Mets Should Pay John Maine Now

Mets pitcher John Maine before a Mets/Devil Rays spring training game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.Image via Wikipedia

The New York Mets should continue the recent trend in baseball by locking up their young talent with long term contracts. The Mets have already done that with Jose Reyes and David Wright. So this practice wouldn’t be out of character for the team. Other teams have started getting in on this as well. Last month the Rays signed Evan Longoria to a six year deal.

John Maine deserves a long term deal now. The benefit is avoiding a contentious arbitration hearing where the team is forced into a antagonistic role of pointing out the players faults. The Mets have done a great job of avoiding that until this season when Oliver Perez beat the Mets in arbitration to earn $6.5 million this season.

The Mets could buy out Maine’s arbitration years and a year or two of free agency in exchange for much more money now. By the way, Maine is only making $450,000 this season which is far below his actual market value. To put that in perspective, Ambiorix Burgos is making $415,000 this season. Is that fair?

By all accounts, Maine is a good citizen and positive teammate. He properly took care of business last night by hitting Felipe Lopez with the first pitch of the game in retaliation for Washington’s childish behavior in the dugout the night before. That’s old school baseball. Settle a dispute properly with a message and nobody getting hurt.

Maine’s career stats are terrific and he doesn’t get hurt. Take a look at some of his career numbers:

67 games; 64 starts; 28-21 record; .571WL%; 2 CG; 2 SHO; 4.01 ERA; 1.283 WHIP

The 2007 season was Maine’s first playing full time. He had 32 starts and went 191 innings with 15 wins. It doesn’t get much better than that for a first season as a starter.

Giving Maine a long term deal now makes even more sense if you consider the fact that several big contracts are going off the Mets payroll next season: Pedro Martinez, El Duque, Carlos Delgado, Moises Alou, and Jorge Sosa. There will be a lot of free money for the Mets and a new stadium with luxury boxes filled in their new park Citi Field.

It’s time to make John Maine an important part of the Mets long-term future.

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