Apr 07

April 7.10: Maine says he’s fine; gets start tonight.

There was a time when John Maine was considered a throw-in from Baltimore in the Kris/Anna Benson trade, but his strong showing at the end of the 2006 season and 15 wins in 2007 gave hope he could evolve into a dependable No. 2 starter.

“No. 2, that’s just a number,’’ Maine said. “I just need to get out there, stay healthy and I believe I’ll be fine.’’

Maine had shoulder surgery at the end of the 2008 season and admitted this spring that he rushed himself back last year contributing to his arm problems.

“I learned a lesson,’’ he said.

At 1-3 with a 7.88 ERA in spring training, it’s hard to defend Maine’s performance other than saying the numbers don’t count and he was working on things. Pitching with a migraine and stomach virus, Maine gave up four runs on six hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings in his exhibition finale against Washington.

(NOTE: Part of juggling the rotation was to avoid the Nationals getting another look at Maine so quickly).

Maine brushed off his performance, saying: “My arm feels fine. Shoulder feels good. That’s the top priority.’’

The numbers haven’t been there, but Maine insists he’s not worried and he’s throwing the ball better than anytime after the 2007 season. He said the ball is just flowing out of his hand.

“I think the last time it came out easy without trying to really force anything was spring training 2008,” Maine said. “I might have been throwing a little harder then, but it’s coming out good.’’

Jan 13

Jan. 13.10: What’s left isn’t good, but ….

Who’s remaining in the free-agent pitching market isn’t good, and it seems as if the Mets are thinking who they currently have is better.

The Cubs want Ben Sheets and appear willing to spend the $12 million or so it would take to get him. He’s good when he’s healthy, worth the coin, but there’s no guarantees he’ll hold up. Ditto with Mark Mulder, who’s talking with Milwaukee.

The Mets waited for the market to come back to them on Joel Pineiro and the pricing might well have. So has the competition to get him: Los Angeles, St. Louis and Washington are linked to him as well as the Mets. Washington also has interest in Doug Davis. Can’t imagine the Nationals getting both, but what if?

That leaves us Jon Garland, Erik Bedard, Jarrod Washburn, John Smoltz, Mike Hampton (been there done that), and Chien-Ming Wang.

There are flaws with all of them, just there are flaws with the Mets rotation, which now has four arms, three of them coming off surgery (Santana, Perez, Maine). They’ll liable to get Garland as their No. 5 and call it an offseason.

Dec 15

Why not the Mets?

CAPPS: Not drawing interest from Mets.

CAPPS: Not drawing interest from Mets.

At 26, and showing solid production and no injury history, the interest has been hot for reliever Matt Capps. Reportedly, a dozen teams have contacted Capps’ agent, but surprisingly not one of them has been the Mets. He’s a free agent because Pittsburgh did not offer arbitration.

With the bullpen in need of repair, one would think the Mets would be all over this. They are not.

Agent Paul Kinzer called the interest in Capps as “enormous.” Capps has said he’d like to pitch for the Cubs, but the field includes the Yankees, Orioles, Nationals, Marlins and Rangers. The reported asking price is at least $3 million a season. He has closer experience and would be ideal for the Mets’ set-up role.

Dec 13

Non-tender list ….

There were no surprises in the list of players the Mets non-tendered yesterday, beginning with pitchers Lance Broadway and Tim Redding, and outfielders Jeremy Reed and Cory Sullivan. It’s not as if losing these guys will make a difference, but they are four more spots that need to be filled.

A couple of names did pop out to me. But, I do realize these guys were non-tendered for a reason.

Left-hander Scott Olsen as a possible fifth starter and Mike MacDougal as a possible set-up reliever (both of the Nationals) are intriguing. Reds outfielder Jonny Gomes as a bench player. The most interesting to me are Oakland outfielder Jack Cust and Giants first baseman Ryan Garko. I also wrote yesterday of taking a gamble on Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang.

Here’s the list of non-tendered players. Those with asterisks are injured.

Angels: RHP Jose Arredondo*, INF Matt Brown, RHP Dustin Moseley
Athletics: OF Jack Cust
Blue Jays: C Raul Chavez
Indians: RHP Adam Miller*, RHP Anthony Reyes*, RHP Jose Veras
Mariners: OF Ryan Langerhans
Orioles: RHP Brian Bass
Rays: OF Gabe Gross, C Shawn Riggans
Red Sox: OF Brian Anderson
Royals: OF Josh Anderson, C John Buck
White Sox: RHP D.J. Carrasco
Yankees: RHP Chien-Ming Wang*

Braves: OF Ryan Church, 2B Kelly Johnson
Brewers: RHP Mark DiFelice*, RHP Seth McClung, C Mike Rivera
Cubs: LHP Neal Cotts
Diamondbacks: 1B Josh Whitesell
Giants: 1B Ryan Garko
Marlins: INF-OF Alfredo Amezaga
Mets: RHP Lance Broadway, RHP Tim Redding, OF Jeremy Reed, OF Cory Sullivan
Nationals: RHP Mike MacDougal, LHP Scott Olsen
Padres: RHP Jackson Quezada, RHP Mark Worrell
Phillies: RHP Clay Condrey
Pirates: RHP Matt Capps, LHP Phil Dumatrait
Reds: OF Jonny Gomes
Rockies: 3B Garrett Atkins

Nov 19

Davey Johnson goes to work for Nats ….

Davey Johnson is back in the majors, hired as a front office adviser to GM Mike Rizzo. One of his specialties is recognizing and working with young talent. That would be minor league players. That would be a Mets’ weakness.

JOHNSON: Now with Nationals.

JOHNSON: Now with Nationals.


This would be about a lost opportunity. If the Mets are really serious about strengthening the ties with their past, Johnson would have been a good place to start. Johnson had previously worked with the Nationals before under Jim Bowden. You would think the Mets would have kept tabs on his baseball interests just in case.

All this talk about bringing Bobby Valentine back? How about a little love for Johnson, who managed the Mets’ last championship team? Valentine has a core group of media in his corner, but not Johnson.
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