12 games started and 21 games finished as a Met, has played in the Majors with the Angels, Pirates, and Cubs. He is now a member of the Colorado Rockies Triple-A team. Fernando Nieve hasn’t played in the Majors since 2010, but he has played with the Astros, Dodgers, Indians, and currently the Athletics, all in Triple-A. Finally, Pat MIsch has seen time with the Phillies and Tigers Triple-A teams.

Five players are not currently with a Major League organization. The names are Jeff Francoeur, Rod Barajas, Jason Bay, John Maine, and Sean Green.

Francoeur was traded to the Rangers for Joaquin Arias in August of 2010. He spent the rest of the year there. Frenchy played in Kansas City during 2011 and 2012, but was released midway through the 2013 season. The Giants picked him up, where he played 22 games. Francouer was designated for assignment of August 20th, and released two days later. Barajas played with the Pirates in 2011 and 2012, before being signed by the Diamondbacks. He ultimately lost the bid to be Miguel Montero‘s backup, as the DBacks went with Wil Nieves instead.

Jason Bay, who was released after the 2012 season much to the delight of Mets fans, was signed by the Mariners for the 2013 season. He hit a home run in his first spring training at bat, but after a disapointing season, was released of August 6th to make room for Mike Morse. John Maine spent 2011 in the Colorado Rockies minor league system, and pitched for the Scranton/Wilkes-Bare Yankees for all of 2012. He played for the Miami Marlins in April of this year, but was released on April 22. The sidearmer, Sean Green pitched with the Brewers in 2011, before playing with the Texas Rangers’ Triple A team in 2012. He also pitched with the Somerset Patriots in 2012 of the Independent Leagues but has not found a team since.

Six players have officially retired. They are Luis Castillo, Alex Cora, Fernando Tatis, Gary Matthews Jr., Frank Catalanotto, and Tobi Stoner.

Luis Castillo was released by the Mets at the same time they released Oliver Perez. Castillo signed a minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, but after a disappointing spring training, he was released, at which time he retired. Alex Cora was released by the Mets in August of 2010, and he played the rest of the year with the Rangers. He played with the Washington Nationals in 2011, and was signed by the Cardinals in the spring of 2012, which didn’t work out. He is now a baseball analyst for ESPN (his brother Joey does the same work for MLB Network). Fernando Tatis was injured of July 4th of 2010. He was placed on the DL the next day and was transferred to the 60-day DL 10 days later. That turned out to be his last major league game as he retired after the season.

The “Son of the Sarge”, Gary Matthews Jr., was released by the Mets on June 15th, 2010. He signed with the Reds on June 24th and played the rest of the year with their Triple-A team, before retiring. Frank Catalanotto was designated for assignment of May 10th, when the Mets brought up Chris Carter. After failing to sign with another team, he retired in March of 2011. Finally, the German-born Tobi Stoner was released by the Mets in March of 2012. During that season, he played in the Independent Leagues with the Bridgeport Blue Fish and the Somerset Patriots. He retired before the 2013 season.

manny acosta

Four players are currently playing in foreign countries. Chris Carter, Manny Acosta, and Ryota Igarashi are playing in Japan, and Jesus Feliciano is playing in Mexico.

Carter (no not the former A’s prospect) played in the Tampa Bay Rays and Atlanta Braves Minor League system in 2011 before moving to Japan to play with the Seibu Lions in 2012 and 2013. Carter is 3-26 (.115) with three RBI in nine games this year. He is teammates with Kazuhisa Ishii. Manny Acosta pitched for the Mets through 2012 but signed with the Yomuri Giants in 2013 after being released. In 14 games he has an ERA of 5.54. His teammates include former major leaguers Scott Mathieson and John Bowker.

Ryota Igarashi played with the Mets until 2011. He then played in the minor leagues with the Yankees and the Blue Jays in 2012 though he pitched in the majors with both teams. He is now pitching with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks where he sports a 2.15 ERA in 36 games. He is teammates with with Vicente Padilla and former Mets minor leaguer Wily Mo Pena. Jesus Feliciano, who has signed with the Mets four different times in his career, played in all of his 54 career games with the Mets in 2010. He played with the Buffalo Bisons in 2011, the Durham Bulls in 2012, and he is now playing in Mexico with the Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz. He has only played in three games with one hit.

One player is currently a coach. Elmer Dessens is the assistant pitching coach for the AZL Reds in the Arizona League (The Arizona equivalent to Florida’s Gulf Coast League). And here’s a fun piece of information. The manager of that AZL Reds team is former Met, Eli Marrero who the Mets received in 2006 when they traded Kazuo Matsui to the Rockies.

Well, now you know what happened to the 2010 Mets. Next week we’ll look at the players from Citi Field’s inaugural year, 2009.


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Wheeler And The Mets Get Shell Shocked In 13-2 Loss To The Nats Sun, 30 Jun 2013 21:17:56 +0000 mets630

WheelerYeah…This was such a joke of a game that I insinuated in the shout box that I didn’t even think it deserved a recap. But it happened — and what’s done is done. Zack Wheeler, our touted prospect, took the mound against the Nationals for his Citi Field debut and it was rocky, to say the least. Wheeler looked to be making an effort to throw more pitches over the plate, although his strike:ball ratio (54:35) didn’t particularly show it. Unfortunately for him, he was knocked around for five earned runs and failed to finish the fifth inning, where he was lifted in favor of David Aardsma.

Two of his five runs came the hard way, as Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth each took the young man deep for a solo home run. The other three runs crossed the plate in the third inning off a combination of hits and a walk. Wheeler struck out five, and his velocity was slightly down at times — which I really hope was not a result of some adjustment Warthen had him make due to his “tipping pitches.” That being said, I really hoped my John Maine comparison was a one-game thing, and not the norm…

There are going to be games like this for Wheeler — and there will likely be games where he dominates too. The question is how frequently we’ll see the dominant Wheeler in comparison to the one that struggled today. Three major league starts does not define a career, however.

There were little bright spots to speak of in this game regardless, however, as Brandon Lyon made an effort to ensure that another top Mets prospect wouldn’t get a win. After Aardsma and Josh Edgin pitched us into the seventh without allowing anymore damage, Lyon was obliterated for six earned runs — although one of them scored as an inherited runner when Scott Rice allowed a base hit. Fan favorite Anthony Recker allowed a two-run home run in the ninth, but got the next three outs easily.

The Mets had a few chances to score in this game, but failed to come through until the ninth, when John Buck ripped a two-run home run. Too little, too late…

Shaun Marcum looks to build on his first win when the Mets take on the Arizona Diamondbacks tomorrow evening.

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Wheeler Skipped His Bullpen On Thursday, Working To Prevent Tipping His Pitches Fri, 28 Jun 2013 13:24:47 +0000 zack wheeler 2

Zack Wheeler did not throw his bullpen session on Thursday and instead spent the day working with Dan Warthen on altering his delivery so as not to tip his pitches as he was during his start against the White Sox.

Regarding the changes they are looking to make, Warthen told ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin:

“Open up his glove, keep it at the waist — kind of what we’ve done with [Jeremy] Hefner, kind of what [Adam] Wainwright does,” the pitching coach said. “Basically you open the glove, put your hand in there, instead of putting the ball in the glove. Then you can go ahead and rectify the situation pretty easily.”

Apparently, Wheeler was unaware that he had been tipping his pitches until during the game when the team tried to address it on the fly.

“I don’t think it was that big of a deal,” Wheeler said. “We’re going to change it up a little bit and try some new things.”

Wheeler is expected to throw his bullpen session today at Citi Field and will make his Mets home debut on Sunday when he will oppose Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals.

“Obviously it’s the home park back in New York,” Wheeler said. “But it’s just going to be another game.”

Original Post 6/27

The Associated Press reported on what Terry Collins had to say before Wednesday’s game to reporters regarding Zack Wheeler tipping his pitches:

New York Mets manager Terry Collins said top prospect Zack Wheeler is tipping his breaking pitches. Collins said in his pregame media session Wednesday the Mets noticed the flaw in Wheeler’s motion during his second big league start a night earlier. Wheeler allowed four runs in 5 1-3 innings against the Chicago White Sox.

“We saw it. We tried to address it during the game a little bit,” Collins said.

The 23-year-old right-hander is scheduled to start again Sunday, and Collins says pitching coach Dan Warthen will work with Wheeler during a bullpen session Thursday.

“Guys look for it all the time. It starts with the glove,” said Collins. “Moving the glove there’s different things to look for and then all of sudden you start to look when he speeds up, when he slows down, what the pitches are. You start to get a read on it.”

“This is going to get out as a scouting report, but he’s been tipping his off-speed stuff more than his fastball,” Collins said. “We’ve got to fix it. We’ll fix it tomorrow.”

Collins said he’s talking publicly about it because the problem was so obvious he received about 10 text messages and emails alerting him to the issue. Collins said Wheeler was also tipping his pitches in his debut, when he tossed six shutout innings.

It seems like every couple weeks or so, a new mechanical issue surfaces with Zack Wheeler. I wouldn’t mind this as much if I trusted Dan Warthen at all. Wheeler’s young and has some kinks to work out in his game — but the ace-like fastball and breaking pitches are as good as advertised. Wheeler noticeably threw more breaking balls in his start against the White Sox than in Atlanta, which worked to his disadvantage in many ways. If Warthen can teach him anything, it’s “location, location, location…” and of course, the age-old adage about not tipping your pitches if you want to have a successful MLB career.

Watching Wheeler a couple nights ago led me to make a comparison to John Maine — remember him? Maine struggled with his pitch count in some games not only because of his inability to locate in tight spots, but he labored through innings with a high rate of foul balls. Similarly to Wheeler, Maine also had a fastball with great life up in the strike zone and an easy pitching motion.

The weirdest thing about my comparison? John Maine also had a stint of tipping his pitches at one point. Go figure…

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Johan Santana A Hero? No, No, No Sat, 09 Mar 2013 16:46:41 +0000 johan-santana no-hitter

A pair of Chicago Cubs centerfielders, Jimmy Qualls (1969) and Joe Wallis (1975), stole two of Tom Seaver’s early bids for a no-hitter. One year after being traded from New York to Cincinnati, Seaver threw a no-hitter for the Reds. Nolan Ryan never pitched a no-hitter – as a New York Met – but after being traded to the California Angels in 1971 he nudged Mets fans every couple years, throwing seven no-hitters.

“Every time he pitched you expected a no-hitter – or 15 strikeouts,” said Jay Horwitz, Mets VP/Public Relations, referring to Dwight Gooden.

In May 1996, Gooden tossed the only no-hitter of his career – as a member of the New York Yankees. Even Duffy Dyer had to leave the New York Mets to catch his first no-hitter (John Candelaria, Pittsburgh, 1975), 11 years before Josh Thole was born.

Four years later, in 2000, amidst a slow start and turmoil over comments Mets manager Bobby Valentine made during a speech at Penn’s Wharton School of Business, Mets ace Al Leiter attempted to lighten the mood. “I think I’m going to have to throw a no-hitter today to get the back page in New York with all the stuff going on,” he said. Starting against the Pittsburgh Pirates on the road, Leiter surrendered a second-inning lead-off home run to Wil Cordero, crushing the hopes and promise of the first-ever Mets no-hitter.

John Maine was on the brink, again, in 2007, until Florida Marlins catcher light-hitting catcher Paul Hoover reached on an infield single with two outs in the eighth inning. Maine settled for a one-hit, complete game shutout but, again, hopes of a no-hitter were dashed.

There were other close calls before, after and in between those chronicled here, but you get the idea. The New York Mets avoided no-hitters for a half-century. It was baffling at times. How could the pitching-rich Mets not have a no-hitter?

Seaver, Ryan, Gooden, Leiter, Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, Craig Swan, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, David Cone, Mike Hampton, Bret Saberhagen, Frank Viola, Bob Ojeda, Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine; over 50 years of baseball the stars never aligned, not for a single summer’s night, for Steve Trachsel, George Stone, Rick Reed, Bobby Jones, Orlando Hernandez, Dave Mlicki, Pete Harnisch, Pete Falcone or Pat Zachry? No, no and no. Game after game, season after season the Mets were denied.

To blunt the pain and frustration, Mets fans turned the no-hit quest into a punchline. On any given night during the season a Mets fan could grab their smartphone, tap the Twitter icon and wait for [insert pitcher’s name here] to give up the first hit of the game which, inevitably, led to a tweet along the lines of:

Well, not tonight #Mets fans. That’s 7,952 games without a no-hitter.

So, on June 1, 2012, when Johan Santana became the first pitcher in Mets team history to throw a no-hitter, fans celebrated. I celebrated. In fact, the New York Daily News and New York Post back pages hang on my office wall. It was a big deal. But that’s where the road forks for me and many Mets fans.

Last week, amidst controversy over Santana’s health, Mets blogger Ted Berg tweeted:

Johan Santana returned from career-threatening surgery and pitched the first Mets no-hitter. He could show up 300 lbs. and he’d still be my hero.

Thirty-five people re-tweeted the post. I am not sure if the reaction was a symbol of support or fans just wanted to share his message with the baseball world. Either way, I disagree. Yes, I was amazed by Santana’s drive to come back and perform like the two-time Cy Young Award winner he once was with the Minnesota Twins. No, Santana should not be labeled a hero for one game.

SNY’s Chris Carlin dished out a portion of these stats on Twitter, to which another Mets fan replied:

Fair, for first no-hitter in Mets history.

Fair? Really? This is a sad – and misguided – statement.

When the Mets traded six players for Santana in 2008 they also agreed to sign him to a six-year, $101.5 million contract. Since then, he’s made 109 regular season starts, winning 46 games. He’s earned over $900,000/start in New York, or, $2.2 million per win. He missed all of the 2011 season and one-half of the 2012 season (because of the wear and tear he put on his arm pitching the no-hitter).

Remember the day you heard the news that the Mets had finally acquired Santana from the Twins? I do. Expectations were high. After the crushing collapse at the end of the 2007 season, Santana symbolized a renewed hope that 2008 would be different. Of course, it wasn’t. The point is: Santana was going to help the Mets win; a division, a league championship, maybe a World Series. You did believe that, then, right?

Hypothetically, would you give back the no-hitter if the Mets could have had a healthy Johan Santana in July, August and September? I would. I am of the mindset that winning baseball games, not pitching no-hitters or breaking records, is the goal. I am most happy when the Mets are winning. It doesn’t matter how, but if the Mets win.

Let’s face it, Santana’s not coming back after the 2013 season (if he’s not traded earlier). Over five seasons in New York he’s been closer to a disappointment than hero. Call me naive, but I expected more than one no-hitter from Santana, but thanks for the memory (singular).

Read more of my thoughts on baseball at

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Ramblings About Success And Some Reminiscing Sun, 01 Apr 2012 15:53:39 +0000 Every team has to have a number of components in order to brew a culture of winning and unity that is found in most legitimate contenders. The token ace, power bat, golden glove, and bullpen leader are a given, but just because you follow the directions of a paint by numbers doesn’t mean it will be a masterpiece. Realistically there are more cogs in the machine than we could imagine and it takes a perfect storm to mold a successful season. Calm down I am not attempting to rationalize that the Metropolitans are floating about while the puzzle pieces are falling together. However the club is capable of taking legitimate steps forward, or at least making an effort to rebuild a culture that has been M.I.A. for many moons.

The fact of the matter is, Jose Reyes was the superstar who possessed all the ideal points of a lovable glue guy (noun: middle of the pack talent who has the ability to electrify the crowd with a solid showing; player who goes above and beyond his expected effort output; gamer who develops a touch of extra personality in order to hold on to some semblance of excitement or because he likes having a dirty uniform). It was a beautiful thing to witness a legitimate franchise player hold onto his child-like love for the game, but Jose’s departure leaves a massive hole in the personality of this franchise. Personally, I don’t see a David Wright or an elderly Johan Santana hopping around the dugout and hyping everyone up.

Yes, this is a rebuilding year for the Mets. Yes, they will probably embarrass themselves. However there are a number of young guys like Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada, and Lucas Duda who will likely be around after the Mets’ makeover. I wouldn’t be upset if Justin Turner or even a Bobby Parnell made it through the scourge. Granted it is important to focus on improving their game, but heading into this season I want to see them mesh and get a little goofy. Notice I didn’t even mention Wheeler, Harvey, or Familia? I only hear great things and I am excited to see how they perform when they get the call up, but that conversation is for another day. The point I am trying to get across is that I truly believe the birth of this new culture must be the first step in the rebuilding campaign. Try and personify the current organization, management and players, as soon to be parents baby-proofing the house, setting up the crib, hanging up some colorful wallpaper, and buying stuffed animals in bulk. The baby can’t appreciate it at the moment but when the time finally comes to give birth (moves have been made, poor contracts are expired, etc) the child will walk into the perfect setting. I don’t want to see these three pitching prospects finally make it to the big show only to see a depressed and hopeless squad with no real excitement.

In a perfect world the current roster can somehow breed a sense of unity and smoothness regardless of their record. David Wright looks like a swell guy when he whips out that smile but I would kill to watch Duda and Tejada grabbing at each other as they try to will a warning tracker out of the park. More importantly who will be the official creator of handshakes?!?! Call me immature or crazy but I crave genuine camaraderie and I truly believe these young “glue guys” need to get a bit more glue in their system.

Who knows? The only thing for certain is that we simply don’t know which rung of the NL East totem pole will be inhabited by the Metsies. The debate continues whether or not the stars will align or if the Mets will lay claim to last place from day one, but it will certainly be interesting to see how those on the roster will react to the state of affairs. In the meantime, let’s look at a couple guys we grew to love/hate in no particular order, and check in on where they are now.

Oliver Perez – I don’t really know how to start explaining my love affair with Ollie. On paper he was an absolute bum who rarely even sniffed his own potential while with the Mets. On the other hand, I know that the crowd developed an uncanny sense of impending greatness the few times he really brought his “stuff” to the mound. Ollie haters can go ahead and claim that it was just the reaction of absolute shock that the stiff finally pulled it together. Perhaps I am biased since I proudly rocked a sombrero as a member of Ollie’s Tamales whenever I could attend  one of his starts, but deep down we all know that high leg kick just seemed to charge the stadium up. Plus, those studly sideburns certainly didn’t hurt the cause. Sadly enough, even I can only reminisce about the good Ollie so much before questioning my own sanity. Terrible contract, even worse performance, but what happened after we all turned our backs on Mr. Perez? After the Mets released Perez in March of 2011 he was assigned to a minor league deal by the Washington Nationals. Unfortunately it took another relegation to Double A before Ollie was able to put of respectable numbers. Alas, the Nats were still not impressed and eventually released my main man. The saga of Ollie still has a heartbeat as he just recently received an invitation to spring training in the big show with the Mariners, although he didn’t make the opening day roster.

John Maine – Johny Maine was basically a one and a half pitch wonder who managed to kill it while healthy in his first couple season with the Mets from 2006-2007. Unfortunately we were forced to witness a gradual and constant decline in numbers and physical deterioration. Dan Warthen was quoted as saying that Maine had a habit of lying about his health, and became a free agent after missing most of the 2010 season following shoulder surgery. Next stop was Colorado, but a change of scenery did not improve the situation as he only pitched 45 innings and posted a 7.43 ERA in Triple-A. Retirement suddenly became an option, but Maine’s career is currently back on life support after signing a minor league contract a month ago. Realistically you have to be pessimistic about his career and it doesn’t like we will see John Maine command the mound ever again.

Endy Chavez – The man, the myth, the legend. Endy will forever hold a special place in my heart after “the catch” in 2006 and another temporary season saving grab in the last regular season game in 2008. He was a fan favorite during his three years with the Mets and a real quality defensive replacement. Good times were had, but Endy was eventually traded to Seattle where he tore the ACL in his right knee while colliding with Yuniesky Betancourt. After free-agency, the next stop was Texas where he hit a very solid .301 in 256 at bats last season. The 34 year old lefty still has some juice in the tank, and is expected to platoon in left field for the Baltimore Orioles this upcoming season.

Jeff Francoeur – You either love or you hate Frenchy. The Braves gave up on the former first round pick after an unacceptably long slump, and the Mets got their hands on the streaky outfielder with a cannon for an arm in exchange for Ryan Church. He had a decent single season for the Met but also famously hit into a game-ending unassisted triple play. Francoeur was benched the next season to make room for Carlos Beltran and traded to the Rangers for an irrelevant Joaquín Árias. In the end, he signed a one-year deal with the Royals, joined the 20 20 club for the first time in 2011, and then signed a hefty two-year $13.5 million dollar extension. Personally, I enjoyed watching Frenchy play in 2009 and that trademark grin makes it obvious he absolutely loves the game.

Ramon Castro – If I were a betting man I would say Ramon came out of the womb with the jowls of a bulldog. He was a lovable guy throughout his four and a half years with the Mets, and had a fairly reliable bat for a backup catcher behind the likes of Mike Piazza, Paul Lo Duca, and Brian Schneider. Fans were always hoping Castro would be given the reigns whenever the starting job opened up but he was never really given a shot. After the Mets he ended up with the White Sox. His claim to fame is catching Mark Buehrle’s perfect game in July of 2009. It was the first time he caught for Buehrle, who claimed that he didn’t shake off Castro a single time during the game. The guy is 35 and technically the third string catcher but Castro fans will probably get a couple more sightings as he should be healthy heading into spring training.

Lastings Milledge – The kid made his major league debut for the Mets at 21 years and 55 days old in, the same exact age of the great Darryl Strawberry, in 2006. He didn’t do anything too impressive until hitting his first career knocker against San Fran closer Armando Benitez in the bottom of the tenth inning to tie the game up at six a piece. Usually you love seeing a youngin’ get excited about making a huge hit, but the media and his teammates were pretty darn pissed when he gave fans a high five as he returned to the field to play some defense. The next year Milledge found himself shuffling in between the majors and AAA, was chastised for appearing in a rap video with some wrist-slap worthy language, and was subsequently traded to the Nationals for Ryan Church and Brian Schneider. To make a long story short, Lastings spent the next three seasons constantly recovering from injuries while putting up mediocre numbers for the Nationals and Pirates. Unfortunately it looked like the saga of this once promising Metsie was winding down after Pittsburgh chose not to offer him a new contract. The bad news continued as he barely even sniffed the big show after being signed to a minor league contract by the White Sox in 2011. You have to give the guy credit though as he recently signed a one year contract with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. Clearly the hype wasn’t warranted but I simply can’t root against my ex-Mets. Go Swallows baby!

Whew. It’s always nice to reminisce, but this sad group of gentlemen didn’t fair very well after leaving Queens, considering Frenchy is really the only guy who is doing more than simply chugging along. Hope you guys enjoyed it and if there is a demand I’d be more than happy to put together another recap of ex-Mets and where the road has taken them…Carlos Gomez, Alex Cora, Pedro Feliciano, Xavier Nady pop into mind. I’m new to the twitter game so hit me up @HisDudenessOfNY with any requests or if you just want to tell me how much I suck/rock.

Always a pleasure MMO nation. Until next time..

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A Look At “Unbreakable” Records: Johnny Vander Meer’s Consecutive No-Hitters. Fri, 25 Nov 2011 13:15:08 +0000

After a pitcher holds opposing teams hitless for nine innings, what is the biggest storyline that the media plays up in that pitcher’s next start? They ask that question that everyone thinks: can he do it again? Well, no one has done it since Johnny Vander Meer did so in June 1938 for the Cincinnati Reds. He had some bright spots in his 13-year MLB career, but not all of his stats are very eye-popping. He finished his career with a 119-121 record, 3.44 ERA, and 1,294 strikeouts in 2,104.3 innings.

However, getting batters to swing and miss was his specialty. Only Vander Meer, Tim Lincecum, Randy Johnson, and Warren Spahn have led the league in strikeouts three years in a row since 1940. Why is it so hard for a pitcher to throw two no-hitters in a row? Come on; it’s hard enough to fool hitters for a 1-2-3 inning, let alone for nine innings in a row. Also, I think that pitchers always think about continuing their dominance that they had previously in their next start. Most of the time, that type of dominance only happens once or twice in a lifetime, so it’s pretty tough to do that in consecutive appearances, especially when you consciously try to do it.

If you read my post about Nolan Ryan’s 7 career no-hitters, you can see how often no-hitters have taken place in MLB history. There have been only 26 pitchers in Major League Baseball that have been able to no-hit opposing teams on multiple occasions, with Justin Verlander, Roy Halladay, and Mark Buehrle being the only active players.

Why won’t this record be broken, you ask? Well, that’s easy. To break Johnny Vander Meer’s mark, a pitcher would have to throw no-hitters in three consecutive starts; I’ll only believe that this would ever happen if I saw a pitcher throw two in a row. Until then, I’m convinced that we will never see perfection like Johnny Vander Meer’s in 1938 ever again.

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When Will Dan Warthen And The Mets Part Ways? Thu, 21 Apr 2011 13:00:07 +0000 I know it’s only April, we’re less than 20 games into a very long 2011 season, but so far the pitching has been bad. Actually bad is an understatement, the pitching from the entire staff has been downright awful! There is no way to sugarcoat it, the team as of this writing is currently 5-13, the worst record in the majors. Now the offense is not producing the way it should, I’ll give the pitching staff that – but the limited offense has given the pitchers many leads only to see the staff later blow said leads.

As of this writing there have been 18 games played. In those games Mets pitching has currently walked 79 batters, 4 of which were intentional walks in just 160 innings pitched. The staff ERA is 5.25 and their WHIP is 1.62 this season. Already the staff has given up 20 home-runs as well.

The Mets walk too many batters and those walks almost always come back to haunt the team. It’s interesting that this season as of this writing, R.A Dickey has walked 12 batters in just 4 games.  None of those walks are intentional walks. Last year Dickey in 27 games walked just 42 batters. Now it’s also interesting to note that Dickey spent a good part of last year at Triple A, not working with Dan Warthen. Could it be coincidence? Absolutely, but the entire staff is having trouble throwing strikes. Another case would be Dillon Gee. Gee this past weekend had a great outing, he threw strikes. Overall he looked more composed than some of our starters out there. Once again he hasn’t worked with Warthen much at all.

Equally if not more so troubling than the walks is the injuries our pitchers have had under Warthen over the years. The starting staff over the last few seasons have battled injuries with Warthen as the pitching coach. There were reports in 2009 that Santana was skipping side sessions dealing with his elbow injury and Warthen did not know about that. I find that unacceptable. Santana is the ACE of the staff and he’s paid a lot of money to pitch but the pitching coach, whose job it is to know the health of his pitchers was not aware of the situation.

The pitchers under Warthen have also regressed. Look at Pelfrey and his struggles. Also Maine and Perez were coming along fine until the firing of Rick Peterson and the promotion of Dan Warthen.

Warthen also has a problem of talking to the media and saying things he shouldn’t. Let’s not forget last year and the fiasco with him calling John Maine a “habitual liar.” In Spring Training Warthen told the media and the rest of baseball that he believes Mejia would be a reliever instead of a top of the rotation starter. Not only did he go against what the team plans but he could have killed any potential value Mejia may have one day if the Mets wanted to trade him.

I was surprised that Warthen kept his job, though I guess I shouldn’t be with this GM and manager. Hopefully soon the Mets will realize that Warthen is doing more harm than good for the staff and part ways with him.

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Should the Mets Give John Maine Another Chance? Sat, 29 Jan 2011 02:45:01 +0000 Before i go on with the post, i want to apologize for not posting a lot this week.  I am currently recovering from a severe case of strep throat, so it hasn’t been a good week for me. 

John Maine was one of the Mets top starters heading into 2010, behind Johan, and Mike Pelfrey.  But, during the middle of the season, John Maine started having issues.  Not just with injuries, but with Jerry Manuel.  Remember the argument between Jerry and John about the decision of being pulled from a game? After one pitch!

After the incident, John Maine would eventually end up being placed on the 15 day disabled list, never come back, and then was non-tendered in December, presumably ending his tenure with the Mets. 

Should we give John Maine one more chance?  The Mets are going to need at least another starter or two for insurance in case newbies Chris Young or Chris Capuano go down with an injury for an extended period of time.  If Maine can prove to the Mets that he is healthy, and is throwing like the old John Maine, then I think the Mets should consider giving him another shot. Why not? 

John Maine was on his way to being a productive player until the injuries derailed him. 

He is now showcasing his arm for some teams and a few of them liked what they saw and are very interested including the Phillies.

Sandy Alderson recently said the he was “pretty much done” with acquisitions, so maybe this is now a non-issue, but I’m thinking it might be worth a second look.

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The Maine Thing To Remember Is… Thu, 02 Dec 2010 19:18:55 +0000

MAINE: Waving good-bye?

Many thought it at the time, that when John Maine left that game in Washington after only five pitches that he was also leaving the Mets.

It sure appears that way as they aren’t likely to tender a contract to Maine by today’s midnight deadline. They’ll tender Mike Pelfrey, RA Dickey, Angel Pagan, and possibly Sean Green, but Maine is a longshot.

Maine came to the Mets in the Kris Benson deal as a throw-in, but emerged into a viable, productive pitcher. He won 15 games in 2007, but injuries, a weak shoulder and sometimes his attitude helped sabotage him. Maine never regained the form that brought optimism he might develop into something special.

I don’t think the Mets did him any favors last spring and he was poorly handled by Jerry Manuel and Dan Warthen, but Maine also didn’t bring much to the table the past two seasons.

A team weak in pitching, the Mets could attempt to bring him back at a reduced rate, but with the pitching market so thin, he’s liable to test the waters to see what’s out there. There’s no reason why he’d want to stay here anyway.

At one time, Maine represented potential and good things to the Mets – remember that game against the Marlins? – but now he personifies part of what went wrong. He represents unrealized dreams.

Of course, so does Oliver Perez, but the Mets are on the hook to him for $12 million and they have no other choice but to give it one more chance. With Maine, at a much lower figure, why bother?

As far as Dickey is concerned, the Mets will tender him and then work on an extension. They’ll probably want to see if last year was a fluke before giving him a multi-year contract.

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Mets Need To Make More Changes Tue, 19 Oct 2010 11:00:03 +0000 The Mets make 2 important changes by firing Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel.  Not much has happened since.  As the Mets take their sweet time looking for a general manager there are still a lot more changes that need to be made.

1) The Ballpark: Citi Field is just too big! I know we’ve been saying that for the last 2 seasons but the Wilpons refuse to bring in the fences.  All you look at what happened to David Wright in his the first season at Citi Field.  His power numbers were down and the last 2 seasons his strikeouts have been on the rise.  Wright’s power at Shea was to the right center.  Citi Field’s right center is about 45-50 feet deeper than Shea’s and it has affected Wright negatively.  Some called it a fluke but then look at Jason Bay’s horrific first season.  The park took away his power. Citi Field without a doubt robbed Bay realistically of 5 homeruns and probably more.  The great fence of Flushing needs to go down too while we’re at it.  It’s time to admit the size of this park was a mistake and change it.

2) Coaching Staff: The entire coaching staff needs to go.  Howard Johnson has been a horrible hitting coach.  The situational hitting since Hojo took over has been non-existent.  It seems like Hojo would rather be their friends than a coach.  I get it he’s an 86 Met and the Wilpons are reluctant to fire him.  The Mets should just give Hojo a job with a nice title and a good payday and let him go away.  Dan Warthen also needs to go.  I know the pitching was better than expected this season but I don’t like all the injuries to our pitchers under his reign as pitching coach.  I didn’t like that in 2009 he didn’t know about Johan’s latest injury and he didn’t know that Santana was skipping side sessions.  I also didn’t like him calling Maine a habitual liar to the press. That’s just something you don’t say.  Razor Shines just needs to go.  Chip Hale seems to be a decent to good coach but at the same time Ron Darling mentioned many times throughout the season that Hale had been working with Wright and changing his defense.  Wright’s defense this year was pretty bad. He committed 20 errors and at times was slow in turning a double play.

3) The 3 Poisons (Carlos Beltran, Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo): Once the Mets finally do hire a general manager that GM (Alderson) must find a way to get these three off this team! Castillo is done, he can’t hit and he has absolutely no range at 2nd base.  Castillo brings nothing to the New York Mets, time to cut ties with him. Oliver Perez should not be on this team, he has done nothing for the Mets since signing that contract.  Perez cares more about himself than the team as he repeatedly refused to go to the minor leagues.  He didn’t win 1 game in 2010!  If you look at the way the Mets played before the all-star break and after the break there’s a huge difference.  Carlos Beltran decided to finally grace the team with his presence and was supposed to be the spark for this team but unfortunately did nothing other than make outs at the plate and miss balls hit to center on defense. Beltran refused to move over to right field to allow the better player Angle Pagan to play center and help the team.  Let’s not forget that these guys also refused to go visit wounded soldiers with the rest of their team.  These guys are not team players, they’re hurting this team and it’s time to get rid of them.

The new GM when he/she is finally hired has a lot of work to do and a lot changes to make.  Without these changes we can expect another losing season.

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Add Mike Nickeas To Mets September Callups Thu, 02 Sep 2010 04:20:21 +0000 The Mets have added minor league catcher Mike Nickeas to the major-league roster.

The third September call-up will join the Mets here on Thursday. His name is Mike Nickeas. He is a 27-year-old catcher who began the year in Double A.

To make room for Nickeas on the 40-man roster, the team transferred John Maine to the 60-day disabled list. Maine underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in July.

He is likely to be non-tendered at season’s end.

Nickeas will provide some insurance for starter Josh Thole and backup Henry Blanco. He was batting .279 with Binghamton and Buffalo this season.

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Does A Healthy Johan Mean The Mets Don’t Need Another Top Starter? Mon, 23 Aug 2010 20:01:13 +0000 I just read a new post from Ted Berg on his blog Ted Quarters. Basically Ted says that he cares more about Johan Santana being right than Santana’s wins and losses.

All I know is that, in a season when the Mets’ wins and losses don’t really matter a hell of a lot anymore, I care a lot more about seeing Santana right, striking out lots of batters and dominating opponents, than I do about his win-loss record. 

Sure, it’d be nice if the Mets could win some more games, but a strong finish for Santana could help convince everyone that landing a No. 1 starting pitcher doesn’t have to be the No. 1 priority this offseason.

I don’t agree entirely with Ted’s take, but I will agree that it’s good to see Johan Santana looking more and more like the pitcher he was before the elbow surgery (although not entirely, at least not yet).

Baseball has always been about wins and losses, and if Johan is being out-dueled or coming out on the short end of too many 2-1  and 1-0 games, blaming the offense is the simplistic way of looking at it.

But another way of looking at it is that Johan is normally facing off against another team’s ace who just happened to do a better job of shutting down a team than Johan did. Sometimes you just have to pitch a little bit better than the other team’s ace to nail down a win for your team. Sometimes you have to tip your hat to the other pitcher, to borrow a phrase from Rod Darling.

As for K/9 and K/BB rates, all those fancy pitching stats and metrics look great on paper and are fantastic for putting together a solid fantasy baseball team. A team’s wins and losses don’t matter in fantasy baseball, but wins and losses are the end-all in real baseball. It would have been nice to see Johan actually beat Roy Halladay, or Josh Johnson, or C.C. Sabathia, or Tim Hudson, or Yovani Gallardo. There’s no shame in any team’s offense being shut down by those guys – Mets included. 

As for not making a top of the rotation starter a top priority in the offseason, bad idea. Very bad idea. Terrible idea.

Lets not fall into the same trap that has clouded the judgment of many Mets fans for almost five years now.

We needed another top of the rotation starter to pair with Tom Glavine in 2007.

We needed a top of the rotation starter to pair with Johan Santana even more in 2008 if only to put the epic collapse of ’07 behind us. To believe that Oliver Perez or John Maine were those guys was a colossal blunder.

We still needed a top of the rotation starter to pair with Johan Santana in 2009. The notion that Mike Pelfrey was “that” guy was absolutely flawed and delusional thinking.

We desperately needed a top of the rotation starter in 2010 because 4/5 of the rotation was coming back from offseason surgeries or huge step backwards. Even Jeff Wilpon and Omar Minaya admitted as much in November of ’09, but that now appeared to be a ploy to sell more season ticket packages.

So what’s the prevailing theory now? That Jon Niese and Mike Pelfrey will somehow be top of the rotation starters in 2011? Really?

Johan Santana will be 32 years old next Opening Day and will have logged 200 more  innings on that twice operated on left elbow. To quote Detective Harry Callahan, “You feelin’ lucky, punk?”

It’s too premature to believe that Jon Niese will be a top of the rotation starter in 2011. That king of wishful thinking is what got the Mets in trouble in past years.

Mike Pelfrey may never be consistent enough to be anything more than a 3-4 type starter. His stuff is simply not overpowering enough and when he tries to be a fastball pitcher, he’s at his worst.

With the rest of the competition in the NL East getting stronger and better, how can you even consider the notion that the Mets stand pat again this offseason rather than bolstering the rotation with a solid starter?

Sorry, but that just doesn’t make any sense to me.

Like all Mets fans, I’m glad that Johan Santana is getting his groove back, but even when Johan was on top of his game, the Mets still needed another starter to pair with him. So what’s changed?

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Will A Trade Make Sense This Year For The Mets? Tue, 27 Jul 2010 11:00:02 +0000 In 2007, 2008 and now in 2010 the Mets needed to upgrade their team during the season by making a trade.  In 2007 the Mets needed to add a starter to the rotation.  They did not add a starting pitcher and wound up having an epic collapse.  The Mets didn’t end making trade as Omar would go onto say “nothing really made sense.”  The 2008 New York Mets desperately needed an arm in the bullpen, especially when Billy Wagner went down with an elbow injury and would have to have season ending surgery.  Once again with his team needing a trade Omar said he worked the phones but “nothing really made sense.”  In 2009 the Mets needed a whole new team after all the injuries, you cannot blame Omar and the Mets for not making a deal there.  That brings us to 2010 and once again the Mets find themselves needing to make in season upgrade to have any chance of success.

The Mets need a starting pitcher.  John Maine had surgery and is gone and Oliver Perez has been banished to the bullpen to lose games for the team.  R.A. Dickey has been a nice surprise and has filled a rotation spot.  Takahasi when he first came into the rotation did an excellent job.  Unfortunately the league has been able to make adjustments to him and the third time through the lineup is pretty much like batting practice against him.  I’m not blaming Takahasi, he was brought here to be a long relief pitcher and he has excelled in that role.  The bullpen is weaker without him, there’s no doubt about that.  That’s another reason why the Mets need a starting pitcher.

Cliff Lee and Dan Haren would’ve been a great upgrade for this team.  I understand the reasoning in not trading for Cliff Lee since he will be a free agent next year.  Trading Ike Davis to Seattle would’ve been the wrong move.  Maybe in 5 years from now we’ll say it was a mistake or we’ll say it was one of the best non-moves Omar did in his tenure as the General Manager of the Mets.  Unfortunately not trading for Dan Haren is I believe a mistake.  I realize that Haren with his ERA of 4.60 and his 7 wins and 8 loses is not having a great season but he’s a good pitcher.  Haren is owed 33 million dollars and is under contract for another 2 years with an option for an additional 3rd year.  Instead of getting on the phone and trying to make a trade, Omar let Haren go to Anaheim.  The Angels robbed the Diamondbacks blind in that trade.  The Mets farm system is pretty strong, there had to be a couple of players that Omar could’ve sent to Arizona for Haren such as Mejia, Flores, etc…

Omar has been a horrible GM in general but especially with trades.  Just look at his track record.  The Mets need a pitcher, be it Millwood or Ted Lilly.  Hopefully it will not be Gil Meche.  Hopefully there will be a trade that will make sense; if not then this is going to be a long second half.

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John Maine Out For Season After Shoulder Surgery Sat, 24 Jul 2010 19:01:44 +0000

Andy Martino of the Daily News is reporting that John Maine underwent arthroscopic surgery to clean out scar tissue from his right shoulder, and will miss the remainder of this season.

John Maine had arthroscopic surgery yesterday to clean scar tissue in his right shoulder. Out for season.

Maine was last seen pitching in a game against the Nationals on May 20. In that game, he was removed by Jerry Manuel after making just five pitches.

Despite saying that he was okay and having harsh words for both Dan Warthen and Manuel, he was placed on the disabled list two days later. Pitching coach Dan Warthen later said Maine was in denial, calling him a “habitual liar” regarding his shoulder being okay.

Maine finishes the season with a 1-3 record and a 6.12 ERA in 39 2/3 innings over nine starts.

He will surely be non-tendered after the season, so this probably ends his career as a Met, a career that began with such promise, but ended with a rash of poor performances and a few unfortunate injuries.

Update from Adam Rubin:

A little side note to this is that the surgery was performed by Dr. Michael Ciccotti in Philadelphia, near where Maine’s agent, Rex Gary, is based, rather than by doctors from the organization’s Manhattan-based Hospital for Special Surgery.

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Why Mets Should Be Buyers AND Sellers at the Deadline Wed, 21 Jul 2010 01:11:51 +0000 Even when the Mets sputtered into the All-Star break, the most skeptical of fans had to admit that this team still had a chance at either a division crown or a wild-card spot.

While the offense might have been inconsistent, the bullpen not always reliable, and the manager a strategic misfit, the Mets still boasted some brilliant starting pitching, the resurgence of Wright and Reyes, and the most spunk, heart and personality we had seen in years. If they weren’t quite as talented as the 2006 or 2007 teams, they were certainly better than the 2004 team that the front office misguidedly saw as a contender and forced that regrettable trade-deadline deal with Scott Kazmir.

With the current team still in the post-season discussion, the question the last few weeks has been what kind of starting pitcher or relief help does Omar shoot for before the deadline. Well, here’s the reality: If Jose Reyes continues to show he can break down at the drop of a bunt, Jason Bay provides no signs he will return to Red Sox form, K-Rod always a late-inning accident waiting to happen, and Mike Pelfrey reverting to his former psychological mess, no deadline deal will give this team a chance at meaningful October baseball.

But in spite of all those obvious problems, which may never abate, we still shouldn’t throw in the towel on this season, especially since the team can’t be eliminated from the race on July 31. If Omar can bring in a Ted Lilly or a Jake Westbrook and an Octavio Dotel (or reasonable facsimile) without trading top tier prospects, he should do it. However, he also should be pro-active and consider dealing guys on the current major league roster who might bring back some valuable pieces to build on for next season. It’s time for Omar Minaya to really get creative and make the Mets buyers AND sellers.


Here’s a list of six players Omar should consider moving who could bring back some building blocks without necessarily ending the team’s chances to win a wild-card this season.

1. Oliver Perez: I admit this is going to be a tough road to hoe. Who really wants a guy who gives head cases a bad name? Well, I would trade our problem child in Perez for the Cubs’ drama king Carlos Zambrano in a heartbeat. The Cubs want to unload the hot head and his hefty contract and they’d get salary relief even if they took back Perez’s contract. Zambrano still has upside if he gets a change of scenery and could help next year, if not this one.

2. Luis Castillo: I admit I’m not up on which contenders need a second baseman right now, but if there is one out there, I’d send them Luis for a prospect and eat some of his money in the process. Classic addition by subtraction.

3. Rod Barajas: His early season slugging helped the team get taken seriously in the race and he’s great in the clubhouse (although I think his backstopping prowess is overrated), but he’s completely collapsed offensively (he had plenty of holes to begin with) and at his age there is no future for him on this team. Did anyone ever think he was anything more than a stop-gap to begin with? The Mets have been floundering in the catching department since Piazza was done and the time has come to either develop Josh Thole or trade for a young catcher to build around. Thole and Blanco are more than adequate to get the job done for the rest of this year.

4. John Maine: I don’t know what we can get for him at this point, especially since he won’t be able to establish that he’s overcome his problems by the deadline. But given his mound demeanor, lack of command and poor secondary pitches, I’d get him out of here for a bag of balls.

5. Pedro Feliciano: Yes, I agree he has been abused by Jerry, but this guy couldn’t get a good right handed hitter out if his life depended on it and is probably one of the most overrated relief pitchers in the game. Yet he would still have tons of value to a division contender in a pennant race as a situational lefty. Honestly, would Takahashi or Pat Misch in the lefty relief role really be much of a downgrade, if any? Move Pedro now, get a mid-level prospect or two and give the job to one of those guys.

At this point, we pause because you’re probably thinking that number six on the list is going to be Jeff Francoeur. Well, we can’t really trade Frenchy. One, even if a team felt he had some value as a stopgap to replace an injured player, I don’t think that we can get much for him. Two, we would need him to play right field the rest of this year because the sixth player we should move is:

6. CARLOS BELTRAN: You heard me right. This is the scenario I’d been hoping for since Beltran’s operation; that he would come back before the trade deadline and get enough at bats to show teams he still had something in the tank. You want a pitcher to slot in behind Johan or a big time catching prospect or a future closer, then this is the guy who has to go. I’ve always respected Beltran’s talent but his passion has always been lacking and he hasn’t exactly provided inspiration since his return. He could be one hard slide into second base away from a career-ending injury. But do you think the Yankees would take him to play centerfield? In a heartbeat. How about Jesus Montero and that second base prospect Adams? How about moving Beltran to one of those contenders in the NL West, especially the Padres and Giants who desperately need a bat and have pitching chips to trade?

The Mets were as many as 9-11 games over .500 when Beltran was out. Let’s not screw around with Angel Pagan, keep him in centerfield, muddle along with Frenchy in right until the end of the year, and bring in a significant young player or pitcher for Beltran. Not to mention getting out from under the last year of that contract so we might be able to actually sign a GOOD free agent next year.

Omar, it’s time to think out of the box or you’ll be thinking on the unemployment line in October.

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John Maine Will Be Shutdown Wed, 23 Jun 2010 21:46:49 +0000

According to Andy Martino of the Daily News via Twitter, John Maine received the second opinion on his shoulder today and it was confirmed there is no structural damage.

He does have fairly serious shoulder tendinitis and he’s gonna have to shut it down for awhile.

The Mets also released a statement saying that Maine, Omar Minaya, Jerry Manuel and Dan Warthen will sit down soon to ‘develop a plan going forward.’

Last week several sources reported that the Mets could release Maine and designate him for assignment, and a few days ago Jerry Manuel jokingly told reporters that his plan was to pitch Maine on off days.

It’s no secret that Hisanori Takahashi and R.A. Dickey, who pitches tonight, have excelled in his place… I just don’t see anyone in a real rush to bring Maine back, so who knows what kind of stuff these guys are hatching…

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I Hate To Bring This Up, But….. Wed, 23 Jun 2010 17:24:20 +0000 This is one of those posts that may incite a riot, but I’ll knock wood, and cross my fingers and toes when I say what I have to say…..that the Mets have had no serious injuries yet this season to key players.  We won’t count Carlos Beltran, who had surgery back in January, or Jose Reyes, who began the year on the DL but joined the team shortly after.  And we certainly won’t count underachievers like John Maine or Oliver Perez, whose injuries have sort of been a blessing.  Heck, you could say that about Beltran’s injury an the emergence of Angel Pagan.  Or Daniel Murphy giving way to Ike Davis.  And having Luis Castillo on the DL hasn’t exactly been horrible.

But what I’m getting at is this….we haven’t had injuries to key players like David Wright, Jason Bay, Davis, Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, Pedro Feliciano, or K-Rod…or to any of our catchers.  Last year, it was like we were legitimately cursed with the injury bug. So with the core of the Mets in the lineup and on the mound each day and each week, and with the team playing just about as well as it’s capable, second place and 1.5 games out on June 23 doesn’t seem so ridiculous.

And seriously, after last year, we were due for some better luck both with injuries and with the performances of our regulars.  Now, if the tides turn and David Wright rolls his ankle running the bases tonight, I’ll take the heat that’s coming to me.  But I think we’re in for a wild (and hopefully successful) run toward the playoffs this season.

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John Maine The New Tenant Of The Doghouse Wed, 23 Jun 2010 02:00:00 +0000 It looks like John Maine’s career with the New York Mets and perhaps in baseball is close to coming to an end.  The last 2 seasons have been a disaster for the pitcher.  I have defended him many times on this site and others.  I don’t exactly know why but I’ve always had a bit of soft spot for Maine.

Maine is a guy who always wants to pitch no matter what.  Maine expects a lot of himself and wants to contribute.  We’ve seen in the past that he is more than willing to go out and pitch when he’s hurt.  Maine is the opposite of Oliver Perez in that he wants to help the team.  Maine’s also the opposite of Carlos Beltran as he wants to play through the pain.  Unfortunately the desire to play through any pain is not enough to play in this league and shouldn’t be.  In that case you and I would be making more than most players.

Maine endeared himself to many Mets fans including myself in the 2006 playoffs. 2007 was a great year for him, especially the last start of the season for him in which he took a no hitter deep into the game against the Marlins.  2008 Maine needed to be shut down and ultimately had surgery.  Maine didn’t come back from the surgery as everyone hoped as he had to be shut down again for a good part of 2009.  Of course this year has been dreadful; just look at his numbers: 6.13 ERA, 25 Walks and his fastball doesn’t reach 90.

It wouldn’t surprise me in the next week or so we hear that John Maine has been designated for assignment.  To me what has sealed Maine’s fate is Jerry Manuel. Maine like Ryan Church and Ramon Castro before him is in Jerry’s Doghouse. Last month Jerry said to the writers that perhaps Maine would be better if he decided to pitch left handed.  It was a cheap shot from the manager.  Jerry this past weekend took another cheap-shot at Maine by saying that he would only pitch Maine on off days.  Of course the writers and everyone else just laughed.  The Teflon manager slides by as usual.  I bet if another manger had said that there would be a different reaction but since as Jon Heyman said to me in a tweet regarding Jerry Manuel:

SI_JonHeyman @gregpomes not good for a quote. GREAT for a quote.”

Maine has been awful, I don’t want him in the rotation and the Mets wouldn’t be wrong if they get rid of him.  I didn’t like kicking Maine while he’s already down. We’ve seen Warthen attack Maine on air and I just can’t help but feel a little sorry for him.  A Jerry had to say was that “we are not going to take Takahashi out of the rotation and right now we don’t have a spot for John Maine.”   There was no reason to make jokes at Maine’s expense.  Really shows what kind of a guy Jerry Manuel is.  Perhaps being released by the Mets will be a good thing for Maine. He’ll go to a team with a good pitching coach and a better manager that perhaps can fix him. Whatever happens, I wish John Maine well and I honestly hope he can turn his career around.

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Maine Closing In On Return To Mets Mon, 14 Jun 2010 14:02:04 +0000

In a rehab start for Double-A Binghamton yesterday, John Maine pitched four scoreless innings allowing just one hit and two walks, while striking out five.

According to Anthony Coleman of the Trenton Times, Maine’s velocity topped out at 88 mph. Maine didn’t seem too concerned.

“I don’t really worry about velocity. It’s just looking at swings, seeing how they react. It was OK, I guess.”

However, according to Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger,

Mets manager Jerry Manuel indicated that he would need to see an increase in Maine’s fastball velocity before he could move him into the rotation. Manuel hoped for something between 90-92.

McCullough explains why velocity is so important in Maine’s case.

Maine’s arsenal, however, relies on his fastball. Even with his velocity decreasing, he has thrown the pitch 74-percent of the time this year, according to pitch data from Baseball Info Solution. Back in 2007 and 2008, when his average fastball clocked in at 92, he used it 62.9 percent and 71.8 percent. His two secondary pitches, changeup and slider, rely on the fastball.

The Mets placed Maine on the DL with “weakness” in his right shoulder, after he started the season 1-3, with a 6.13 earned run average. The team must activate Maine a maximum of 30 days after he begins a rehab assignment.

Maine is scheduled to pitch in Buffalo on Friday, before being activated.

I don’t see him bumping Niese, Dickey or even Takahashi out of the rotation right now, but he could bump Iggy out of the bullpen and back to the minors.

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Mets Have Trade Bait Tue, 08 Jun 2010 11:00:39 +0000 Omar Minaya became the General Manager at the end of the 2004 season.  Since then the Mets have mostly been quiet when it comes to the trade deadline.  Except for 2006, when Duaner Sanchez went for a cab ride, injured his shoulder, forcing Omar to make a trade with the Pirates for Oliver Perez (thanks a lot Duaner!) and Roberto Hernandez the trade deadline always comes and goes for the Mets.  This year looks like it will be different.

The Mets need another pitcher for the starting rotation; there is no doubt about that.  It looks like if/when John Maine returns from the DL he’s going to be placed in the pen. Oliver Perez has lost his locker as he is now on the DL and who knows when we’ll see him again.  Takahashi did a great job but it looks like the league is starting to catch up to him, especially the 3rd time facing the lineup.  That’s not a knock on him; if you look at his numbers the opposing team hit him better after the 5th inning.  He excelled when he was in the pen as the long man and if you really think about it the bullpen has suffered a bit since he went into the rotation.

There are 3 pitchers that will be available: Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee and Kevin Millwood.  If you paid attention closely this season you can see the Mets have been busy building trade chips.  Once Daniel Murphy got injured and Ike Davis became the 1st baseman the Mets decided they were going to make him a jack of all trades.  Murphy is a natural 3rd baseman and he played a decent 1st base last year.  The Mets also were going to have Murphy work on playing both the outfield and 2nd base in the minors.  Unfortunately for the Mets Murphy was the victim of a cheap slide last week in Triple A and is out for the season.

The Mets over the weekend cut ties with Garry Matthews Jr.  They also put 2nd baseman Luis Castillo on the DL.  They called up Ruben Tejada from Triple A and the plan is for Tejada to get most of the playing time while in the majors.  Just to remind you guys Tejada made the team out of camp and was very impressive in the field but his bat needed work.  Tejada went down, worked hard and improved his offense.  He had some good hits over the weekend.  What some may not know is that the Mets have another 2nd baseman in the minors who is tearing it up and is projected to be the future 2nd baseman of the team, Reese Havens.  I’ve read online over the last few weeks that he could be ready for 2011.  The Mets don’t need 2 futures at 2nd base and I think that the Mets are showcasing Tejada to trade him at the deadline.

As of this writing there is speculation that the Mets are going to call up 31 year old outfielder Jesus Feliciano.  Feliciano is a career minor leaguer who has never really gotten a chance.  As he has gotten older he has dominated Triple A pitching.  He has been hitting close to .400 this year in Buffalo.  The Mets do plan on Carlos Beltran coming back and Angel Pagan has more than earned his spot on this roster, so once Beltran comes back they won’t need an outfielder.  If I had to guess I’m guessing that like Tejada Feliciano is trade bait.

The Mets need pitching and if these guys are packaged in a trade for a pitcher then so be it.  Now I would guess F-Mart and perhaps another minor leaguer will have to be part of a package for Cliff Lee.  Lee would be great to have on this team.  This guy wants to stick it to the Phillies.  If it wasn’t for him it’s a good chance the Phillies would have been swept by the Yankees in the World Series.  He has proved that he can pitch in New York and think of a front 3 with Santana, Pelfrey and Lee.  Add Dickey and Niese into the equation and you have a pretty formidable rotation.  I know that he will be a one year rental and that’s why the Mets cannot trade Mejia for him.  If the Mets cannot sign him next year then they can get the draft picks from the team that signs him and rebuild what they lost in the trade.

I don’t want Oswalt on this team.  He’s had back injuries and he’s owed a lot of money.  I would rather the Mets go after Millwood.  I think Millwood on a good team can help a rotation.  He might not be in Lee’s league but I believe that he would be more beneficial than Oswalt.

Overall the Mets are in a good position.  The Mariners wouldn’t mind cutting salary as I’m sure the same can be said about Baltimore.  Barring injury, the Mets can add a good to great pitcher at the trade deadline and they won’t have to sell the farm to get him.

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