The Phillies have reportedly expressed interest in right-hander John Maine, who was non-tendered by the Mets this offseason.
Beerleaguer: Too high risk for anything but a minor league deal, Maine's agent is undoubtedly holding out hope for something better considering the dearth of available starting pitching. The 29-year-old right-hander is a poster boy for the injury nightmare the Mets have sustained over the past few years, and to many observers, the Mets' malpractice of handling injured players. His hip was the first to go, in 2007, then the shoulder problems set in starting with a painful bone spur in 2008. The Mets attempted to have him suck it up, but it only made matters worse and he underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove a lesion from the back of shoulder after the season. Soreness carried into '09, and more pitching through pain. He was diagnosed with a pinched nerve and was allowed to finish out the season in relative comfort. Things appeared to be on the up-and-up, but the season was over before it ever got started. He made just nine starts with the Mets in '10 before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in July to remove scar tissue. Phillies' team physician Michael Ciccottti actually preformed the procedure and repaired a small tear. By then, the Mets' new regime was ready to wash their hands of it. Rather than head to arbitration, he was non-tendered in December.
Over seven seasons, he's 41-36 with a 4.35 ERA (98 +), with his best season coming in 2007 (15-10, 3.91 ERA, 180/75 K/BB ratio in 191 innings). He's pitched in just 141 innings the last two seasons, his career wrecked by injury.
The Phillies could have interest for several reasons. Practically speaking, they need bodies to fill out the rotation at Triple-A, where they aren't very deep with capable starters. Secondly, the Phillies always operate with the fear that what happened to the Mets could also happen to them. Pitchers routinely fall by the wayside midseason, with Jamie Moyer being the most recent example.
With the rotation set in its current approximation, there's no room for Maine, allowing him to gain back strength in the minor leagues. The problem, of course, is knowing what the Phillies would really get. At his very, very best, Maine was viewed as a No. 4, maybe a 3, but physically, it's hard to see it happening anymore.
To be honest, if he didn't pitch for New York, would anyone care about this guy? But on a Kris Benson-esque flier, he'd at least fill some column inches.