Former New York Mets starting pitcher, John Maine, has signed a minor league deal with the Colorado Rockies. The oft-injured Maine struggled to stay healthy over the past two seasons, and reached rock bottom in 2010, posting a 6.13 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, and a 5.7 BB/9 IP. His relationship with the Mets really soured when pitching coach Dan Warthen accused the righty of be a “habitual liar” about his health (though it’s better to lie about one’s health than stealing millions of dollars, right Wilpons?). Regardless, it was expected Maine would move on from the Mets–but contrary to some opinions, will it come back to bite them?
Maine came over to the Mets from the Baltimore Orioles in 2006, when he was dealt along with Jorge Julio in exchange for Kris Benson. The trade was unpopular at the time since the Mets had traded fan favorite Ty Wigginton, top prospect Matt Peterson, and future slugger Jose Bautista for Benson’s services just two years earlier. In fact, most people viewed Jorge Julio as the main piece–not John Maine. However, Maine soon proved doubters wrong by posting a 3.60 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 6 Wins, and a 2.15 K/BB ratio in his first 90 innings as a Met, and even managed a win in the playoffs again the St. Louis Cardinals.
His successful debut won him a full-time rotation job in 2007, and the pitcher continued to prove his value. Maine pitched to the tune of 15 wins, a 3.91 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and a 2.4 K/BB ratio in 191 IP. It looked as though the Mets has pulled the carpet from under the Orioles–but after 2007, Maine started to become injury prone. Despite pitching 191 innings in 2007, Maine only managed 140 innings in 2008, 81.3 innings in 2009, and just 39.6 innings in 2010. The Virginia-born pitcher just could not escape the injury bug.
Considering the 2011 Mets could still use pitching depth, time will only tell if prematurely severing ties with John Maine will backfire. The Rockies rotation appears to be full, so Maine will most likely be bullpen bound–an idea that actually came up as a possibility while he was still with the Mets. Since Maine’s new deal with the Colorado Rockies entitles him to $3 million if he makes the opening day roster, or an opt-out clause if he doesn’t, there’s little to lose for the Rockies. It might be a stretch to think Maine will return to his 2007 self, but the Mets should still be weary of burning bridges.